Walmart is bringing its partnership with JD.com into its grocery business.
The Chinese physical store will stock products that customers can also buy through its Walmart virtual storefront on the Chinese electronic marketplace, JD.com, according to a report in Reuters.
Walmart first partnered with JD.com two years ago as both companies struggled to overcome the retail dominance of Alibaba, China’s e-commerce juggernaut.
Throwing the ouroboros of 21st-century economics into sharp relief, the partnership was established in 2016 to sell Walmart’s China-made, U.S.-branded products to Chinese consumers through JD.com’s online marketplace and by setting up electronics showrooms hawking JD.com’s tech wares in Walmart locations throughout China.
Now the integration of JD.com’s online and Walmart’s offline supply chains will extend to groceries. Beginning with a store in China’s southern megacity, Shenzhen — 8,000 items ranging from fresh fruit to seafood will not only be stocked in stores, but also will be available for online orders through JD.com.
Customers in a three-kilometer radius from the store will get their food delivered within 30 minutes — and will be able to use a new shopping application available through WeChat to skip checkout counters.
The new stores step up the competition for convenience that’s now top of mind for big retailers, from Amazon and Alibaba to Target and Walmart.
The integration of the online and physical retail experience for consumers through mobile purchasing, contactless check-out and delivery and in-store pickup are going to be the next front in the war for customers’ clicks and trips online and offline.