China Food

Why did the war of the new brand burn to offline stores?

it’s better to tell a new story offline than playing the stock game.

Text: Sherry   

Source: digitaling (ID: Digitizing)

The domestic commercial market is like a “Besieged City”. Traditional brands are still trying their best to inject “Internet gene” into themselves. New consumer brands that rely on traffic dividends have “come down to earth” to open theme stores.
As the leader of online coffee brands, Santon and a half is called “a brand that even Starbucks is nervous about”. However, on the first day of the Mid Autumn Festival holiday, Santon and a half came offline and brought the “force flight” concept store to the public. In less than half a month, yongpu coffee, the “favorite” of new coffee, also announced that it would open an offline store.
Coffee brands are not the only ones rushing to the offline “enclosure”. In the past September and October, many new consumer brands, such as Xicha, miyue ice city, jiaonei, gene monster and so on, have opened physical stores, setting off an upsurge of opening stores.
As a “new species” in the consumer field, new consumer brands have always been like fish in water in the Internet world. Why have they made great efforts in offline physical Commerce recently? Do offline stores with different characteristics hide the growth ambition of new consumer brands?

Selling stewed noodles, opening bookstores, environmental protection, new consumer brand theme stores have “tricks”  

A new consumer brand that knows how to play on the Internet and has a lot of “tricks” in building offline theme stores. The concept store of three and a half meals “force flight” , the concept of environmental protection is incorporated into the store design. Looking at the store, several walls are filled with boxed coffee packed in corrugated paper, and tables and stools are also spliced with corrugated paper. The use of this reusable and highly degradable corrugated paper is the same as the intention of the “return plan”, which strengthens the brand’s environmental image.
Both belong to the coffee and tea track. Naixue’s tea broadens the imagination boundary of tea to the reading scene. Naixue recently opened a Naixue bookstore near Tsinghua University. In addition to providing tea, coffee, baking and snacks, the store also has thousands of books for consumers to read for free.
Honey Snow Ice City, which has become popular on the Internet by virtue of brainwashing Divine Comedy, has recently become popular because of the newly opened Snow King Castle experience store. Honey snow ice city not only sells fried buns in the store, but also brings Henan specialty stewed noodles and steamed buns into new products, launching “coconut milk stewed noodles” and “steamed buns ice cream” The idea of making staple foods into desserts is very eye-catching and has brought a lot of social media traffic to the brand.
As a upstart in the beauty track industry, harmay Huamei has laid out an offline theme store as early as 2017. With a unique warehousing scene, it gives a confession of “lonely creator”. The recently opened Huamei square in Shanghai is like a love letter to the community. There is a public space for leisure on the first floor, the room design of old Shanghai on the second and third floors, and the “wooden and bamboo clothes drying” on the fourth floor balcony The daily life of the alley… The alley culture of old Shanghai blends with the trend of beauty makeup here to form an unforgettable store style and bring the brand tone of “independence but not isolation” into the user’s mind.
Jiaonei, who has obtained a valuation of 2.5 billion yuan in four years, has always been “running” fast on the home life track, but recently wants to find a place to “rest”. On the eve of national day, jiaonei has set up its first store in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xi’an. Although the visual styles are very different, each “landing plan” Stores display personal clothes in the way of archives to create a space layout with a sense of privacy. Consumers do not need to worry about privacy when purchasing, showing brand temperature and humanistic care.
Not only those mentioned above, new consumer brands such as the high-end trendy glasses brand gene monster, the trendy head player bubble mart, the new retail representative brand Ruixing of domestic coffee, and the new tea drink “top stream” like tea have all opened one or even several theme stores this year. The traffic competition for new consumption has spread offline and evolved into an urban “street war”.

What “ambition” does the theme store of new consumer brands embody in the third space?

