Retail companies have entered the game one after another, and the "track" has entered a period of acceleration

The time has come for membership-based warehouse supermarkets

  The time has come for membership-based warehouse supermarkets.

On October 15th, Carrefour China opened its first member store to the public and announced that it plans to upgrade 100 of the 200 hypermarkets to member stores with a paid membership system in the next three years.

Previously, on September 26, Sam's Club (a membership-based warehouse supermarket owned by Wal-Mart) opened its first flagship store in Shanghai, and the scene was extremely popular.

  In fact, membership-based warehouse supermarkets are not considered a new retail format, but in the past year they have suddenly become "sweet and delicious" and become a field for major retail companies to compete for the first place.

Old brands such as Sam's Club, Metro, and Costco have accelerated their pace of expansion. Carrefour, Hema, and Yonghui Supermarkets have also announced their entry into this field.

Retail companies are rushing into the game

  "I like this kind of large warehouse supermarket. Although there is a membership fee, the price is cheap and there are many exclusive products that are not available in other supermarkets. It is also more convenient to return and exchange." On October 16, I was shopping at the Yizhuang Sam Club in Beijing. Ms. Sun said.

  The so-called membership-based warehouse supermarket is a retail format that integrates merchandise sales and merchandise storage in one space. Consumers need to pay a certain membership fee to be eligible to enter the supermarket for shopping and enjoy preferential prices.

The supermarket accurately selects products and provides high-quality and low-cost products with fewer SKUs (stock-keeping units).

  In fact, membership-based warehouse supermarkets have entered the domestic market for 25 years.

In 1996, the first store of Sam's Club opened in Futian, Shenzhen, marking the beginning of the first truly membership-based supermarket in China.

By September 2021, Sam has opened 34 stores in China.

  Costco, the old rival of Sam's Club, entered China in 2019. When the first store opened in Shanghai, it was restricted by too many customers to shop, which caused a sensation.

  Costco became an instant hit, and domestic membership-based warehouse supermarkets set off a climax of opening.

Sam expects that by the end of 2022 there will be 40 to 45 stores open or under construction.

Following the opening of its first store in Shanghai, Costco has successively deployed 7 projects in 6 cities including Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Nanjing.

  On October 1, 2020, the Hema X member store opened, becoming the first Chinese brand in the warehouse-style membership track.

Hou Yi, President of Hema, once stated that 10 new X member stores will be opened in 2021.

In 2020, the "Metro PLUS" membership program will be launched in 25 cities in China.

New brands such as Carrefour, Yonghui, Hualian and other supermarket chains, as well as Fudi member stores, have also opened membership-based warehousing businesses one after another.

According to the data from Tianyan Check, there are currently nearly 26,000 related enterprises in China's warehouse-style supermarkets.

Highlight "Member Value"

  What is the appeal of such a supermarket that pays a membership fee before entering the door?

  If you like to watch short videos, you will surely find that many food video bloggers have visited Sam's Club for some time.

"The shopping space is relatively large, and most of the products are in large packages." "There are fewer categories, and shopping is simple and clear. Don't compare and compare." "Beef rolls, roast chicken, durian mille cake, mochi, Swiss rolls and other popular products are good. It’s cheaper to eat."

  The characteristics summarized by these video bloggers are undoubtedly also the feelings of most consumers.

The industry generally believes that membership-based warehouse supermarkets rely on "magic weapons" such as reducing product categories, controlling costs, lowering prices, and focusing on exclusive and explosive products to attract consumers.

Taking Sam's Club as an example, public data shows that the current SKU of Sam's Club is only 4000~6000.

Low SKU guarantees product "selection" and improves product quality.

At the same time, Sam’s procurement model is direct sourcing and direct supply, with more initiative and space for bargaining, which reduces product prices.

  In addition, the real target customer group of membership-based warehouse supermarkets is the middle class in first- and second-tier cities, in other words, people who have certain spending power and pursue quality of life.

Consumers are willing to buy membership cards when they are satisfied with the cost and service.

  Constantly highlighting the "member value" has further enhanced consumer stickiness and increased the repurchase rate.

The membership fee has become an important source of income for membership-based warehouse supermarkets.

  Public data shows that Sam has more than 3 million members in China, and the card renewal rate has reached more than 80%. The income from membership fees alone can bring annual profits of more than 780 million yuan for Sam's Club.

Costco’s first store opened in just 37 days, and it “acquired” 200,000 members, with membership fee income of nearly 60 million yuan.

Metro PLUS paid membership is 199 yuan/year.

At present, there are nearly 2 million paying members, and more than 60% of Metro's retail sales come from paying members.

Good service can win the competition

  In fact, behind the unique operating logic and rapid popularity of membership-based warehouse supermarkets, the sword refers to consumption upgrades.

With the improvement of China's economic level, middle- and high-end income families have gradually formed a scale, and the demand for consumption upgrades is getting higher and higher.

  Secondly, due to the influence of community group buying and fresh food e-commerce, traditional retail supermarkets dominated by hypermarkets have generally seen a sharp decline in sales, and there is an urgent need to seek breakthroughs and find new growth points.

Faced with the increasingly mature market opportunities of membership-based warehouse supermarkets, retail giants have no reason not to try to get a share of the pie.

  However, with the increase of competitors, the goods and services provided by member stores also show varying degrees of homogeneity.

The cookie-cutter whole roast chicken, the Swiss rolls that frequently hit the face, the more familiar beef rolls, mochi, cakes, imported steaks, private-brand milk, etc., these popular items cultivated by Sam are now It has almost become the standard configuration of various membership-based warehouse supermarkets.

  Industry experts believe that the "track" of membership-based warehouse supermarkets has entered a period of speed-up, and there will be more and more competitors in the future. low cost.

Doing these "invisible" services well will bring membership cards, and understanding consumers will win the competition.

  Our reporter Yang Ranran

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