On June 22, 2019, Juhuasuan, Alibaba’s flash sale and marketing platform, launched the upgraded version of “Jutudi,” a digital initiative to help Chinese farmers optimize their supply chain and offer consumers better deals.
Jutudi first debuted in 2014. Under the previous scheme, consumers could 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 was ready to be harvested.
To help boost farmers’ competitiveness in the digital era, the new Jutudi offers farmers and their 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.
Liu Bo, general manager of Tmall and Taobao Marketing said, “Supported by the entire Alibaba ecosystem, Jutudi leverages 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 of Jutudi’s success is the optimization of peaches from Hubei Province. By collaborating with Juhuasuan, the peach growers there sold 100 tons of fresh peaches in just two hours last month. This stellar performance encouraged the farmers to embrace other digital tools offered by Alibaba’s ecosystem, such as leveraging Alibaba Cloud’s AI technology to standardize their crop management. As a result, costs for the farmers decreased by 10%.
Juhuasuan further augmented 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. Jutudi works directly with the cooperatives or the farmers. By bypassing the middlemen or the traditional wholesalers and distributors, the savings get passed on to consumers. For many items, the discounts can be 30% to 50% lower than regular prices.
For farmers, the pre-sale model gives them 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 have received. This can help prevent surpluses or shortages, increasing efficiency. 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.
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 three million mandarin oranges from Yunnan Province completely sold out within 72 hours.