Group buying is dead, but O2O services, which revolve around the Internet in traditional industries, will live forever. Group buying survivors ' experiences and motivation to survive are proving this point.
A company that took over billion venture capital and employs more than 5000 people died Shu.
Group buying site 24 coupons and CEO Du Yinan story like a novel. Starting from a dozens of-square-metre hut, the founding team of more than 10 people. Entrepreneurship is only 15 days, the site has opened to two cities, 1.5 of the time, the company expanded rapidly to 6000 people. However, with the rapid expansion of the ensuing, the money out of control and management contradictions. In only a few hundred days, CEO Du Yinan to seek a takeover without a result announced the company closed down.
This scene in the ups and downs of the 2012-year group buying industry is not uncommon: vicious competition, IPO folding, weak sales, CEO runaway, Capital Cooling, group buying site A lot of layoffs, thousands of group purchase website failure ... Compared with the previous year, group buying sites are no longer glamorous, everyone in the suffering of survival or transformation.
However, in the thousands of group purchase site collective extinction "extinction", several companies have survived: After the full announcement of profit of 1 yuan, the litters group, the United States group announced at the end of 2012 to achieve large-scale profit.
As the fastest-growing capital on the Internet, the fastest and most volatile business model in the rhythm of switching, the dust settles at least to prove to the outside world the value of group buying and the possibility of renewable energy.
Group Purchase navigation site 800 recently released the "2012 China Group Purchase Market Statistics Report", the data show, according to the domestic more than 10 mainstream group purchase site continuous monitoring, 2012 total turnover of 21.39 billion yuan, 2011 growth of 93%; Total annual purchase reached 456 million people, compared with 2011 growth of 45%, group buying has formed a normal lifestyle.
The industry from the beginning of 2010 into the country, from the Thousand-Regiment war to mass death, in the past 3 years has gone through the first stage of madness. Under the Matthew effect, the United States, litters, comments group and other companies became the first wave of survivors after the waves. What are the reasons for their survival? How will we find new energy and value?
Is buying a good business?
After the school and the meal whether these seemingly applauded business start-up, Wang's dream was to lead his team to do a real profitable business. At the end of 2012, his dream came true.
Through a year of business form adjustment and meticulous management, as the current domestic largest group purchase site, the United States announced the realization of large-scale profit, while a single month sales of more than 800 million, annual sales of more than 5.5 billion.
Group buying is a triangular relationship, on the one hand from the consumer to collect money, on the one hand to the merchant knot. This collection seems to have enough cash flow and appears to make money on both sides. But this is clearly not an easy business, standing in the middle of the process of cash flow, it is easy to lose control. Only give up some "benefits", service users and merchants at both ends, so that both ends "comfortable", only to survive the possibility.
And on this issue, the history of the American Regiment is a good model.
In fact, back to these 3 years, the survival of the United States Regiment is not smooth sailing. In the second half of 2010, the original good reputation of the United States Regiment was once the pull of the House Regiment car robbed the limelight. At that time, the American regiment was like a young student who met a shrewd businessman and did not know how to fight. It was not until the first anniversary of March 4, 2011 that the group made a very smart decision to officially expire a full refund.
This seems to be a common condition today, at that time caused an uproar in the industry. Because in the group buying industry at first, a large part of the profit is from these precipitation funds, the United States Group Choice is no doubt the money from the break. "This is nonsense, is a cancer, this is to borrow capital advantage malicious suppress opponents ... "A series of negative evaluations from peers broke out quickly.
However, according to the United States network Vice President Wang Huiwen recalls that evening he brushed the brush on the ease of sleep, "because in this industry, everyone's feedback quickly." You do the right thing and do something wrong the verification cycle is very short, the results at a glance. ”
The dramatic outcome is that after a scolding, to handle the representatives of the various group buying sites have taken the following strategy, the introduction of green refund channel. But this battle, the consumer only remembers the American regiment.
The difference between doing something and smashing one thing is that it takes any prerequisite to do a good job, and if a failure is done, it will be smashed.
