"The essence of retail is products and customers. At present, the'highlights' of unmanned stores tend to solve the pain points of operators. In the future, great efforts must be made to solve the pain points of consumers."
In addition to enhancing customer acquisition capabilities through price, channels and other channels, the retail giant also brought out a new product that is tempting in the upcoming 2017 Double 11.
A few days ago, JD.com announced that unmanned convenience stores will officially open during the "Double 11" period; Suning also stated that Suning Tesco will add 4 unmanned convenience stores nationwide during the "Double 11" period. It can be seen that, as a new species in the retail industry, unmanned convenience stores are proliferating everywhere in China.
The unmanned convenience store that has become a new "outlet" has attracted VC (venture investment), PE (private equity investment) and other capitals. While physical stores continue to gain the favor of capital, retail technology service providers including YI Tunnel and Yunna Technology have also received various funding. IiMedia Consulting predicts that the transaction scale of unmanned convenience stores in my country will reach 38.94 billion yuan in 2017, and this year can be called the "first year of unmanned retail." By 2022, the transaction scale of my country's unmanned convenience stores will reach 1.8 trillion yuan.
Optimistic growth judgments on the number and scale of unmanned convenience stores in the future are not just speculations. On the one hand, the performance of department store giants and hypermarkets continues to decline, and the phenomenon of store closures continues. Many traditional convenience stores are also operating in a dismal operation under the high pressure of labor and logistics costs. Market forces force traditional retail to seek transformation; on the other hand , Online retail has also encountered a "ceiling", the original rapid growth momentum cannot be continued, and it is imminent to seek new breakthroughs. In this case, the integration of online and offline is also the general trend, and unmanned retail has the dual characteristics of online transactions and offline sales, and it will logically become a test field for retail innovation.
More importantly, the continuous iterative technologies such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Internet of Things, mobile payment, face recognition, and deep learning provide unmanned convenience stores with a relatively sufficient supply of technology, and the technological form replaces the traditional retail The shopping link originally relied on the shopping process realized by the roles of security personnel, waiters, and cashiers to help merchants reduce operating costs. In the smooth shopping scene of unmanned convenience stores, consumers can also get convenience and efficiency. Experience.
Of course, the current unmanned convenience stores have not yet produced profits, the business model has not really formed, and the industry as a whole is also in its infancy. The main reason for this is that unmanned convenience stores have many weaknesses and pain points that need to be resolved.
First, the issue of cost control. Insiders have calculated that the investment of an unmanned convenience store is about 100,000 yuan, the daily turnover of a single store is about 2,000 yuan, and the gross profit margin is about 30%-40%. Excluding the share, since there is no rent and labor costs , Less than 1 year to pay back.
But what must be faced is that while the number of shop assistants is decreasing, the operation and maintenance personnel of unmanned convenience stores such as monitoring and placing goods will inevitably increase, and behind the unmannedness there are huge technical input costs and hardware transformation costs. More importantly, unmanned convenience stores are generally placed in physical environments such as business districts, communities, schools, etc. From landing to launch, operators are required to have a certain amount of contacts and resource accumulation, otherwise the communication costs of the entire process will also It is very high, and if the rapid scale cannot be achieved, the huge investment in the early stage will be difficult to digest.
Second, the technical bottleneck problem. Although unmanned convenience stores were born on the basis of new retail technology, the technical bottleneck is precisely the biggest challenge at present. Regardless of whether the RFID radio frequency technology used in the Bingo box is easy to be blocked, the posted label may be torn up and lose its functional effect. Even the most avant-garde technology used in JD.com and Ali unmanned stores cannot guarantee it. error. The important thing is that the goal of unmanned retail is unlimited retail. The current unmanned convenience store scale is generally about 20-40 square meters. If technology cannot keep up, it will also restrict the marginal expansion and scale effect of unmanned retail.
Third, the experience of service supply. Unmanned convenience stores have improved the efficiency of supply through the power of technology, but have also obliterated the value of interaction with people. The shortage of humanized services has become a flaw in unmanned retail. For example, consumers can’t get enough money during shopping. The warm hospitality of the clerk, refers to the shopping guide or supporting services; customers encounter problems in shopping, and they cannot provide timely help. All of these will greatly reduce the consumer's scene experience. For this reason, we especially emphasize that the essence of retail is commodities and customers. The success of any format cannot be separated from satisfying the needs of consumers. At present, all the “highlights” of unmanned stores are biased towards solving the pain points of operators. The future must Make great efforts to solve the pain points of consumers.