Duo Duo Grocery is a next-day grocery pickup service by Pinduoduo, China’s largest agricultural platform. Farmers list their fruits and vegetables for direct sale to consumers in the region.
The orders are matched to local farms, which cuts down on the time for transportation and ensures the freshness of the produce. By having consumers pick up their purchases at selected points (typically within a few hundred meters from their homes), the price is kept low by cutting out the last-mile delivery cost.
First launched in August 2020, Duo Duo Grocery caters to the rising demand by consumers for timely and low-cost groceries. The service is now available in more than 300 cities across China. They range from Heihe in the northernmost province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, to the tourist resort city of Sanya in tropical Hainan, China’s southernmost province.
“With sufficient demand and scale, the unit economic costs of farm-to-table can be drastically improved to make this accessible to a wider group of consumers than ever before,” said Lillian Li, a Shanghai-based tech analyst.
Consumers worldwide have gravitated to app-based grocery ordering due to Covid-19 lockdowns and lingering concerns about shopping in crowded markets. In China, households are used to doing daily trips to the local wet markets, making grocery shopping a high-frequency activity.
Consumers place their orders through the Duo Duo Grocery channel on the Pinduoduo mobile app before 11 pm. The orders are processed and delivered to the designated pickup locations, where consumers can pick up their purchases after 4 pm the next day.
Duo Duo Grocery is able to lower the prices of the groceries on offer by having consumers collect their orders from nearby pickup points. While it may be just a few minutes’ walk for the consumers, this last leg is typically the most expensive, accounting for about 30% of the delivery. In the longer run, the reduction in food spoilage and transportation time by efficiently matching nearby farm supply with consumer demand will further drive down waste and logistics costs, which can be passed on in savings to the consumers.
Duo Duo Grocery is an integral part of Pinduoduo and can be accessed on the homepage of the Pinduoduo app. Once in the dedicated grocery section, users can select their pickup location from a list of collection points ranked by proximity. The list will also show which pickup locations support cold storage for meat, seafood and other frozen items.
Pinduoduo is investing in and working with partners to expand cold-chain logistics, warehousing and sorting facilities, so that consumers can buy a wider range of perishables that require refrigeration and household necessities.
In the Duo Duo Grocery channel, there is a section for flash deals, as well as one featuring recommendations and top-selling items. Vendors list their inventory of agricultural products and household necessities for sale, which are curated and presented by the platform to consumers based on their geographical location.
Users can browse the continuous feed or access individual categories including vegetables, fruits, dairy, beverages, grains, cooking oil, snacks and household necessities.
Like a farmer’s market, the items for sale on Duo Duo Grocery will depend on what is available at local farms. For example, someone living in Heihe in frosty Heilongjiang may see fewer green vegetables during winter compared with the offerings for a user living in balmy Sanya in Hainan, which featured locally produced tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins ginger and sweet potatoes.
The recommended items also differ by region and by the consumer’s individual preference and habits. Over time, the app learns the grocery habits of each consumer and matches and recommends the most suitable items from the day’s offerings.
Consumers who do not find what they want from Duo Duo Grocery still have the option of ordering from Pinduoduo’s main platform and having the items delivered in a few days, making it a natural extension of and complement to the agricultural platform.