In response to my recently published white paper, Food Fight: Discovering Eight Truths of the New Era of Retail, I have been successful in communicating my message across several different channels. Since the paper’s release I have received hundreds of positive comments and questions. The topic of exciting and marvelous shopping continues to appear and take shape.
Eating is an important part of life. Not just eating for the sake of being hungry, but also eating for pleasure. Jeff Bezos recently said, “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades.” I went to Whole Foods recently with my wife; which we have not done in many years. Either she goes or I go. We went together and had a ball. It was not shopping; it was an outing. It was better than a movie and the floor was not sticky.
Whole Foods is exciting and marvelous. What was it, the cheese shop, the olives, the bakery, the concern for my heath, the focus on nutrition, etc. or was it a combination of the exploration, the learning and the experience? For some it may be the over 5,000 private label “365 Everyday Value” products, for some the prepared foods or the over 250 places to eat. What attracted Amazon, was it the new “Whole Foods Market 365” concept or the potential for meal-kits (think Blue Apron). “Whole Foods Market 365” only has a handful of stores open, currently over a dozen under development and appears to be inspired by the success of Trader Joe’s and Sprouts. Going to a traditional grocery store, sure you see the fruit and vegetables all stacked up, shelves full of private label and standard brands, but to me dull and uninteresting. Sure clean, organized, and good customer service, but otherwise dull and not an experience. Why not just order online and have it delivered? Or maybe soon I can go to Whole Foods, have them place the dull and uninteresting in my trunk, after I have an exciting and marvelous time in their store. Maybe even pick up my Amazon order from a locker or tower there, invite the spouse for a slice of pizza, or the oldest daughter/granddaughter on a “date night”. Exciting and marvelous, and I believe as a part of Amazon, as a part of New Retail, as a part of Bricks AND Cliques it is going to be even more exciting and more marvelous going forward.
Unfortunately most people have never experienced a completely integrated online and offline retail experience. Alibaba’s newest adventure, Hema supermarkets, is truly integrated. “Today, e-commerce in China accounts for around 15% of total retail; our New Retail strategy aims to help transform and digitize the remaining 85% of the retail market. Hema is the most mature manifestation of that strategy to date – transforming the grocery experience as we know it,” Corporate Relations, Alibaba Group.
In-store consumption: Fresh food, including live seafood, from more than 50 countries can be cooked to order and enjoyed on the spot.
Data-driven fulfillment of online delivery orders at scale: The stores serve as fulfillment hubs for local communities with deliveries in 30 minutes.
Seamless in-store purchase: Shoppers can scan barcodes to learn more information about individual products. Cashless checkout is easy and efficient with Alipay.
Zero-waste delivery process: All delivery boxes are recyclable and reusable.
To see what this looks like, here is a video tour of one of the Hema stores in Shanghai. I believe Hema has captured what I discuss as “The New Era of Grocery Retail”.