The round-the-clock delivery service has launched in Beijing and Shanghai and is currently limited to the 25 Hema stores in those cities. Consumers living within 3km of a Hema store will be able to shop via the mobile app and order items for delivery between 10pm and 7am when the bricks and mortar store is closed.
The service will include most items in store, excluding some fresh produce. It will also include cooked meals, which will be available for delivery until 1am.
The move is part of Alibaba’s major ‘new retail’ strategy, which aims to seamlessly merge online and offline experiences to enhance the customer experience. This week, the company took full ownership of the Ele.me online delivery service in a bid to ramp up its local delivery service offering.
Hema chief executive Hou Yi told Alizila, “We found that New Retail doesn’t only merge online with offline, but also connects day and night.”
“There are definitely consumer demands that are specific to nighttime.”
Chinese consumers often engage in online shopping at night, with more than 80 million Taobao and T-mall users visiting the sites between midnight and 4 am, according to Alibaba.