[09 April/Farmers Weekly]

Top-end Chinese supermarkets are using virtual stores to better understand their customers’ shopping habits, both on and off line. Premium shopping experiences have been limited to online stores but more online outlets are introducing physical shopping option. For Shanghai and Beijing based chain City Shop, they have added an online offering since its acquisition by Fruitday, an online fruit specialist, in 2017. In the produce section Zespri kiwifruit has locked in 12-month shelf space for a fruit that claims top spot for both volume and value. The chain’s customers are typically well educated, time-short and happy to pay a premium on prepared, convenient products sourced from high-quality suppliers. It has recently started stocking airfreighted Bostock organic apples selling for 12 yuan (approx. NZ$2.59) each, alongside snack-sized Rockit apples. With almost 500,000 Chinese visiting NZ every year this country has earned a good reputation among City Shop’s high-end customers, many who have been or aspire to visit NZ.