China Food

Affordable ice cream is still king


“ 
“assassins” are just appearances.
 ”
“You say cheap ice cream is getting harder and harder to find. I don’t agree.”
Hearing the story that “ice cream assassins” are rampant and affordable ice cream is increasingly difficult to find, dealer Ma Yanlong quickly said this. His company has about 4000 retail outlets in the northeast, but among all retail outlets, less than 10% sell high-priced ice cream. “The ability of ordinary people to accept is very poor.”.
Most of the ice cream in the snack bar is still based on our common low-priced ice cream. Photographer / Li Xuexue
Not only in the northeast, but also in the southern market, which has stronger consumption capacity. When Ma Yanlong visited many cities in the south, he found that the shops mainly operated on the so-called “currency” in the market, that is, the medium and low-end conventional products.
Even in Shanghai, affordable ice cream is still the king. Boss Zheng’s shop is in a bustling business district near Lujiazui, the financial center. Here, the most popular and purchased ice cream is the ice cream with less than ten yuan, “the one with one yuan sells best”. The most expensive Zhong Xuegao and Baxi stayed in the corner of the freezer, and they could only sell about 10 pieces a day.
In real life, low-priced ice cream below 5 yuan still occupies the mainstream of ice cream. According to a survey data of the full micro number Laboratory of the cargo circle in 2020, the purchase rate of ice cream with purchase price of 1 yuan to 3 yuan in the snack bar is 90%, accounting for the highest proportion, and those with purchase price of less than 1 Yuan account for 67%. According to a statistical data of Nandu caiwan agency in July, the proportion of online and offline channels of ice cream with retail price below 5 yuan reached 64.5%. This seems to be quite different from the rampant theory of the disappearance of affordable ice cream.
In the narrative of the “ice cream assassins” one month ago, the public has played up the anxiety that “ice cream is becoming more and more expensive” and “there is no cheap ice cream”. “High profit rate of high-priced ice cream – low-priced ice cream is expelled from the freezer” seems to be the necessary logic when talking about the price rise of ice cream.
However, facts have proved that although high-priced ice cream is highly profitable, the most favorite of the snack bar is still low-priced ice cream.
The reason is simple: Although the high price ice cream has a high profit, it sells slowly.
Ma Yanlong said that the experience of most grocery store owners is that “products with more than three yuan can not be sold.”. The canteen has limited resources and stores, so it needs to choose relatively cheap and marketable products: green mood, casual and adorable – “no introduction, no promotion.” The gross profit of a single root is not necessarily high, but it is enough insurance.
Attacking convenience stores and disappearing grocery stores
Since most of the bosses still prefer cheap ice cream, in which scenes are the impression that “ice cream with less than five yuan is hard to find” constructed in our mind?
There are two key words: chain convenience stores and young people.
The origin of the topic of “ice cream Assassin” is xiaohongshu, and half of the “stabbed places” are convenience stores. The initial discussion group is mainly young people aged 18-28… It is not difficult to see that,
Until the “ice cream Assassin” stabbed the story. All of us find that the young people in 2022 are not very different from those in other times. It is separated from the scene carefully constructed by social media and falls into specific retail terminals. Most of the time, people choose to pick up the cheaper one.
In fact, even in Shanghai, mom and pop stores and small shops are the mainstream, but small shops will not appear in our attention circle. Sometimes, it is not necessarily that we really can’t find the affordable ice cream, but the new consumption scene is so impressive that it occupies most of the public opinion scenes that we have wiped out the affordable ice cream from our inherent impression.
It is not so much the price rise of ice cream as the rise and fall of the traditional mom and pop retail terminal and the convenience store retail terminal in people’s cognitive mind.
Why don’t convenience stores sell cheap ice cream?
With the temporary amnesia of the grocery store in our cognition, it is replaced by those fresh, interesting and relatively high-priced products displayed on the convenience stores and shelves.
Although the profit is high, such products are not so easy to sell.
In a core residential area of Xuhui, Shanghai, convenience stores and grocery stores face each other across the street corner. The grocery store is not small in area, facing the street on both sides, and three freezers are arranged in a row. From 7:00 to 10:00 in the evening is the best time for walking in summer. The freezer is constantly opened, and the adorable and green mood are taken out one by one. On the left side of the freezer, Menglong, Baxi and xujihuan are obviously more desolate. “Few people buy more than 8 pieces of ice cream”, the cashier is too busy to turn back.
