Alibaba’s Supermarket Chain Freshippo and Main Challenges

Alibaba’s Supermarket Chain Freshippo and Main Challenges

People across China retreated to the homes to the coronavirus pandemic and many of them started to order goods and services online.

Importantly, Freshippo known as Hema in Chinese has about 200 stores across the country. The supermarket chain also launched a group-buying scheme for locked-down residents of Wuhan.

According to the president of Freshippo Hou Yi nobody knew in advance what was coming and as a result, it was tough to cope with new challenges. Most stores were not ready to handle large numbers of online stores.

Importantly, to centralize delivery, the company has sent its inventory of dry goods including noodles and flour to a Shanghai warehouse. The company was able to stock up ahead of their Lunar New Year celebrations.

Freshippo and coronavirus pandemic

The biggest challenge for Alibaba’s supermarket chain is how to deliver its products to Wuhan. As a reminder, this city is the epicenter of coronavirus.


Several problems such as roadblocks, shortage of staff, as well as social-distancing requirements affected their last mile delivery. Moreover, Freshippo had to obtain permits to enter the city. Also, another challenge was to find volunteer truck drivers to do the job. This is not the end of the story as another challenge is a mandatory 14-day quarantine after workers returned from Wuhan.


Moreover, Alibaba hired thousands of people to deal with the staff shortage. The supermarket chain hired workers from the government-mandated shutdown of businesses. Freshippo hired former employees of small businesses affected by lockdown. However, despite all challenges the supermarket chain adapted to the new reality.

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