Consumers may not intuitively think of fresh fruits and vegetables as part of the e-commerce landscape, but thanks to a robust global supply chain, shoppers worldwide can enjoy fresh produce year-round.
Fruit flows from Southern Hemisphere countries to supplement North American production in the off-season resulting in fruits like blueberries, oranges, and grapes always being available. A consistent flavor experience will help increase demand and sales for fresh produce and help fulfill the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) vision to grow a healthier world.
PMA members have first-hand experience taking their branded products and reaching vast Chinese customers through TMall and other Alibaba platforms. They have shared their success stories with me, especially surrounding Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival (aka Singles Day), and I’ve shared these as case studies of what the future will look like in other global markets.
In 2016, I had the opportunity to visit the Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, China. What a truly eye-opening experience for me to see the scale of transactions that were taking place in real-time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been a challenge for the fresh produce industry, but it has also highlighted the opportunities for selling products through new channels and platforms.
E-commerce, which was already on the rise, became a much more viable route to market when other channels were restricted or shut down.
It’s been estimated that the pandemic not only accelerated 10 years’ worth of e-commerce growth in just 3 months, it also spurred the creation of a new type of consumer in that same time frame. A consumer driven by convenience, safety, and an interest in improving personal health and well-being are attributes of people who buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
What has been commonplace for the Chinese consumer has become familiar to consumers in the United States and other markets over the past decade. Alibaba is well-positioned to take its B2B and B2C experiences in China and accelerate online and e-commerce opportunities in new markets.