Yihaodian – Walmart’s pureplay investment in China

Yihaodian is a Chinese online grocery business founded in 2008 by 2 former colleagues of Dell Computers. Yihaodian has virtual stores that exhibit images of stocked grocery shelves on walls and other surfaces in urban public areas in China, which passersby can scan codes under the images with a mobile device to purchase corresponding groceries online. Walmart owns 51% of Yihaodian, which clocked revenue of $1.9 Billion in 2013.

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The website has a range of over 3.4 million SKUs, including fresh, grocery and non-food categories. A key differentiator is that products are priced 3-5% lower than other supermarkets, while offering national coverage across China.  The Palm Yihaodian app is a key focus for innovation, providing flexibility for shoppers – past initiatives include QR code shopping walls and AR supported virtual stores.

Yahaodian’s recent partnerships include pure play bookselling giant Dangdang, enabling it to expand its offer, and grocery retailer SPAR Shanxi, providing on offline presence and greater flexibility for shoppers.

Yihaodian has built its systems around the complex delivery of food orders. This forms solid foundations as it continues to expand into a broader range of categories. Achieving meteoric growth as it scales up its operations, the speed in which Yihaodian is turning new ideas into practice is impressive: new categories, new ways to engage shoppers and new ways to fulfil orders.

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