Compared with ordinary stores, brand first stores pay more attention to innovation in consumption scenarios, business models, products and services, which can often bring novel shopping experiences and drive the formation of new consumption growth points. In recent years, Shenzhen's first-store economy has shown a vigorous momentum and has become the "traffic password" of urban development. However, while driving the consumption boom, there are also a number of first stores that have "short-lived" due to poor management. How to make the first store traffic become "retention" and continue to stimulate new consumption momentum? What efforts has Shenzhen made to better serve the landing of the first store and promote the sustainable economic development of the first store?

At a time when consumer demand tends to be personalized and diversified, from trendy brand buyers, home fragrances to outdoor camping, specialty catering, from regional first stores, city first stores to pop-up stores, new concept stores, etc., all kinds of first stores are focusing on improving consumer experience through multi-dimensional innovation such as products, services and business models. The vigorous development of the first-store economy not only reflects the commercial vitality of a city, but also becomes a "traffic password" to promote consumption quality and expansion in various places.

Since February 2022, Shenzhen proposed to accelerate the construction of an international consumer center city, Shenzhen has continued to strengthen the first-store economy and first-launch economy. According to the statistics of Winshang Big Data, in the first half of this year, a total of 2 first stores were opened in Shenzhen's mainstream commercial market. Among them, compared with the same period in 121, the first store in China increased by 2022%, and the first store in South China increased by 25.10%. With the help of the first-store economy, the total retail sales of consumer goods in Shenzhen exceeded 5 billion yuan in the first half of the year, and the vitality of urban consumption continued to increase. To promote the development of the first store economy, what did Shenzhen do right? What are the features and highlights?

Nesting attracts the first store

In July this year, the first store of Galeries Lafayette Lafayette in South China officially opened in Shenzhen Shenye Shangcheng, bringing the first stores of many well-known domestic and foreign brands. The opening of the mall ignited consumer enthusiasm, with a turnover of more than one million yuan on the same day, while Shenye Shangcheng hit a new high, with the overall customer flow exceeding 7,20 person-times and the overall performance exceeding 2000 million yuan.

"We have always had strong confidence in the Chinese market. Shenzhen is a modern and prosperous city, with unique geographical advantages and unlimited urban development potential. It is believed that Galeries Lafayette will open up a new horizon for the brand's journey of exploration in China. Shen Zhijie, CEO of Galeries Lafayette China, told reporters that Galeries Lafayette Shenzhen brings together more than 100 brands, and the first store brands cover international brands, designer brands and so on.

As early as the early days of reform and opening up, Shenzhen was already one of the first store economic origins. In 1990, the first McDonald's restaurant in the mainland officially opened in the Dongmen business district of Luohu District, setting a record for the world's highest single-day turnover in the first weekend of operation, opening the transformation of China's fast food industry. In 1992, the first 7-11 convenience store in the mainland opened in Shenzhen, setting off a wave of convenience store development in China. In 1996, the first Wal-Mart supermarket in the mainland opened, and in the same year, the first Sam's Club store in China landed in Shenzhen.

In recent years, a number of first-time stores with sufficient gold content, high popularity and strong driving force have come to visit. Walking into the major business districts in Shenzhen, the designer collection store Hug's first new concept store has gained a lot of repeat customers, the domestic perfume brand Melt Season's first themed limited-time store "curtain" in China has attracted many consumers to check in, and there is a long queue in front of the first store in South China, a vegetarian restaurant... These new faces and forces have ignited a new spark in Shenzhen's consumer market and injected new momentum into the local economic development.

Why does the first store love Shenzhen? This is their vote of confidence in Shenzhen's business environment, economic development level and business vitality. Especially since 2022, Shenzhen has successively issued a number of policies such as "Several Measures to Accelerate the Construction of an International Consumer Center City" and "Several Measures to Solidly Promote Stable Economic Growth", clearly proposing to strengthen the "first-store economy" and "first-launch economy", support well-known domestic and foreign brands to set up first stores, flagship stores, new concept stores, etc. in Shenzhen, and encourage well-known domestic and foreign brands to launch and launch new products simultaneously in Shenzhen.

In order to further boost consumer confidence and cultivate new consumption momentum, various districts in Shenzhen have also rushed to the first-store economy, giving real money support to commercial and trade service industries, characteristic commercial blocks, and first-store brands. For example, Futian District proposes to give one-time support of no more than 500 million yuan to authorized agents or brand enterprises of the first store in different grades; Nanshan District proposed to accelerate the introduction of the first store of high-end brands, and give incentives and support amounts ranging from 50,300 yuan to 50 million yuan to commercial property operators and first-store brands that introduce the first store; Luohu District proposed to give one-time support of up to 20,100 yuan and <>,<> yuan respectively to newly established national first store and Shenzhen first store brand retail enterprises, and up to <> million yuan subsidy for holding debut activities.

