First of all, for consumers, options for imported snacks in the same store are very limited. 

In a large supermarket in Guangzhou, imported snacks line up in a row on special shelves. Candies, potato chips, biscuits, jelly, chocolate as well as seasonings, coffee, instant noodles and other kinds of food are all placed on the same row of shelves. But there are only a handful of imported brands in each snack category to choose from. Some of the most popular imported snacks recommended by online shoppers are hard to find here. 

Another hypermarket who has a rich variety of imported food has opened a zone for imported food. However, some special offers and the main imported snacks together with other domestic snacks as well as the snacks of foreign brands that are produced in China are all putting in the middle of the aisle shelves, which is particularly conspicuous. 

In this hypermarket, snacks from Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have the richest categories. Cookies, crisps, candies, nuts, dried fruit, and pastries, etc. are all available. The popular Julie’s sandwich biscuits, Tao Kae Noi grilled seaweed rolls, and Thailand KOH-KAE peanuts are easy to find. Among all the categories of imported snacks, the choices of biscuits are most abundant. The proportion of imported brands is 50%, equivalent to that of domestic brands.The candy category also has a lot of choices including fudge, hard candy, jelly, chocolate and so on. 

Beyond the Southeast Asia brands, there are also candies imported from Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan. Chocolate, on the other hand, are most produced in European countries such as Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and France, etc.. For instance, the well-known Ferrero Rocher, Lindt and Guylian are all from Europe. But for other categories of imported snacks, the options are limited. In the case of potato chips, almost all imported brands come from Malaysia, accounting for only about 20% of the individual category. Some of the most popular imported snacks, such as BURTS British hand cooked potato chips, Tokyo banana and Shiroi Koibito chocolate, etc., can not be found either while these snacks are all available on Taobao and Tmall. 

The second bottleneck for offline channels is the limits of regional distribution. 

Although the customer source is fixed and the repeat purchase rate is high, it is not easy to develop new customers, thus it is in a relatively passive position. Though many supermarkets have long offered free delivery services within 3 km or 5 km for a certain amount of purchase, this service cannot meet the needs of customers outside the scope of distribution. Therefore, for these customers, it may be more convenient for them to buy directly from an online supermarket by paying some delivery fee and waiting for home delivery. Moreover, there are much more options for imported snacks, even imported niche snacks can also be found in online supermarkets. Although online and offline channels have their own advantages and disadvantages, but from the perspective of mainstream consumer habits, online channels have more obvious advantages. For consumers, online shopping is not subject to business hours and geographical restrictions. All products are available only by using on-line search, which is very convenient. For merchants, they can sell to consumers through a variety of means in the purpose of enhancing product sales. 

However, online channel merchants need to ensure the quality and the authenticity of imported source of snacks. Besides, they should also shorten the time of the intermediate links as far as possible, so as to avoid moisture spoilage, expiration and other issues caused by too much time-consuming. In addition, online merchants can also combine the advantages of offline channels by opening experimental stores, pop-up stores and so on in shopping malls to stimulate consumers’ desire to buy instantly and to guide the off-line consumers to online shopping.


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