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Hema, Evolving the Supermarket Shopping Experience

New Way To Play

The retail experience in China is drastically changing with the aid of technology, more so mobile payment. Alibaba has a set up a new venture call Hema to revolutionise the supermarket shopping experience; their goal seems to be bringing in a new retail journey for customers by linking O2O.

Shops of the Future visited one of the Shanghai Branches to experience it for ourselves.

Smart Shopping

Alibaba Group has continually push innovation in any market they have an investment in while directed a generation of users toward what they see as a cashless future. Hema supermarket is another step towards this goal, it is cashless and friction-less while providing shoppers that same nostalgic feeling of a regular supermarket.

The store is life style friendly as it is linked to your Alipay or Taobao Accounts, consumers scan the QR code at the entrance and sign up with the app, free Wi-Fi is available in the store to facilitate an speedy download and installation. Once you register, it is time to spend some money, and they provide a few ways to do so. As you go through the supermarket, you will find an array of fresh and imported items to browse through.

Seafood tank in Hema

Each item in the store has its unique bar code, when scanned it will bring up with all the detail that customers need to make an informed decision.

The Hema app displaying item information

They not only cater to physical shoppers but online as well. If you take a look around the store, you will see attendees scurrying around with bags filled with groceries, this is because the app allows customers with 30 minutes of a store to place orders for home delivery which accounts for 50% of total orders.

Hema shop assistance completing orders made on the app

In an press release Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, made a statement: “We believe the future of New Retail will be a harmonious integration of online and offline, and Hema is a prime example of this evolution that's taking place.”

We totally agree, retail is changing it has being slowly evolving with technology from how we buy to interaction within stores.

Hungry, well they have that covered, the store is stocked with fresh sea food, poultry, beef, sushi, salads, juices and other local delicacies and provides an area where customers can enjoy their meal in a upscale food court atmosphere.

consumers purchasing fresh seafood  to eat in the supermarket

All these great micro experiences culminate at the end with a smooth and seamless check- out counter. My first encounter with Hema, they only had clerks which bagged, rung up each item and cash shoppers out. When I went back recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find a self-checkout machine.

self checkout register

Each item consumer’ scan comes up on display, you click to agree, bring up the pay QR on your the app, scan and you are done.

With the addition of this system, the Alibaba Group has made another step forward in making the general shopping experience even simpler.

Mobile payment has opened up new way to experience day to day life and there are no signs that Alibaba plan to mitigate from the innovative path they choose.

Shops of the Future

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