JD is bringing a truly premium offline food shopping experience to China with the opening of its new 7FRESH stores.
One of the biggest factors that has driven the remarkable boom in China’s e-commerce sector, is the traditional weakness of the country’s physical store infrastructure. JD has become China’s biggest retailer by offering a superior customer experience online. Unlike in other markets where shoppers enjoy going to the supermarkets—especially upscale experience markets—in China, the only premium experience was online.
That’s all changing with the launch of 7FRESH.
Unlike any grocery experience in the country, the clean, spacious stores will be stocked with thousands of fresh products, including fruit, flowers, imported meat and freshly-caught seafood prepared and cooked on site. These stores create an offline experience that complements JD’s reputation for delivering the highest quality fresh food right to the doorsteps of its over 266.3 million customers.
“JD is uniquely positioned to bring this premium-quality offline shopping experience to Chinese consumers because of our supply chain technology and scale as the country’s largest retailer,” said Xiaosong Wang, CEO of 7FRESH and President of JD Fresh. “With the highest efficiency and the greatest knowledge of consumer preferences, as well as access to the highest-quality products, we can invest in a premium experience far beyond anything Chinese consumers have experienced before.”
7FRESH integrates several advanced technology elements to deliver a uniquely personal and educational hands-on shopping experience. For example, ‘magic mirrors’ that sense when customers pick up an item of produce, and automatically provide information on a screen about its source, as well as nutritional information, are now being tested. The stores will also soon feature smart shopping carts that can follow customers as they browse the aisles, allowing them to shop with children, hands-free, without having to fuss over their purchases.
Items can be scanned and bagged through traditional checkout or self-checkout. 7FRESH stores accept payment via cash, card or easy mobile payment using the 7FRESH app. Self-checkout offers the option of payment using a facial recognition system connected to the 7FRESH app. Customers in the neighborhood can either take goods to go, or have them delivered to their homes in 30 minutes.
The meat selection at 7FRESH includes some of the finest Iberico ham imported from Spain. Fresh fish and seafood can be caught from the seas of Japan and delivered to the dinner table in just 24 hours. At an in-store bakery, skilled pâtissiers trained by a Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (M.O.F) craftsman offer fresh bread, cakes and other baked goods.
Stores will also feature a restaurant area, where consumers can choose from a wide range of food cooked on-site by the highest quality trained chefs. Consumers can also purchase fresh cut flowers provided by JD’s partner, the renowned Taiwanese florist Ching Kao.
The launch of 7FRESH underscores an ongoing revolution of traditional retail powered by e-commerce technology. With an innovative supply chain built from scratch and as the largest-scale buyer across many product categories, JD has the most efficient sourcing, storage and logistics operations in China. This efficiency enables the company to unlock shopping services and experiences like 7FRESH, and many others that were previously impossible to justify under traditional retail models.
JD.com has been offering fresh food online since 2012. In January 2016, the company launched JD Fresh as an independent fresh food business unit. With China’s largest nationwide cold chain logistics network—the only one in the world that is operated in-house by a large-scale e-commerce company, down to the last mile—JD Fresh is able to offer rapid delivery of tens of thousands of high-quality fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat and frozen products sourced from over 2,000 partners.
In addition, JD is working with a growing number of partners to use blockchain to track every step in the supply chain, from production to delivery. Underscoring its commitment to food quality, JD recently partnered with Walmart, IBM and Tsinghua University to launch the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance, to enhance food tracing, traceability and safety in China.
Consistent with this mission, 7FRESH offers products directly sourced from top-quality suppliers who have been carefully vetted by JD, an important differentiator for Chinese consumers who are increasingly focused on food safety and produce supply chains.