"The city is choosing the first store at the same time, and the first store is also choosing the city, which is a two-way choice." Jia Xinyi, investment director of China Resources Vientiane Life Co., Ltd., Commercial South China Shenzhen Area, said that as a special economic zone, Shenzhen's GDP level and consumption capacity are undoubted, at the same time, Shenzhen's urban tolerance ability is strong, young consumer groups are ahead of their thinking and concepts, and their acceptance of new things is high. For brands, Shenzhen is a good testing ground.

Talking about why she is interested in the Shenzhen market, Ni Lishi, founder of the Melt Season brand of Shiye Brand Management Co., Ltd., said that Shenzhen is not only the forefront of China's economic development, but also has a good business environment, but also has an inclusive and open urban character. There are many young people here, full of vitality, willing to accept young domestic brands, pay for support, and are willing to give product feedback.

With the help of the first-store economy, Shenzhen's consumer market is full of vitality. Statistics show that in the first half of 2023, the total retail sales of consumer goods in Shenzhen were 5000.02 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 11.5%. By type of consumption, retail sales of goods increased by 10.9%, and catering revenue increased by 16.6%. Consumption upgrade commodities maintained rapid growth, among which, the retail sales of communication equipment and cosmetics of units above designated size increased by 22.6% and 11.6% respectively.

New formats have become the main force of the market

In the investigation, the reporter found that the first store of new formats such as special catering, personality trendy brand, and outdoor camping is highly sought after by the market. Especially through continuous innovation in scenes, tastes, experiences and other aspects, special "new catering" is becoming the main force of offline consumption, and has also become a key focus area for the first store in each business district.

In June this year, the vegetarian restaurant Qingchun Pumen opened its first store in South China in Shenzhen. Walking through the misty landscape of the landscape and entering the store under the shade of green bamboo, "fireworks" come to your face. Song Wenwen, store manager of Shenzhen Qingchun Pumen Catering Management Co., Ltd., introduced that in order to create a pleasant dining experience, an open meal preparation area has been created in the store, where diners can not only see the production process of creative Western food, teppanyaki claypot, Sichuan Xiang spicy and other dishes, but also interact with chefs and understand brand culture. Since its opening, the highest daily passenger flow of Qingchun Pumen has approached 6,1400.

If "people's food as the sky" makes "new catering" have a natural consumption gravity, then the rapid rise of new formats such as personalized fashion brands, outdoor camping, and home fragrance highlights the choice preference of the consumer market in the new era. As "Generation Z" has become the mainstream consumer group, its attention to the circle of interest and personalized and trendy consumer demand have brought a new consumption change.

Founded in 2020, the Melt Season brand sees this trend and enters the market with perfume products. "Fragrance is the art of smell, and in recent years, Chinese consumers have paid more and more attention to aesthetic value and artistry, which has brought new opportunities for domestic perfume brands." Ni Lishi told reporters that benefiting from the long-term cultural integration between China and foreign countries, the consumer market in Shenzhen and even South China has a high acceptance of fragrance categories. The opening of Melt Season's first store in South China in Shenzhen will bring greater opportunities for brand development.

Pioneer boutique brand HUG targets the trendy fashion needs of young consumers in Shenzhen. "There are many young people in Shenzhen, strong purchasing power, and their attention to fashion trends and design sense are also very high. This is very much in line with the HUG brand positioning. Wu Shuang, store manager of Shenzhen Haag Culture Communication Co., Ltd. and Hug brand Shenzhen Vientiane Tiandi store, introduced that in order to improve the consumer experience, the store relies on the social marketing model to create experience scenes with social attributes and continue to enhance brand influence.

The popularity of outdoor camping in recent years has also opened up a new world for the economic development of the first store. According to Dianping's data, since 2023, Shenzhen's camping-themed catering merchants have increased by 4 times year-on-year, online group purchase orders have increased by 60 times, and camping-related leisure and play merchants have doubled compared with last year.

Aiming at Shenzhen's vast consumer market, camping equipment brand Noke will land its first store in South China in Luohu District in 2022. "At the beginning of its establishment, Noke was an online brand, mainly engaged in e-commerce channels. Market research has found that young people can often be seen setting up tents for outdoor camping and barbecue in parks and seashores in Shenzhen, and a large part of our online fans are also from Shenzhen. Huang Deyun, a brand agent and a staff member of Shenzhen Yezhi Outdoor Technology Co., Ltd., said that we have brought products from online to offline, creating a more experiential camping scene in the store, so that consumers can see, touch and feel the quality of our products in person.

The reporter's investigation found that various new energy vehicle brand stores are accelerating their entry into major shopping malls in Shenzhen, triggering a new shopping consumption boom. This is especially evident in Shenzhen Shenye Uptown Shopping Center. "At present, seven major new energy vehicle brands have been introduced in the mall, which has become the main force to increase the revenue of the mall, which is a powerful measure to attract male consumers." Zhong Gehui, chairman of Shenye Commercial Management Co., Ltd., said that in recent years, mainland new energy vehicles have been favored by more and more Hong Kong consumers. After the resumption of customs clearance, 35% of the sales of new energy vehicles in the mall came from Hong Kong consumers. At the same time, in line with the general trend of consumption integration between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the mall also provides entertainment consumption services from the dimensions of catering, accommodation and training, creating a new "one-stop" shopping experience for Hong Kong customers.

