JD.com is set to expand its premium offline supermarket 7Fresh across China with 1,000 new stores planned as it continues to promote its ‘boundaryless retail’ service.
JD announced it will launch 1,000 new stores in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu over the next five years following deals with real estate companies including China Poly Group, Joy City, Vanke, Yuexiu Property and Greenland Holdings.
The 7Fresh store, which launched this year, combines the offline shopping experience with JD.com technology and back-end systems. JD uses customer profiles to determine optimum store locations and layouts, as well as data analysis to inform inventory management to ensure each store has the most relevant products for the area and customer base.
The stores also feature ‘Magic Mirrors’ which provide product information on a screen when they sense that customers have picked up fresh produce. 7Fresh also provides 30-minute delivery from the stores for online shoppers.
The offering is very similar to JD’s rival Alibaba’s Hema supermarkets, which also provide offline shopping experience with online capabilities as well as the 30-minute delivery.
The stores are providing a huge focus on fresh produce, which is leading to changes in the ways Chinese consumers shop for food.
Xiaosong Wang, chief executive officer at 7Fresh, said, “7Fresh redefines the offline retail experience by combining the best parts of fresh grocery markets and top-quality restaurants with cutting edge e-commerce technology. With the expansion of 7Fresh into more cities across China, we are bringing ‘Boundaryless Retail’ to even more shoppers for an incredibly convenient and enjoyable way to buy fresher, safer and more reliable products.”
The expansion is the latest in a string of initiatives by JD.com to bolster its boundaryless retail offering. The company recently teamed with hotel brands including Sheraton and Wanda to enable in-room shopping and has also secured a host of blockchain technology deals.
JD.com continues to step up the competition with rival Alibaba, which continues to dominate e-commerce in China. Together the two businesses account for 85% of China's e-commerce market.