,Hong Kong
Photo from TASTE x FRESH.

TASTE x FRESH crossover concept store offers offline+online shopping option

PARKnSHOP and Uni-China Group’s supermarket brands partnered to open this concept store.

PARKnSHOP Hong Kong, under A.S. Watson Group, and Uni-China Group collaborated to establish “TASTE x FRESH,” a retail crossover concept store of their brands, providing offline-plus-online (O+O) option to their customers for their shopping.

PARKnSHOP’s TASTE brand provides day-to-day necessities, whilst the retail brand, FRESH—under Uni-China Group and mainly operated by Marae Limited—supplies fresh produce from local and global producers to “TASTE x FRESH,” which is located in Phase 1, Amoy Plaza, Kowloon Bay.

“As FRESH's modern wet market and business model are different from those of ordinary supermarkets, this crossover combines the advantages of the two brands, combining TASTE’s ‘more than food’ high-quality supermarket features with FRESH’s innovative and Hong Kong Style Fresh Mart, creating a new crossover concept store,” PARKnSHOP Managing Director Norman Yum told Retail Asia.

“The emergence of the ‘retail crossover concept’ in food retail is likely to become a more regular feature of supermarkets looking to diversify their customer experience in new and interesting ways, and so we’re happy to lead from the front,” Yum said.

The crossover concept store, which has a total investment from two parties exceeding HK$30m, occupies 20,000 square feet. Yum said the store offers over 12,000 in a series of thematic zones which include the Japan zone, Korea zone, Asian Food zone, Health and Beauty zone, and 13 other fresh food zones.

According to FRESH CEO Henry Li, Uni-China Group has worked with PARKnSHOP for more than 20 years as its major fresh food supplier.

Li said FRESH is composed of different themed zones and also provides food and beverage items that allow customers to opt for a “made-to-order” service. 

“FRESH also introduces over 100 types of local and globally-sourced seafood, a broad selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, local and Western meat, vegetarian section, Chinese Herbs section. FRESH also specially set up three gourmet food zones,” Li told Retail Asia.

Furthermore, TASTE and FRESH aim to meet the greater demand of their customers for fresh ingredients as there is a rise of health-conscious customers, according to Yum.

TASTE x FRESH employs an offline-plus-online retail strategy in its operations, taking into consideration the “new normal” in the retail landscape due to the pandemic, wherein customers can place their order online through the “App in hand” and collect them at the store on the same day.

“The ‘new normal’ retail landscape gives a boost to the development of O+O strategy for us to engage with our target customers to enjoy the seamless O+O shopping experience. We believe that the key to the future of the retail industry lies in innovation and moving with the times,” Yum said.

“Straight offline retail is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of customers, and so food retailers are connecting with customers offline plus online for a seamless shopping experience,” he added.

Total retail sales in Hong Kong is estimated at $27.2b in July, according to the Census and Statistics Department, adding that online sales accounted for 7.5% or $2.1b during the month.

A.S. Watson Group has adopted offline-plus-online in the retail market through the PARKnSHOP eShop in 1998 and through the launching of its mobile app in 2014.

Yum said that PARKnSHOP has 265 stores in Hong Kong and Macau and they rolled out the “click and collect service” where stores serve as “hubs for e-picking and enabling fast delivery," at 235 stores. They also expect orders and sales in the e-shop in 2021 to be up 80% compared to 2020, following a 50% increase in 2020 compared to 2019.

“The motivation behind driving and delivering this new O+O standard is clear, there is no cannibalisation in customers' spending in physical stores. In fact, an O+O customer spends three times what an in-store-only customer shops with us. It's about creating a bigger share of wallet and higher customer lifetime value,” he said.

The use of the O+O retail model uses big data analysis to allow the concept store to enter market opportunities and attract more customers, Yum said, adding that it is about “creating an integrated offline and online experience” through digital transformation.

FRESH's Li said TASTE x FRESH also ventures into other modes of advertising by regularly holding O+O live streams and through the production of videos featuring their products.

Li added that to attract customers and boost sales, the crossover store also holds pre-order of niche products and giveaways.

Yum said that TASTE x FRESH customers can avail double benefits as two memberships are effective at the same time.

PARKnSHOP and Uni-China Group have identified other shopping mall locations to open new TASTE x FRESH stores within the year, whilst still employing the O+O strategy, Yum said.

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