Back to Normal in a Few Days: Hema Fresh CEO Hou Yi

Shanghai is making every effort to accelerate its economic recovery. As of May 31, many chain supermarkets have restarted their operations. Hou Yi, CEO of Hema Fresh, said that nearly 80% of the company’s stores have resumed online operations and have restocked as much as 5,000 kinds of goods.

Under normal circumstances, there are more than 20,000 kinds of goods available at Hema Fresh’s stores. In late May, Shanghai announced that its total retail sales of consumer goods in April had decreased by 48.3% over the same month last year. The retail industry has suffered heavy losses under the pandemic.

“It will only take a few days to get Shanghai’s supply back to normal,” Hou Yi said. He revealed that Hema Fresh will retain its “mobile supermarket” model initiated under the pandemic. Further, community group buying and storage services will be added, taking Hema Fresh X member stores as the forerunner, and opening group buying services of large packaged goods to communities once a week.

“Mobile supermarket”, “community order collection” and “goods storage” models are all similar to the community group buying model. Previously, the community group buying model launched by major platforms greatly solved the supply problems for community residents during Shanghai’s lockdown. The opening of online sales channels expanded supermarkets’ reachability for customers, but it also put forward higher requirements for their digital management capabilities, such as purchasing, receiving and sorting.

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Taking Shanghai’s “8424 watermelon” as an example, now is its ripening season. In order to concentrate the transportation capacity and improve the distribution efficiency, the residents of the communities where Hema Fresh’s group buying function is available can purchase the watermelon at the specified time slot. Same-day delivery is also possible  for communities as a distribution unit. The final delivery will be made by property staff and volunteers.

In about one and a half hours, watermelons can be delivered directly from farmlands to the gates of a community. Zhao Jiayu, senior director of Hema Fresh, said that the “one-hour supply chain” of watermelon has run through the community group buying channel, providing reference for other commodities.