Ella Supermarket (小象生鲜), the fresh grocery delivery affiliate of life convenience and food delivery platform Meituan, opened its first offline shop in Beijing.

According to Meituan, Ella Supermarket is a one-stop offline + online supermarket. Ella integrates fresh grocery, dinning, e-commerce, and quick delivery to serve fast-paced city lives.

In July 2017, Meituan opened a pilot fresh grocery delivery supermarket in Wangjing, Beijing, to test market response and business model. The opening of Ella market is Meituan’s formal debut in the field.

Similar to Hema – Alibaba’s fresh grocery delivery service – Ella Supermarket also offers 30 min delivery to residents whose locations are no farther than 3km to the offline store.

However, it’s too early to say who will win or who has good advantages.

The market is too big. The capability of the current players are far from eating up the whole cake. Hence there is space for up comers – as long as the new business demonstrate strong capital, resource allocation, and management capability in a complex business environment where profit margins can be squeezed.

Or emerging players may want to cut into a specific segment of the business. Logistics, packaging, payment, inventory, and more – it’s a huge commerce system where revenue calculation very often relies on details, and every elements matter.

Meanwhile, offline stores can hardly find new central city locations to start new business. Traditional stores and supermarkets have conquered the good places, particularly in 1-tier cities. This will mean cooperation amid competition.

The players are now leveraging existing advantages to grab as much market share as possible. But one thing is certain, with increasing competition, consumers will see more practical convenience and benefits.

Runhua Zhao is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Connect with her via email: runhuazhao@technode.com

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