Grocery store in rural China now community e-commerce hub

Xinhua, March 07, 2023
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This photo shows Zeng Mei'e taking inventory of goods at her grocery store in Datang Village of Loudi City, central China's Hunan Province, Jan. 3, 2023. (Xinhua)

 The van came to a halt in front of a grocery shop at the village's entrance. Zeng Mei'e, the store's 54-year-old owner, came out to assist with the unloading of fresh fish, prawns, exotic fruits, and other items villagers had ordered online the day before.

Zeng double-checked each piece of information, disinfected each package, and then organized everything for delivery.

After 12 years in business, this shop in Datang Village of Loudi City in central China's Hunan Province, has become more than just a grocery store for the locals. It has become an "omnipotent house" where residents can do anything from getting a haircut to paying their electricity bills.

As a result, a common saying has become popular among locals: "If you need anything, call Zeng!"

Zeng's grocery store has adopted the e-commerce business model popular in modern cities and is now the village's "new retail" center.

The majority of young people leave the village to find jobs elsewhere, leaving behind an increasing number of senior villagers. According to Zeng, some of the away-from-home youths enjoy buying items online for their parents.

Over a year ago, Zeng began to use the supermarket as a community e-commerce pick-up station for an online business, simplifying life for everyone.

"With the addition of the pick-up location, the grocery store has become a popular 'online supermarket' among the locals. Some things that cannot be purchased in the village or county can now be delivered the following day after an online order has been placed," Zeng said.

"Prior to this, the villagers purchased what the grocery store sold. Now, the grocery store stocks what the villagers order online," she added.

Zeng also revealed that villagers can now purchase fresh ingredients right on their doorsteps. Even once-rare commodities, such as crabs, oysters, and durian, are gradually becoming more ubiquitous.

Some of the village's elderly people are unable to move freely, so Zeng assists with home delivery. Gradually, word spread that there was an "online supermarket" in Datang Village, and villagers from neighboring areas now seek Zeng's advice on how to place orders.

"I hope the elderly in the countryside can also enjoy the conveniences brought about by the Internet," said Zeng.

Over the past two years, the rapid rise of community e-commerce across the nation has not only satisfied the basic necessities of the populace, but also stimulated local consumption while fueling employment and income growth.

"While bringing conveniences to fellow villagers, I myself also benefit from the Internet, like getting more income."