In-depth topic Convenience stores recover with takeaway: physical retail model needs more digital innovation

  Zhao Jiang

  According to the People's Daily, in recent years, with the continuous advancement of the construction of my country's commercial and trade circulation system, the terminal distribution has also continued to innovate and optimize. In the process of accelerating the integration and development of online and offline consumption, a new model of instant distribution has been born, bringing consumers New Experience.

  Instant delivery is a retail service method in which consumers place an order through an online trading platform, and offline physical retailers receive the order online and execute the delivery.

In general, instant delivery can complete the entire process from user ordering to picking and packaging to product delivery within 30 to 60 minutes.

  Instant retailing, from catering to grocery delivery, is behind the need to ensure people's livelihood and supply caused by epidemic prevention and control.

In the past six months, due to the impact of the Omikron epidemic, many cities have begun to control the flow of people in public places.

In this context, people's immediate needs for rice, noodles, grain, oil, etc. that could have been solved through community supermarkets have become difficult to reach.

At the same time, various small and medium-sized supermarkets also encountered cash flow crisis due to the disconnection of the normal connection with customers.

Driven by the demand and supply side, the instant retail model of "local stores + takeaway delivery" came into being. After the epidemic control was gradually lifted, this model has gradually become one of the important ways for physical stores to expand sales.

  According to data from the Meituan platform, from January to May this year, the online orders of various physical retail stores such as supermarkets and department stores increased by 70%, and the online order volume of community department stores in the first half of June increased by about 45% year-on-year.

From the perspective of consumers, instant retail has helped China's mature brick-and-mortar retail stores to form a regional scale effect and achieve "close proximity".

This is an important reason why instant retail can take root in China and become popular.

  "Nearby convenience" is a concept put forward by Toshifumi Suzuki, founder of 7-Eleven, a well-known convenience store in Japan. Born and stimulated by this concept, Japan has formed a very prosperous 15-minute life circle.

From the perspective of promoting consumption, the 15-minute convenient life circle plays an important role in promoting the local people's livelihood economy.

  In July 2021, 11 departments, including the General Office of the Ministry of Commerce, the General Office of the National Development and Reform Commission, and the General Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation, issued the "Guidelines for the Construction of a Fifteen-Hour Convenience Living Circle in the City", which proposed that "the overall consideration of online businesses such as local e-commerce and instant delivery should be taken into consideration. The development level should be coordinated with the configuration of physical stores and the development of online commerce.” At present, instant retail is an important case of the coordinated development of physical stores and online commerce.

Takeaway delivery as an urban infrastructure has expanded its coverage from fresh vegetables, bread and beverages to categories such as electronic products, daily cosmetics and cosmetics, and the time distance between consumers and products has narrowed to a cup of tea.

In the shorter and shorter time and space distances, more viscous and more lasting economic potential is brewing.

  Unlike Japan and other countries, China's community convenience stores and other formats are still the basic way of making a living for ordinary people, and there is no situation in which convenience store giants dominate the world.

Ordinary community department stores are relatively weak in capital and technology. Therefore, it is difficult for China to develop a "15-minute life circle" by taking the route of capitalization and intensification. On the contrary, using instant retail, e-commerce and other means to expand the scope of business services has become a more Real-world digital innovation.

  The convenience store case cited in the above-mentioned People’s Daily report shows that during the epidemic, the convenience store turned traffic into sales by launching a takeaway platform, and unexpectedly expanded the scope of its business services.

It is conceivable that if decentralized and atomized convenience stores in urban areas form a retail network of urban living circles through instant retailing, there will inevitably be a new round of growth in urban consumer demand.

  With the steady recovery of the real economy, the deep value of instant retail still needs to be further explored.

As the first new consumption model in the field of digital retail that resonates between offline and online, instant retailing is rooted in the mature ecology of China's real economy, realizing the simultaneous prosperity of online and offline, and the integration and innovation of digital economy and real economy in the future. will be more vigorous.