More than anywhere else, China is acquiring a great taste for purchasing fruit and vegetables online
The success of this channel is due to a very consistent, fast and well-designed logistics network, which can deliver an order to a home or office in half an hour. Some of this country’s great fortunes have been made from the logistics of online shopping, such as the case of Jack Ma, the founder of the Alibaba Group.
It is the sales channel where most increases are being recorded, and many companies are engaged in this business.
“Blocks of flats usually have a special ‘mail box’ for these services in case the customer is absent,” sources at the Spanish general consulate in Guangzhou explained.
Up to now, under no circumstances do Chinese buyers respond to the European mentality of buying in supermarkets. “With such a high density of population, space is at a premium in the dwellings (they only grow upwards). Here the ‘pay for 2 and take home 3’ offer doesn’t work”.
Instead of the once weekly supermarket shop, consumers buy their goods every day. The online channel means even greater advantages regarding the freshness of the produce compared to the traditional channel. This type of company usually is automated and has large cold storage capacities.
Olé and Pagoda: two prime examples
With a word as Spanish as “Olé”, China presents its most sophisticated and luxurious supermarkets to the world: the top end of the upmarket range, with prices that go hand in hand with the produce on sale.
Imported fruit and vegetables occupy a priority space in the supermarket and they make up a distinctive area compared to the other produce, all of which are top quality.
The presentation on its supermarket shelves forms an attribute to colour, taste and hygiene. The packaging is an essential aspect of the presentation to consumers. Therefore, we can find originality for each product: from a jute fabric wrapping for melons, to bows in eye-catching colours for the trays of berries and foam pillows in reds, greens, etc. for each piece of fruit. And, if the presentation is not altogether new, there are magnificent cardboard boxes with very varied fruit, prepared for gifts.
In these establishments everything can be found: from a tropical durian to a Polish apple, a Valencian orange or an avocado from Peru, Chilean grapes or the sweetest pineapple. These supermarkets, established in the largest cities in the country, are the great specialists in imported fruit.
Promotion at the point of sale has also not been forgotten, with a product presented in a sealed tray, chilled on the outside by pieces of ice to keep it at a pleasant temperature for eating.
The successful case of Pagoda
Pagoda, a chain of fruit and vegetable stores, is one of the most amazing business success stories in the world. At present, it has almost 3,000 stores all over the country, and it expects to reach 10,000 establishments in 2020.
The company has over 500 suppliers from 21 countries all over the world, and in 2017 its profits exceeded 100 million dollars.
Pagoda’s business lines do not only concentrate on the opening of establishments up and down the country; it has also managed mergers, investments in local agriculture in some regions, as well as alliances with other companies such as Lantao International and Mission Produce from California to implement avocado ripening centres. At Pagoda, if the customer is not satisfied with the produce acquired, it may be returned, even without the purchase receipt.