The nature of the group buying business, at first many people feel that they can fool the user, side of the shop, almost empty gloves white Wolf "sewing son" good model. But really do down, all the group buying enterprises will find that the fact is that you have to serve the good users, while to serve the good merchant, it is not so comfortable to imagine.
The American regiment looks very clear. "In 3 years, we have solved two of the most important issues. Wang Huiwen. "Because no matter how to emphasize their quality of service, in the hearts of consumers and businesses, there is a most uncomfortable place, we have to solve their most unpleasant place, to solve better than peers." When both are resolved, everything should grow naturally. ”
For the merchant, the group makes the semi-automatic knot business impressive. At the beginning of the purchase of the site does not have any ability to identify, they look the same, so he will be with all the group purchase site cooperation once, after a conclusion. Especially for some small money-strapped businesses, the speed of the knot is particularly important, or when they see the group purchase station closed down, they are most concerned about the last will not give them money.
And above the logical premise, must be relatively controllable funds layer-there are many group buying sites, are known to lengthen the account period. One of the causes of the death of 24 coupons is that the capital chain of the merchant is broken because of the external launch. In the process, 24 coupons Most well-known practice is through the refueling Card group purchase, 500 yuan only to sell 485 yuan, trying to get the preferential prices through the bulk order. Behold Sinopec immediately issued a statement never with cooperation, eventually dismal end.
The industry has a saying: all those who feel that group buying is a good business are dead, and early to realize and quickly accept that they are doing a "bitter business" has the opportunity to survive.
Group Buy Survivors: Group purchase is a bitter business, the United States into a "good model"
If you use a number of generic series of these group purchase site of Life and death, in tandem all group buying stations are chasing the size, efficiency and profit, it is difficult not to manage closely.
Starting in 2011, almost all group buying companies are desperately recruiting expansion, in the capital of the rush of Horse Rodeo. At that time the highest star is Litters Regiment, CEO Xu Maodong decades of retail origin, with a huge online sales experience, the ability to control the resources under the line is very strong, litters regiment in a very short time to surpass the handle, to a large extent also depends on this.
Many people remember the 2011 litters group "Great Leap Forward" type of press conference. Someone asked Xu Maodong if you have dug more than 200 people from the handle, Xu Maodong said this is not called to dig people called demolition, because we are to do the biggest thing. According to insiders, Xu Maodong in addition to personal wealth, in the management of sales, there are beyond ordinary people's ability and charm.
and Litters Regiment competition the most intense handle net, but weak in the management. According to relevant sources, the handle network does not have the position of vice president of sales, only the regional manager report up. With the acceleration of expansion, some outsiders are not aware of the company.
In the international has such a set of management algorithm: A person with normal management ability, can only have 6 direct reporting subordinates, step downward push, the number is to 6 times times the speed of growth, this is the international standard. Take the United States as an example, in the sales line, the management level is: Sales Vice president, regional manager, District Manager, BD Manager, Bd. 2600 people can be accommodated according to the level.
As in April 2011, a colleague came to the Wang Huiwen and asked a question: "We were about the same at the end of the year, but in a few months, you are several times the size of us, what have you done?" In fact, one thing that is not apparent to many people is that the group has appointed a vice president of sales. The result is that because the upper level is added, the lower tier has a lot more employees, and the scale is doubled. At that time, the United States Regiment staff already has 2200 people.
Group 800 co-founder Hu Chen said, actually really to the group buying station, the expansion to 5~10 City is very simple, but to the 100 cities when the whole is spell management. The problem with high friends is that at first glance the financial statements are pretty. But the actual is the company's funds to sales, the city to decorate the data, sales with commission to leave. If you can't control it, everyone is eating the company's real money.
And here is a special case, in the management of the natural parent company for many years of accumulation and differentiation of resources, but it also because of prudent management in the pace of expansion to lose other home. 2011, comments on the strategy is that if a city public comment itself is not enough fire, then do not do group buying. This led to a review mission in 50 cities is good, capacity even more than the United States Regiment. But the national, the disadvantage of radiation radius will let many home beyond.
