(Yicai Global) Jan. 5 -- After a six-day pilot, 7Fresh, the first offline fresh food supermarket under e-commerce titan JD.Com Inc., has officially entered operation in Beijing.
The concept of the store directly competes with Hema Fresh, a division of JD.Com's fierce competitor Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., state-owned news outlet the People's Daily reported. Hema announced plans this week to open 30 outlets in the capital city.
Fresh food will make up about 75 percent of products in 7Fresh supermarkets, so an efficient logistics system between warehouses and stores will be critical to success. Buyers are able to use facial recognition or WeChat Pay, a third-party payment service run by internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., but not rival Alibaba's payment platform Alipay.
The markets will use a smart shopping cart that JD.Com developed. Customers can scan a QR code on the trolley, which will then follow the shopper around the store and use sensors to avoid collisions and brake automatically.
Shoppers will be able to buy most of the items in the store through a mobile app and have them delivered in under 30 minutes to locations within a three-kilometer radius, just the same as Hema Fresh.
7Fresh President Wang Xiaosong predicts the firm will open 1,000 outlets nationwide over the next three to five years, granting consumers access to safe, quality fresh foods at all times, wherever they are.