China Food

Three squirrels are all around

Under the pressure of the three squirrels, the urgent need to get out of the situation.

Three squirrels, which have been established for four years, have become the “leader of leisure snacks”, with revenue exceeding 10 billion in eight years.

Among the major dramas and variety shows pursued by young people, the advertising placement of three squirrels is particularly eye-catching.

Three squirrels are trying to shape themselves into snacks that young people can’t do without.

Tfboys, the most popular youth idol group in China, also spoke for it. The image of “three little animals” fits the image of “three squirrels”.

In the only store with three squirrels in Beijing, all kinds of new products have not been displayed in the store, but some consumers have said frankly “covering all kinds of snacks I can imagine”.

In the past few years, three squirrels have chosen to expand against the trend in the new period of e-commerce flow dividend fading and growth rate declining.

The outside world’s perception of the three squirrels starts with nuts, but for founder Zhang Liaoyuan and all shareholders, they obviously don’t want the company to always be the role of selling nuts online.

From nuts to snacks, from online to offline, is Zhang Liaoyuan’s radical choice to pave the way for the secondary growth of the enterprise, or accelerate the demise of the enterprise, so that it will eventually become a meteor in the era of e-commerce boom?

Success is on the line, and pain is on the line

The development and change of snack industry brand is closely following the pace of the times.

In the 1970s and 1980s, it was very difficult for people to buy snacks. Qiaqa first began to use kraft paper to package melon seeds, and turned them into brand products.

Consumption is upgrading, and people are willing to buy Nuts and snacks with higher prices and higher grades. Laiyifen, baicaowei and liangpin shops emerged as the times require, becoming the representatives of offline snack chain operation mode, providing users with convenient choice and purchase channels.

After 2000, e-commerce has become a new retail channel that can carry more products. Three squirrels are the new brands born under this background. If the old players can’t satisfy them, new players can use new channels, new traffic and new business models to satisfy them.

The three squirrels successfully reaped the traffic dividend of the e-commerce platform and grew into a nut snack brand with internet attributes.

On June 19, 2012, three squirrels were put into trial operation in tmall mall and sold 1000 orders in 7 days. In the same year, the daily sales reached 7.66 million, which broke the record of daily sales of single store in tmall food industry and ranked first in the sales of snacks and specialty products.

By 2020, according to its semi annual report, the business income of e-commerce platform will be 4.44 billion yuan, accounting for 84.54% of the business income. The total number of online orders is 35.526 million, with a transaction volume of 3.03 billion yuan and an average order amount of 85.3 yuan.

Jingdong and tmall are the biggest sales channels of the three squirrels, and their sales accounts for more than 80% of their total sales. Such excessive dependence on e-commerce also brings about fatal problems: facing the e-commerce platform, the voice power is small, the traffic cost is higher and higher, and it is more difficult to obtain customers.

According to the financial data, the promotion fee and platform service fee of the three squirrels in the first half of 2020 is 398 million yuan, which is 264 million yuan in the same period of last year, with a year-on-year increase of 50.8%, and the overall sales cost is 1 billion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 7.89%.

The high platform service fee has eroded the profits of the three squirrels. Although the operating revenue in the first half of 2020 is 5.252 billion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 16.42%, the net profit decreases by 29.32% compared with the same period of last year.

During the epidemic period, the three squirrels expanded the e-commerce drainage entrance by means of live broadcast and short video, and the flow of online platform was decentralized, which further increased the customer acquisition cost and affected the profit margin.

Compared with the “one-sided” sales channel of three squirrels, the on-line and off-line structure of liangpin shop laid by the channel under ZAOXIAN cable is more reasonable. From 2016 to the first half of 2019, the proportion of its online sales revenue increased from 33.69% to 45.19%, while the offline sales revenue decreased from 66.31% to 54.81%, and the income structure tended to be balanced.

Build your own channel regardless of the cost

Facing the problem, three squirrels on the one hand expand the number of offline physical stores, on the other hand, build their own logistics.

Although the growth rate of online business is slowing down, offline business is still advancing steadily, deepening the layout of the whole country. According to the semi annual report, 38 new “feeding shops” of three squirrels have been opened, with a total of 139 by the end of the period, with an operating income of 310 million yuan, an increase of 45% year-on-year. By the end of the period, there were 209 new Lianyungang stores, 478 in total, with an operating revenue of 157 million yuan, up 166.1% year-on-year.

Obviously, affected by the epidemic situation, the overall passenger flow of offline stores has declined, and the opening progress of new stores has slowed down, and the pulling effect has not yet reached the expectation. The revenue of investment restaurants and alliance stores accounted for 5.90% and 2.99% of the operating revenue respectively, which contributed little to the total revenue.

