Shanghai group buying organizers fill niches, warm hearts

(Xinhua) 09:41, May 01, 2022

SHANGHAI, April 30 (Xinhua) -- In China's Shanghai, many group buying organizers have warmed the hearts of their neighbors during the latest surge of COVID-19.

Amid the COVID-19 flare-ups, Shanghai has been working hard to boost the supply of daily necessities for its population of about 25 million and to overcome bottlenecks in logistics and help e-commerce platforms increase production and transport capacity.

Local community workers and volunteers have been working day and night to fight the virus and provide daily necessities for the residents. In the process, group buying organizers have also done their bit.

Qian Danuan, who works at a new media company, has been a group buying organizer for nearly 200 residents in her neighborhood in Shanghai's Xuhui District since early April.

"At the time, I ran out of milk, and some neighbors also said that they wanted to buy milk in our WeChat group. Since everyone had common needs, I made the first group purchase," Qian said.

To organize a group purchase, one has to understand the neighbors' needs, find reliable channels, send product introductions, set a spreadsheet to collect purchasing information, and post the order closing time for the neighbors.

"I would update logistics information to make everyone feel assured. For example, I send photos to them showing that the vegetables we purchased are on the way," she said.

Qian is not the only one who has volunteered to organize group purchases for their neighbors.

Zhu Min, a lawyer who lives in Pudong New Area, also finds resources and channels to make group purchases for her neighbors, as she knows a friend who can get quality goods from a food trader.

Being an organizer is no easy job. Zhu, cautious as she is, uses strict prevention measures.

"The company's business certificate, the vehicle pass and the driver's nucleic acid test report are essential. We need to look at the map software to check the epidemic situation around the supplier, and ask if the factory is managed through closed-loop management," she said.

"It takes a lot of work to organize a group purchase, so as organizers, we must be patient and warm-hearted," she said.

Zhu mainly organizes purchases of vegetables. "My neighbors have told me that the vegetables are fresh, which gave me a sense of achievement," she said.

Jia Hongbin, CEO of discount supermarket Biyide, also stood out.

"Neighbors know where I work, so they hope that I could help the community with basic supplies," he said.

Based on his experience, being a group buying organizer is much harder than being a CEO.

"When the fully loaded truck for the first group purchase arrived in the middle of the night, many people had gone to bed, but the goods could not simply be left there, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. The truck driver, volunteers and I unloaded and carried the goods on our shoulders," Jia recalled.

Group buying is a great way for neighbors to help each other and pull together, said Liu Lili, another organizer in Pudong New Area.

"The WeChat group for group purchases is also a place where neighbors help each other," Liu said. "If one neighbor says in our group that he or she needs green onions, garlic, tissue paper, cooking oil, or salt, there will always be someone to offer a helping hand."

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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