When you look back, the more you grow fast, the more you need management and control, and the methodology you can refer to. According to statistics, the current litters, handles have opened up 200 cities, the United States Regiment 100 cities, reviews nearly 50 cities.
Escape from Group buying
Despite surviving under the waves, surviving is not a victory, nor is it the final pattern of group buying. Just as many survivors are trying to get rid of the name of "group buying" and instead of "local life service", the survivors of this group are in fact attempting to "escape" the concept of group buying.
Take the Litters Regiment for example, the Litters Regiment has now transformed into litters mall. Through the guidance of long-term merchants into the store model, such as the provision of 60 percent-70 percent vouchers, can Qiao Jiangnan 65 yuan when 100 yuan, the shape has turned to the high margin discount. At the same time litters itself also adopt an open strategy, also stationed in Jingdong, Poly cost-effective platform-type electric business.
Especially in the O2O environment, group buying is only a part of the micro-letter to join the war. Everyone seems to be starting to think about whether the once-solid business should be stretched out-that is, how to continuously release the value of the user after acquiring the user, or how to find a new form of offer to motivate the business and the user in addition to buying.
"Business value" journalist and Group 800 co-founder Hu Chen discussed the path to the offer: currently known for a number of preferential forms, group purchase discount, usually about 40 percent, consumers can choose the initiative is not strong, the need for early payment and appointment, coupons discount medium 40 percent-80 percent, consumers use relatively free, also need not make an appointment; Membership card discount of 80 percent-90 percent, but consumers use at will, the least pressure.
But it may be from the business of marketing ideas to see them: the role of group buying more is to obtain new users, discount coupons is to increase the consumption of two times, the target is repeat customers, and membership card, loyalty cards and other forms of the old customers, loyal users of the relationship between the maintenance.
"If you say, buy and coupons can be replaced, then the business card This is the merchant marketing and the relationship between the couple." Hu Chen told reporters that the current micro-letter habitual play is "a card a gift", by sending a "present", such as a popcorn, a cup of coffee, the actual is to pull the user into a card membership. Alipay's Cabao is also stepping up its layout. "he said.
Applying this logic, it is not difficult for reporters to see the changes as they look at the surviving group buying sites.
Public comments CEO Zhang said that the public's ideal is to the service industry Internet, can help merchants and consumers, connect them better, solve information asymmetry. In fact, reviews group buying is through the large company resources, will buy and other preferential way packaging into a "preferential combination."
For example, the public comments group buy mainly help merchants to bring new passenger flow, the introduction of the "New electronic Membership card" and "booking" function. "New electronic Membership card" will help merchants to manage the old users, loyal users, and "scheduled" function can help merchants get better booking guests. It is understood that the electronic membership card in the introduction will gradually replace the traditional entity membership card, there are many businesses in the public comments on the mobile phone on the introduction of the electronic Membership card service, try to electronic membership management.
Group Buy Survivors: Group purchase is a bitter business, the United States into a "good model"
If only to do a group buy again is just the boss of group buying field. Once the merchant does not want to buy through the way of marketing, and group buying site has no relationship. In fact, as with the comments, the United States Group is also looking at this part. At the end of October 2012, an application called "American Club membership card" was added to iOS, according to the American group, "It was just a test." ”
Of course it's just a guess. Wang's answer to the future strategy is clearly cautious enough. The only clue is that he says that future attempts will be made to guide referrals--which is bound to be based on more user information mining.
More importantly, the above premise is to airing on the mobile end. The future handset end will become a huge exerting force channel. According to Hu Chen forecast, in the 2nd quarter of 2013, there will be some group buy mobile phone volume can catch up with PC. At present, 30% of Groupon in the United States comes from mobile phone purchases, and it is understood that the number of American groups has been very close. and the public reviews the latest data is 2012 reviews mobile group purchase consumption increased by more than 20 times times over a year earlier.
Traditional group buying has died for all survivors, but O2O services, which revolve around the Internet in traditional industries, will live forever.