At the same time, the expansion of stores brought about a substantial increase in management costs. Compared with the same period last year, the management expenses in the first half of this year increased by 63.91%.

Among the management expenses, the staff salary increased from 38.75 million yuan to 61.66 million yuan, the tax increased from 2.86 million yuan to 5.56 million yuan, and the inventory loss and scrap loss caused by the epidemic situation increased from 6.04 million yuan to 17.78 million yuan.

As the saying goes, there are gains and losses. What the three squirrels have grasped is the online traffic bonus, and what they have missed is the development opportunity of offline stores. Now they are forced to face the backlash from online channels.

Taking laiyifen and baicaowei as examples, they were established in 1999 and 2003 respectively. At that time, commercial real estate and real estate sank for the first time, which provided enough bottom merchants for the retail industry to rent. By attracting traffic through brands, offline chain brands ushered in development opportunities.

As of 2011, laiyifen has 2447 Direct stores, and baicaowei has thousands of offline stores. Similarly, liangpin store, which was established in 2006, started with physical stores. According to public reports, there are 2100 offline stores, accounting for nearly 60% of offline sales.

Three squirrel stores in Beijing

The three squirrels, which were established in 2012, are faced with high rents and “pre emptive” competitors, and then try to obtain traffic through offline stores.

In self built logistics, the most critical problem is that the quantity can not reach.

Three squirrels set up two companies in Wuhu on April 9, namely Anhui three squirrels Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. and Anhui hamster Logistics Co., Ltd., which are 100% owned by three squirrels Co., Ltd.

As for the establishment of supply chain company and logistics company with 90 million yuan of three squirrels, some logistics industry experts told yiou: “it is inevitable for three squirrels to build their own logistics. The development of e-commerce in the next 10 years depends on logistics. The controllable logistics distribution system can support and serve the business system of the platform itself.”

Li Feng, an important investor of the three squirrels, once pointed out that: they started from online, but the three squirrels will not become pure online channel brands like Jingdong, which is related to the category characteristics and development speed of home appliances and snacks. Three squirrels are both brand and channel.

Category extension, expansion and pressure bearing

In order to increase the growth space and profit source, three squirrels are accelerating the transformation from nut brand to food brand.

At present, three squirrels have launched four new brands: tiegongji, which is positioned as a new generation of Internet fast food brand; Xiaolu blue, which is positioned as a professional brand of Internet baby food; having raised a baby, it is positioned as a new generation of Internet national pet food brand; xixiaoque is positioned as a new generation of Internet hi Li brand.

What the three squirrels want to create is a full scene solution for family consumption, and they hope to give full play to their advantages in the subdivided fields and obtain broader growth space.

In exploring the new track, elf, an analyst with wietop’s snack industry, believes it’s not easy for three squirrels to break into the cat food brand.

“Cat food is a market of consumption upgrading, which means that there will be more brand value in it. Cats are very picky, so the main food for cats is basically New Zealand, Canada and other foreign brands, which are popular. And cat food is despised group, users will feel that natural food is more advanced. “

Three squirrels have a baby cat food brand

Elf also told yiou that domestic cat food brands only started to have the concept of natural food in recent years, and the accumulation is too small. Similarly, three squirrels as a human food brand, will not be easy to grasp. Cat snacks will be relatively easy, but the problem is that the profit is low, there are too many online layouts, and consumers don’t have much loyalty.

At the same time, the profit margin of the three squirrels will be under pressure in the short term due to the increase of expenditure and discount brought by the expansion of scale and category.

But three squirrels have their own advantages. The number of upstream suppliers is stable and the procurement quality is high; the core logistics links in the midstream have been under self-control, and the downstream has also begun to build a digital user management platform. In terms of production, the quality is controlled by the way of “alliance factory”.

One of the first three squirrel employees told yiou that many people would use food standards to look at e-commerce brands, and felt that the products were homogeneous and there was no moat or self built factory. But in fact, the whole food industry, the supply chain is surplus, there are not so many enterprises with product capacity, which is the reason for many problems.

“The key is how to package nut based retail into a concept product popular with young people nowadays. For example,” daily nut nutrition supplement “is a conceptual product different from a large bag of walnut seeds bought at home. Here’s what squirrels do: turn food into products. “


The long-term development goals of the three squirrels are clear, and the nature of the business model is private brand retailers.

From nuts to snacks, the three squirrels hope to open their own ceiling completely through the four new tracks of fast food, baby food, pet food and Xili market.

Facing the pressure from upstream and downstream, competitors, channels and capital markets, the three squirrels are eager to continue to grow, just like the desire for oxygen in suffocation. Under the pressure of the three squirrels, the urgent need to get out of the situation.

Author: Yang Shuo; source: yiou (ID: i-yiou), reprinted with authorization.
Join the community: Cherry (wechat: 15240428449);
Business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246).

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