HEMA – THE NEW SURPRISE BAG OF CHINA’S RETAIL LANDSCAPE
Hema supermarkets are a combination of a restaurant, fresh food market, supermarket, food delivery service and e-commerce store. The concept covers pretty much all ways of shopping, accessing and paying for groceries one can imagine. If you live within 3 km of the store your order gets delivered to your door within 30 minutes – whether you purchased the groceries in the store or online. You can get heavy items delivered to your home and take small light snacks with you right away. Or you can order everything to a specific time and place. You can even get your fresh food cooked right away in the supermarket in one of several restaurant counters.
THE SUPERMARKET OF THE FUTURE – NOW
The supermarket concept Hema comes from the Alibaba network and is a combination of Alibaba’s expertise in e-commerce, payment, data and logistics. While the utilization of urban supermarket real estate as storefront and fulfilment center for online orders is a smart step, it is the focus on the overall consumer experience that really makes Hema stand out. Customers are able to scan in-store QR and bar codes and learn about products, origins, quality and the producer on their phone; they can get inspiration for recipes and see reviews of other users. Payment can happen via the app, at a cashier or on self-check-out-terminals via face scan payment with an Alipay account. Products are selected by regional user interest with information from the e-commerce store and market itself and are refined regularly.
INTELLIGENCE NETWORKS AND ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES POWER EXPANSION
Online and offline SKUs are integrated seamlessly and demand planning is happening on granular demand data from online and offline users. Hema is already expanding into digital agriculture for fresh produce with digital-enabled farms called Hema Villages. Here they growth fresh produce with the support of high tech like drones, remote monitoring robots, integrated irrigation and fertilizing systems, digital sensors and more. The harvest is distributed through Hema’s hybrid marketplace.
IT’S ALL IN THE DATA-LOOP
Hema is integrated into a giant commerce ecosystem fueled by near real time data. It enables precision of product portfolio planning, targeting, shelf space optimization and process tuning through feedback along the grocery retail value chain. The established stores show about four times more revenue per square meter than other supermarkets comparable in size. Hema as a store is relearning about its customers every day and applies the new findings automatically throughout many operational disciplines. At the same time, it is reshaping the whole retail experience and links retail channels with consumer needs front and center. With its circular data-loop Hema will continue to optimize the service offer for the regional customers and might be making well informed decisions about its expansion.