Alibaba’s Juhuasuan kicks off farming initiative, Jutudi
Alibaba’s flash sale and marketing platform Juhuasuan has launched an upgraded version of Jutudi, a digital initiative to help Chinese farmers optimise their supply chain and offer consumers better deals.
Juhuasuan is Alibaba’s sales and digital marketing platform, enabling brands and merchants to broaden their reach to consumer segmentations across China through online and offline campaigns. Brands design and hold flash sales through the platform, using analytics and recommendations powered by Juhuasuan, to identify the most preferred product assortment for targeted regional consumers. It also offers a group-buying option to offer limited-time best deals to consumers.
The Jutudi initiative first debuted in 2014, allowing consumers to become “virtual farmers” by “purchasing” a small plot of land online from the growers. The farmers would ship the produce to the consumer when the crop ripened. The new Jutudi moves to help boost farmers’ digital competitiveness, offering farmers and cooperatives science-backed analytics to improve their crop and supply chain management.
Currently, 20 different cooperatives from a dozen provinces around China have joined the initiative. The plan is to widen the reach to at least 1,000 farming cooperatives within two years.
“Going beyond flash sales and promotional campaigns, the new Jutudi offers the farmers a solution that taps into the Alibaba digital economy, giving farmers broader opportunities to move their produce,” said Tmall and Taobao marketing GM Liu Bo. “Supported by the entire Alibaba ecosystem, Jutudi uses the algorithm from Alibaba Cloud to help farmers plan their crops and harvest. Our smart-logistic network, Cainiao, offers expedited delivery services to ensure freshness. Moreover, consumers can take advantage of flash sales on Juhuasuan to get the best bargains.”
One example is peaches from Hubei Province – by collaborating with Juhuasuan, peach growers there sold 100 tons of fresh peaches within just two hours last month. The performance encouraged the farmers to embrace other digital tools offered by the Alibaba ecosystem, such as leveraging Alibaba Cloud’s AI technology to standardise their crop management. As a result, costs for the farmers decreased by 10 per cent.
Juhuasuan further boosted the region’s value chains by connecting the peach growers to Three Squirrels, a China-based food conglomerate and snack maker that turned fresh peaches into popular dried fruit snack packets to be sold on Taobao and Tmall.
Based on Juhuasuan’s flash sale and collective buying model, Jutudi lets consumers pre-order agricultural products before the harvest. The platform works directly with the cooperatives or the farmers. By bypassing the middlemen and traditional wholesalers and distributors, subsequent savings are passed on to consumers. For many items, the discounts can be 30- to 50-per-cent lower than regular prices.
For farmers, the pre-sale model confers a higher degree of certainty that at least a portion of their crop will be sold. Once orders have been locked down, the farmers can harvest and pick fruits or vegetables according to the orders they’ve received. This can help prevent surpluses or shortages, and also reduces cost. Another benefit of the model is that consumers can always get fresh, in-season produce. According to the platform, the farm-to-table journey time can be as short as 48 hours once the order has been placed.
Harnessing consumer insights from Tmall and Taobao, as well as data from Alibaba Cloud, Jutudi can boost farmers’ ability to forecast what would be popular in the coming year and approximately how much to plant to meet future demand. Traditionally, farmers plan their crop based on sales of the previous season. This often incurs the risk of overproduction or underproduction. However, by using data and scientific insights provided by Jutudi, farmers can more accurately predict the next hot items. Such predictions are especially crucial for farmers of specialty crops to capture niche market share.
An example is the pumpkin growers in desert areas of Gansu province. Based on data and shopping trends provided by the platform, farmers now know through some light processing, they can turn the whole pumpkins into easy-to-carry microwave meals targeting office workers. The explosive popularity of these pumpkin meals have encouraged pumpkin farmers to double their crop area from the current 396 acres in preparation for next year’s sales.
Juhuasuan has successfully promoted an array of agricultural products. In the past six months, through flash sales, 330 tons of lychees from Hainan Province, 165 acres of fresh roses and 3 million mandarin oranges from Yunnan Province were completely sold out within 72 hours.