Ecommerce giant JD.com in offline push with rural stores

JD.com's mascot Joy

JD.com, China’s second largest ecommerce company, will partner with rural convenience store owners to launch branded stores across the country.

The move aims to help the brand penetrate rural markets, where ecommerce is less popular and consumers favour local stores, despite the higher prices. This deal will provide rural customers with JD products at JD.com prices.

JD.com will partner with store owners to provide training, branding and products as part of a large scale franchise model. The store owners will retain full ownership of the properties but will pay a deposit to join the program.

The stores can select JD.com products from categories including FMCG, digital products, home appliances, apparel and home furnishings.

JD store owners will also be able to also stock products from other retailers, however, JD.com will work to ensure the stores stock authentic products and will fine retailers who are found to be selling counterfeit goods.

JD.com’s target is to have 1 million branded stores over the next five years.

The move is part of a push by JD.com to connect online and offline commerce. It follows similar moves by ecommerce rival Alibaba, which is pushing into bricks-and-mortar retail through a partnership with supermarket giant Bailian Group.

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