Life after lockdown


This article was originally published by NACS - Convenience.Org

Convenience retailers in Asia Pacific are using digital tactics and delivery to engage with customers post-pandemic.

As countries in Asia Pacific, including China, begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, convenience and forecourt retailers are finding new ways of engaging with their shopper base. Online, unsurprisingly, has stolen the show— especially in China where the density of the population makes delivery services cost efficient. A new study, led by academics from the University of Greenwich, found major changes in food and grocery shopping behaviors in China as a result of the pandemic, with online purchases rising dramatically, while many customers remained loyal to small, local independent shops. 


Back in China, many offline retailers have shifted their activities to digital tactics, such as livestreaming and private WeChat groups, to keep their businesses alive,reported Elena Gatti, managing director of Azoya EU, an e-commerce solutions provider and expert in China market entry. Grocery chains such as Alibaba’s Hema, which has been rebranded as Fresh Hippo, Tencent’s Super Species and’s 7Fresh have all seen abrupt increases in orders through their on-demand delivery services, which can be accessed through mini-apps on WeChat, Gatti said. 

A Fresh Hippo spokesperson reported the brand is prepping six times the amount of fresh vegetables for its 50 stores in Shanghai, equivalent to 330 tons of groceries. JD Daojia,’s on-demand delivery service platform, which services the likes of Walmart and JD’s own grocery stores, also has seen a fivefold increase in sales. 

“Since everyone in China is staying inside to stay away from the coronavirus, the only way for them to get food is through these on-demand delivery services, which explains why demand has skyrocketed,” explained Gatti. Customers can order whatever they want on the retailer’s WeChat mini-program store; each supermarket can deliver groceries to one’s door within an hour.” 

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