Courier service SF Express Co. plans to expand its neighborhood service network from 518 outlets to 4,000 nationwide this year to help build a presence in the offline-to-online sector, Sina reported Thursday.
The outlets will allow customers to mail and collect packages, try out products and place orders online, connecting online shoppers with brick-and-mortar stores.
The company will also install ATMs, electronics repair services, laundries and fitting rooms in some of the outlets, called “Heike”, or “Hey Customers”, media reports said.
The model is a way for companies to market and sell products using huge online databases of consumer buying behavior.
The outlets will sell high-end imported food and luxury products down the track and target customers like older people who want to shop online but struggle to use the internet. These potential customers account for 60 percent of the offline market.
The company has plenty of credit at its disposal after raising around 8 billion yuan (US$1.29 billion) from two Chinese banks in August. It also sits on a cash pile of 40 billion to 50 billion yuan.
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