Ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing is piloting a new grocery e-commerce project in Chengdu as it looks to diversify its revenue streams.
Why it matters: The e-commerce pilot is Didi’s latest push to expand beyond its core ride-hailing business, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 epidemic.
- Grocery e-commerce was one of the few business segments that saw strong demand during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Entering the market means the company will be competing in a cutthroat industry against grocery delivery giants ranging from Meituan to JD Daojia.
Details: Chengxin Youxuan is a fresh produce and grocery “community e-commerce platform” for shoppers who live within a certain vicinity of one another, local media reported.
- Users can access the service through a WeChat mini-program, which offers flash sales of daily groceries and basic supplies including vegetables, fruits, paper products, and snacks.
- Without a courier fleet, the service only supports next-day pick-up at nearby offline stores, putting it at a disadvantage compared with grocery delivery rivals.
- Didi is operating the service through partnerships with third-party warehouses and stores.
- The service is currently active for residents in Chengdu, which has lower operating costs and less competition compared with megacities like Beijing and Shanghai.
- The company on Tuesday confirmed to TechNode that the project is under small-scale pilot testing, calling it “one of Didi’s new efforts to address the new demand of users in the post-Covid-19 era.”
Context: The company in March launched home delivery service “Paotui,” where users can request couriers to run errands, from picking up laundry to delivering groceries.
- Didi is also began hiring van drivers in May in two provincial capitals as part of an early-stage move into the logistics industry.
- The “community e-commerce” concept isn’t new but gained traction during the Covid-19 lockdown.
- The company sells to shoppers who live within the same communities to save on distribution costs, helping to keep prices low. Shoppers can also band together for group buys.