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JD.com expands offline efforts with 'Experience Shops'

In its latest push offline, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc. is rolling out physical stores in China for consumers to feel and test products in person before buying.

The JD Retail Experience Shops feature products ranging from JD's DingDong smart speaker, books, baby and maternal products to digital and home appliance products, all of which are sourced from the JD.com online shopping platform.

So far, there are 92 such stores around China, and JD plans to increase the number to 300 by end of the year. They measure 200 square meters, with some including play areas for children and massage areas for elderly customers.

One store in Beijing's suburban Changping district generated more than 1,000 orders worth 1.23 million Chinese yuan on its opening day, JD said in an Aug. 9 post on its company blog.

The JD Retail Experience Shops are operating on a franchise model and leverage the company's big data capabilities for demand planning, inventory management and targeted marketing.

JD said its technology will keep offline stores "stocked with recommended categories and suggested amounts of products, while localizing the selection depending on consumer buying preferences in each location."

The store rollout adds to a slew of efforts by the online retailer to expand its offline footprint, which include an investment in Yonghui Superstores Co. Ltd., a strategic alliance with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and a plan to open more than 1 million convenience stores across China in the next five years.

As of Aug. 9, US$1 was equivalent to 6.68 Chinese yuan.