There is also a freezer in the family convenience store diagonally opposite the grocery store. There are 24 kinds of ice cream in it, with an average unit price of 12.2 yuan.
A refrigerator in a family convenience store in Shanghai. Photographer / Li Xuexue
The clerk said that the $4.8 Hong Baolai is the best-selling product in the freezer and the cheapest ice cream in the store.
“The cheap ice cream sold so well across the street, why don’t you buy more cheap ones to improve the turnover rate?”
“We just buy according to the order”, the clerk’s reply was only a few words.
“Purchase according to order” means that compared with the pure manual purchase of the retail department, the selection of convenience stores has to go through more layers of long channels, and the number of chains, regions and brands involved is not the same level as that of the retail department. Every SKU of the convenience store is expanded under strict calculation.
The business logic of the canteen is simple enough: the low-priced products with small profits and quick sales account for the majority. While ensuring small profits and quick sales, buy an appropriate amount of high-priced ice cream to provide more profits. If the popularity of ice cream with more than 10 yuan is not so high, it may be considered unsafe and occupy the resources of the freezer.
The logic of the chain convenience store is completely different from that of the grocery store: behind the convenience store is a complete and complex modern retail system. Convenience stores need to fight against the refined management of shelves and the ultimate pursuit of floor efficiency
Consumers in the sinking market are not stingy. In the northeast, Maotai ice cream sells very well, but it is difficult to get the goods. A cup of ice cream for 99 yuan to 138 yuan usually sells up to 1581 cups. Ma Yanlong bought several batches from the outside on behalf of him. “I got several hundred boxes, but basically I didn’t get home.”
Maotai ice cream which has been fried to high price recently. Source: Taobao
However, the sales volume of high-end products distributed by Ma Yanlong in Harbin, the provincial capital, only accounts for 1 / 3 of the total sales volume. The main consumers of high-end products are mainly from prefecture level cities: “there are many rich people in prefecture level cities, and there are no local stores selling high-end products.” Young people in small towns are happy to buy high-priced ice cream, which is his impression of the sinking market.
It has long been the consensus of everyone to explore the rich ore in the sinking market. Low line markets and community stores have also become the main battlefields for convenience stores. In 2019, the proportion of community convenience stores was 30.4%; By 2020, this figure has increased to 52.7%.
Figure source: China Chain Management Association and KPMG: China convenience store development report in 2021
But in many cases, the dislocation between people and the field is inevitable.
Ma Yanlong’s stores are mainly located near relatively high-end residential areas, closer to the targeted customers. His shop mainly focuses on the active purchase of “people looking for goods”, so there are no “stabbed” customers. However, for most convenience stores that are located in the community, customers who insist on “buying a cheap ice cream to quench their thirst” often account for the majority. There are many potential consumers, but how to accurately find these consumers is a difficult problem.
If we say that the friction brought by location selection is an inevitable road for convenience stores in the process of sinking; In order to seize the market, the “mismatch” of the brand in choosing the terminal type is too radical.
When talking about Zhong Xuegao, some practitioners said, “no matter what kind of outlets are suitable for sale or not, Zhong Xuegao will put in freezers to promote products.” By making great efforts to make profits for the stores and increasing the display expenses and electricity subsidies for the end retailers, Zhong Xuegao can occupy a place in the freezer. As a result, no matter whether it was a convenience store or a small shop, they all crowded into Zhong Xuegao. The brand has been exposed enough and the market has expanded; But there are also more consumers who do not buy. Through deliberate and even some coercive methods, the “goods and people” will be backfired by both the terminal and the brand to some extent.
Convenience is one of the core meanings of convenience stores. There is a cruel saying: when you give up Zhong Xuegao in the downstairs convenience store for cheap ice cream one kilometer away, it means that you are not the target customer of the convenience store. People who want to buy will eventually buy it. If they don’t sell it to you, convenience stores can sell it to others. This story, in turn, illustrates the importance of accurate customer positioning.