According to the definition of American sociologist Odenberg, living space is the first space, workplace is the second space, and informal public gathering places outside living and working places are the third space, such as bars, coffee shops, museums, libraries, parks, etc.
With Starbucks entering mainland China in 1999, the concept of third space was brought into China. Starbucks not only provides coffee, but also provides consumers with social space with the functions of friends’ gathering, business meeting, temporary office, entertainment and leisure by creating a relaxed, free and unrestrained atmosphere.
The theme store, or concept store, is an upgraded third space. By combining a certain concept or culture with retail, it shows the unique value concept and aesthetic proposition of the brand, brings new consumption experience to consumers, and empowers the brand from multiple dimensions——
  •   “Passenger flow harvester” — explore new consumption scenarios and leverage the incremental market
With the arrival of the wave of consumption upgrading, the marketing scenario trend is becoming more and more obvious. Opening offline theme stores for new consumer brands can not only create experiential consumption scenes and quickly gather popularity by relying on the flow advantages of popular business districts, but also actively test new water tracks, develop new consumption scenes and reach a broader consumer group on the basis of the original categories and formats.
For example, good idea hub, the first store recently opened by seesaw with the theme of “day coffee and night wine”, adopts the dual scene operation mode of providing coffee during the day and wine at night, turning the cafe into a trendy gathering place, creating a differentiated store consumption experience, which is more in line with the social scene needs of young people.
There are more “Crazy” players, such as Naixue’s tea, which originally entered the market in the mode of “tea + soft European bag”, and spared no effort in scene development in recent years. Up to now, Naixue has successively launched various store types such as Naixue Wine House, Naixue dream factory, Naixue pro and Naixue book house, combining tea with many new scenes such as night urban drinking, retail, business and reading, helping the brand break through various segments, cover a wider range of consumer groups and bring new profit growth points.
  • “Z generation living place” — dialogue with young groups and establish emotional connection
After being promoted to the main force of the consumer market, generation Z has become an important growth engine of new consumer brands by understanding and meeting the consumer needs and spiritual demands of the new generation of “gold owners”. Generation Z attaches importance to beauty, is willing to pay for love, attaches importance to consumption experience, and puts forward higher requirements for offline consumption and business scenes.
Different from traditional stores that aim to promote sales, theme stores tend to skillfully integrate consumer experience and social space around a theme that fits the brand characteristics or novelty hunting. Or fashionable and avant-garde, or novel and interesting, or personalized theme stores, which just fit the personality characteristics of young groups pursuing fashion, advocating personality and focusing on experience, and build the emotional connection between the brand and users by meeting the needs of “early taste” and social demands.
For example, honey snow ice city moved stewed noodles and steamed buns into drinks, and also opened a new business of selling fried strings. It is poking the psychology of young people who are willing to taste fresh food. After brainwashing Divine Comedy, it once again strengthened the brand image of fun and play. The establishment of pet friendly theme stores in tea loving and Haima body has hit the pain point of young groups traveling with pets everywhere. By creating an exclusive space for cute pets, the audience can obtain a sense of emotional belonging and social conversation, so as to increase the brand popularity.
  •   “Brand value sermon” — differentiate, shape brand value and enhance user loyalty
In the current marketing 3.0 era, the way for brands to impress consumers has changed from appealing to function to meeting spiritual needs and reaching value resonance. The theme store has outstanding advantages in displaying the brand image and transmitting the brand culture and aesthetic proposition. Consumers can perceive the brand image from many aspects such as decoration design, sales category and atmosphere construction, so as to strengthen the brand memory and transform the audience groups with corresponding values into loyal fans of the brand.
For example, the first handmade shop of Xi tea uses various forms such as hand stripping, hand cutting, hand tamping and hand shaking to show the handmade process of many of its classic drinks, and allows consumers to witness the whole production process through the semi open back kitchen space design. At the same time, Xi tea also set up a special area for hand-made tea, which adopts the appropriate traditional brewing method of each tea to restore the original flavor of tea. While intuitively feeling the high quality and freshness of tea, consumers can also understand the spirit of the brand’s pursuit of perfection and the rich connotation of tea culture, so as to enhance their goodwill and trust in the brand.
The banana out of the circle with the “redesigned basic model” also embodies this brand proposition in the “landing plan”. In the experience store on middle Huaihai Road in Shanghai, jiaonei uses columns running through two floors to separate the space in the store, so that consumers can browse and shuttle freely in the store, realize the close combination of people and space with the simplest design, and respond to the brand position of “basic model”. In addition, the ingenious thinking of “reuse” everywhere in the store, such as the transformation of the cut storage box into a display rack, also interprets the brand proposition of “redesign”, allowing consumers to immerse themselves in the brand attitude.
  • “Wave maker of the times” — leading forward-looking values and creating cultural symbols
In addition to the expression of its own brand concept, if the brand wants to win the deep trust of consumers, it also needs to show foresight in social responsibility and value output.
Environmental protection is a topic of concern for many new consumer brands. Xi tea opened an environmental protection theme store last year to create a new tea drinking space of “inspiration regeneration”. All products and appliances provided in the store are made of environmentally friendly and degradable materials. The walls are paved with “artificial stone with 10% recycled small ticket paper” developed by Xi tea. Even the lintel is composed of Xi tea paper straw. The clever thinking of environmental protection in every detail will stir up ripples of thinking about sustainable development in the hearts of consumers.
Rooted in regional culture and even Chinese traditional culture, building urban landmarks and helping cultural inheritance is also a major trend for new consumer brands to build theme stores. For example, chayan Yuese’s “descendants of the dragon” concept store in Wuhan, on the one hand, takes the Chinese dragon as the theme to interpret the contemporary inheritance of the dragon culture; On the other hand, it also retains the authentic Changsha style to achieve the effect of spreading regional culture.
  source: new commercial Lab
Infuse the charismatic cultural elements into the theme store, reducing the cost of discovering and remembering the brand; Immersive local experience can create real social value for the brand. The scene integration of high floor effect can help the brand get through the DTC (direct to consumer) mode, forming a positive closed loop of online drainage, offline feedback and online feedback.
More experimental is the “future retail space” Haus Shanghai of gentle monster. It uses a variety of avant-garde art installations, furniture full of perceptual aesthetics and collage media art in different forms to integrate with commercial space and bring surreal retail space experience. Such theme stores not only interpret the brand’s unique aesthetic proposition and bring consumers a sense of aesthetic pleasure, but also build themselves into urban landmarks and inject new vitality into urban culture.

