E-commerce giant JD.com has opened “Shop Now,” a so-called “instant delivery” retail brand, in partnership with its delivery platform Dada Group, in a bid to increase its market share of a sector currently dominated by rivals such as Alibaba and Tencent-backed Meituan, reports Caixin. The “Shop Now” service is designed to deliver products in under an hour from physical stores within a radius of three kilometers.
The new venture differs from the current JD.com e-commerce service, which sells a wider range of products and delivers over a longer distance.
Instant retail has become a popular business model that boomed during the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns last year, when many residents were either forced to self-isolate at home or preferred to avoid going out. The market is expected to reach RMB 900 billion ($139.8 billion) by the end of 2024, according to data from iResearch.
But competition is fierce, with e-commerce giants such as Alibaba setting up its supermarket chain Hema to offer instant retail services back in 2015 and aiming to open branches in every Chinese city with over 1 million residents by 2031.