Summer is coming to an end, and the story of high priced ice cream seems to have been scattered. A month ago, four out of five guests who accosted the owner of the snack bar would mention the story of “ice cream Assassin”; Now, most stores have
Affordable ice cream is still king
平价雪糕甚至难以挤进便利店的冰柜。有便利店从业者提及,雪糕想要进入便利店的冰柜,需要提供进场费、条码费、陈列费。《经济观察报》的报道指出,想要进入便利店,经销商需要为一个条码支付500元-1000元不等的费用。
小小的一平米冰柜,里面的每一个格子;冰柜上贴着看似并不起眼的宣传物料,品牌露出的每一个角落,都经历了层层设计与看不见的人力、资本投入,乃至雪糕品牌之间、品牌与渠道之间的角力。庞大的成本支出和变化多端的营销方式,让便宜的雪糕无法进入便利店冰柜的战场。
下沉之路:渠道错配?
如果能把对应价格的产品精准卖给目标用户,很大程度上能够避免“雪糕刺客”的出现。
在马彦龙的雪糕专营店,低价产品主要起到引流的作用。店里的产品分成几段:30%的常规低价产品雪糕,用来引流;40%的差异性产品,单价稍微高一些,主打“不常见”。剩下的20%-30%,则是进口产品、网红产品,用来拉动店内的利润。
被低价雪糕吸引的顾客们到了店里,“一个屋子百八十个平方,摆几十个冰柜,全是雪糕,顾客可能认识的只是20%-30%左右,别的产品他们都没有见过。”在这样的场景下,顾客通常乐意主动掏腰包。
下沉市场的消费者并不吝啬。在东北,茅台冰淇淋卖得非常好,但是货很难拿到。平常99元-138元一杯的冰淇淋,最高卖到一百五十八一杯。马彦龙从外面代购了几批,“弄了几百箱,基本上到家就没。”
最近被炒至高价的茅台冰淇淋。图源:淘宝
不过,马彦龙经销的高端产品在省会哈尔滨的销量只能占总销量的1/3,高端产品的主要消费者基本来自地级市:“地级市有很多有钱人,而且当地没有卖高端产品的店。”小县城的年轻人乐于买高价雪糕,是他对下沉市场的印象。
挖掘下沉市场的富矿,早已成为大家的共识。低线市场、社区门店,也成为便利店发力的主要战场。2019年,社区型便利店的占比为30.4%;到了2020年,这一数字增加到了52.7%。
图源:中国连锁经营协会、毕马威:《2021年中国便利店发展报告》
但很多时候,人与场的错位往往不可避免。
马彦龙的店铺主要开在相对高档的小区附近,离定位的目标客群更近。他的店铺以“人找货”的主动购买为主,因此并未出现“被刺中”的顾客。不过,对大部分开在社区的便利店而言,秉持“买一根解渴的便宜雪糕”的客人,往往占了大多数。有潜力的消费者不少,但如何精准找到这批消费者,则是个难题。
如果说区位选择带来的摩擦,是便利店在下沉过程中不可避免的道路;那么品牌为了抢占市场,在选择进入终端类型时的“错配”,则显得过于激进。
有从业者谈及钟薛高时表示,“不管是什么样的、适不适合卖的网点,钟薛高都会去投放冰柜,去推销产品。”通过大力度给店家让利,为终端零售商加大陈列费用和电费补贴,让钟薛高占据冰柜里的一席之地。于是,不管是便利店还是小卖部,都挤进了钟薛高。品牌露出足够多、市场面也变大了;但不买账的消费者也变多了。通过刻意甚至有些强制的方式,进行“货找人”,无论是终端还是品牌,都会遭到某种程度的反噬。
便捷性是便利店的核心要义之一。有一种很残酷的说法:当你为了一公里外的便宜雪糕放弃了楼下便利店的钟薛高,说明你不是便利店的目标客户。要买的人终究会买,不卖给你,便利店可以卖给别人。这个故事,也反过来说明了精准进行客群定位的重要性。
夏天即将过去,高价雪糕的故事似乎已经散去不少。一个月前,和小卖部老板搭讪的客人,五个有四个都会提起“雪糕刺客”的故事;现在,大部分店里都已经贴上了价签,有的客人会弯腰,凑近看看价格,再打开冰柜。不过,贴价签终究不是问题的解法。品牌与渠道端如何做好匹配,还有很长的路;作为消费者,能做到的有一点:想吃便宜雪糕,记得去家楼下的小卖部。
者:李雪雪;来源:半熟财经(ID:Banshu-Caijing),转载已获得授权。
转载授权及媒体商务合作:Amy(微信号:13701559246);
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