When new consumption enters the second half, can offline stores go further?

With the increasing peak of traffic dividend, the new consumer industry has transitioned from the era of traffic competition to the era of brand competition. More and more new consumer brands realize that the offline market contains huge market opportunities, and physical stores have insurmountable advantages in shopping scene experience. Force theme stores directly touch consumers and display brand image in a centralized and three-dimensional way, becoming a common choice.
As a space carrier for brand external display, offline theme stores are not only a shortcut to reach consumers and obtain new traffic, but also a supplement to online capabilities, so as to maximize the output of brand values. However, compared with creating new products, the creation of the third space will bring more challenges.
After all, opening a physical store is a “money burning” business. Raw material costs, staff costs, rents, depreciation of fixed assets and other multiple costs will reduce the profit space. Even Naixue, which has 501 stores nationwide, had a net profit of only 0.2% last year. How to control costs and shorten the investment recovery cycle will become a major business focus for new consumer brands to open stores in the future.
If you want to stand out from the offline stores opened together, the brand theme store must also have one or two prominent highlights. For example, the brand itself has a certain topic, such as honey snow ice city and three and a half meals; Or the scene is novel enough and the exploration of space is extreme enough, such as Haus Shanghai of gentle monster; Or it can fully convey the brand values and shape the strong cognition of the brand, such as the landing plan in the banana, the handmade shop that likes tea, etc.
The second half of new consumption has come, and there is no shortcut for the brand. Any marketing method, including theme stores, will not be a “panacea”. Only by adhering to the long-term principle, starting with the shaping of brand value, constantly polishing products and exploring new possibilities can we ensure that the brand has sustained vitality and realize the leap from “online popularity” to “evergreen”.
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