Freshippo: Business Model Evolution in Alibaba's New Retail Platform
The first Freshippo store opened in Shanghai, China in January 2016. It was not until nine months later that the second store was opened. However, from that point on, Freshippo stepped up its nationwide expansion by opening a new store every six days, on average. By June 2018, Freshippo owned 46 stores in 13 cities and had set a target of operating over 100 stores by the end of 2018. When entering a Freshippo store, customers not only saw an array of fresh produce that reminded them that they were in a supermarket, but they also saw food being prepared, people dining, and meals being packaged and sorted in bags for customers to pick up and take home to eat. Although the number of services were impressive, flaws had started to surface in the evolution of Freshippo's business model, such as store management issues, poor service, and long wait times for food preparation. Freshippo had to make some decisions regarding expanding and exploring new business models, or instead resolving problems and making improvements. Which option was a higher priority? Vincent Chang is affiliated with China Europe International Business School. Qiong Zhu is affiliated with Beijing Jiaotong University.