What is the role of the store in the operation?
On our last trip to Shanghai, we naturally had to include a visit to Hema, Alibaba's physical supermarket. Whether it's a supermarket, restaurant or large warehouse, the fact is that this chain is growing rapidly. The first store of this phygital food chain opened in 2015, and has since been followed by more than 100 others. However, ambitions for growth are many times greater, with 2,000 supermarkets planned for the next few years! What makes these supermarkets so popular? And what can we learn from them?
Let's start by saying that the road Hema has taken is opposite to the route taken by most food retailers. The majority of retailers have a large number of branches and are more or less connected to these online. Hema is part of the pure player Alibaba and therefore first had a webshop and then opened physical stores. So everything that happens in the supermarket can be traced back to Alibaba's online infrastructure. Whether it is the choice of location, the product range, the shopping process, the store departments or the payment systems, everything leads back to Alibab's data.