Nov 17, 2018, Alibaba Group announced Freshhema (盒马鲜生), the Alibaba-owned supermarket chain, will take over Tmall Fresh unit, which was previously operated by Yiguo Group (易果集团). Yiguo Group is also invested by Alibaba and it has Win-Chain (云象供应链) and ExFresh (安鲜达) targeting upstream supply chain and logistics respectively. After this, it will be expected that Yiguo Group will specialize in expanding and innovating fresh food supply chain and cold-chain logistics for Alibaba-backed companies such as Freshhema, RT-Mart (大润发), Tmall Fresh unit and Eleme (ELeMe, 饿了么). On the other side, Freshhema, which currently is a key testing ground for New Retail Concept, will focus on more dealing with downstream customers.
Now, Freshhema offers both online and offline options. For online orders, it claims that customers within a three-kilometer radius can receive their groceries within 30 minutes after orders been submitted. While for offline business, according to its website, it now has over 110 offline supermarkets across 16 cities and still rapidly expanding.
Another bricks-and-clicks collaboration in the grocery e-commerce industry:
One month after Alibaba's announcement, JD.com, Alibaba’s biggest rival, announced a similar integration of 7Fresh, equivalent to Freshhema, and Fresh unit of JD.com. It seems to be a trend that fresh food e-commerce companies are trying to blur online and offline boundaries and working more closely with offline stores to facilitate distributions as well as promote interactions with customers and increase customer overall satisfaction.