Enhance product innovation

Generally speaking, the honeymoon period for a new store is often only half a year. While a number of first stores are on fire, there are also many first stores that are "short-lived" due to lack of follow-up. How to stabilize consumption "traffic" and achieve localized long-term sustainable operation is a must-answer question in front of all first stores.

Digging deep into the endogenous needs of consumer groups is a prerequisite for improving the operation capability of the first store. For Ni, "smell is a very personal experience. Aiming at market demand, understanding consumption at a deeper level, and taking product quality as the core are the keys for brands to gain a firm foothold in the market. Different from the Western preference for strong aromas, Chinese consumers prefer a restrained, calm sense of smell. Therefore, in order to highlight the oriental tonality of the brand and enter the high-end consumer market, the company is also continuing to promote product innovation, cultivate and tap domestic perfumers, and create an olfactory aesthetic brand more suitable for Chinese consumers. ”

Introducing new and delicious dishes with high-quality ingredients as the core is the key for F&B brands to stand out from the fierce competition. Based on Lu cuisine, the Xinjing cuisine brand aims at the broad market of Shenzhen fusion cuisine, and brought its first store in South China to Shenzhen in July this year. "Fresh ingredients and quality dishes are fundamental to the restaurant's market presence. At the same time, clarifying consumer demand, clarifying brand positioning, and continuously promoting dish innovation on this basis are the keys to the long-term development of the brand. Deng Haiming, general manager of Shanghai Yongfu Catering Management Co., Ltd. South China, introduced that the integration of tradition and modernity is a major feature of Xinjing cuisine. At the same time, due to the large proportion of Hunan and Chaoshan people in Shenzhen's customer structure, Kakiheyuan also added Sichuan-Hunan spicy dishes, light seasonal vegetables, etc. to the dishes to fully meet the taste needs of diners.

"The quality of service is also about the survival of the brand. We have established a standardized service management system that includes "daily solution", "daily inspection" and "daily improvement". Deng Haiming said that not only that, the restaurant also continues to enhance its brand influence through online marketing, offline drainage and coupons to give consumers the most cost-effective consumer experience. Next, the company will discuss with business circles how to strengthen business drainage and continue to expand consumption coverage.

"Adhering to the standard of 'quality over quantity' and steady development is the core of Galeries Lafayette's layout in China." Shen Zhijie introduced that in the product portfolio of the Shenzhen store, Galeries Lafayette adopts a product portfolio strategy that is more in line with the city's youth, providing consumers with a variety of choices and one-stop convenient shopping experience through a diversified combination of clear category differentiation in the store, cross-brand collection area, independent brand store establishment, and first store settlement. At the same time, it also combines various creative activities to create a French-style theme street, strengthen the interactive shopping experience, and add vitality to Shenzhen's commercial and fashion industries. Next, Galeries Lafayette will focus on the changes in consumer needs and consumption habits, and continue to optimize the service experience.

Open up new consumption scenarios

In the location of the first store, the vast majority of formats still take shopping malls as the first choice. At present, Shenzhen shopping malls are showing a trend of "multi-district blossoming", and the number is growing steadily, which has brought a significant business district agglomeration effect, forming a business pattern of "one city and multiple centers", and also making regional commercial competition tend to be intense. In this context, how to attract and retain consumers is a common issue faced by first-store brands and business districts. Following the differentiated operation concept and realizing the blooming of various new consumption scenarios has become a problem-breaking move in Shenzhen's commercial and consumer industry.

In September last year, Vientiane Restaurant, Shenzhen's first "market-type shopping mall" designed with the concept of "food" and "home", opened in Luohu District. "Offline consumer experience has become a top priority in business services. This experience not only comes from better business services, but also from brand stories with human connotations and more social consumption scenarios. Bai Yuanyuan, general manager of Shenzhen Vientiane Food, told reporters that Vientiane Restaurant is committed to creating a social and experience space of "Happy Food and Happy Residence", and bringing a new consumer perception through the introduction of the first store.

"At present, Vientiane Restaurant has opened 6 first stores in South China and 19 first stores in Shenzhen or Luohu." Bai Yuanyuan introduced that Vientiane Restaurant also extends catering consumption from the C end to the B end, and works with food supply chain brands to combine retail and catering to create a market shopping experience full of fireworks. Since its opening, Vientiane Restaurant has seen a maximum of 8,<> visitors a day.

Located in Longgang District, Shenzhen Yanlord Dream Center has created a commercial complex with openness and inclusiveness, green ecology and humanistic and artistic experience with the theme of ecology, and has attracted many young consumer groups to check in by introducing a number of first stores. Situ Jian, general manager of Shenzhen Yanlord Commercial Management Co., Ltd., introduced that the project is based on the combination of "first store + flagship store", and more than 40% of regional first stores have been introduced. Among them, Yanlord's first self-operated cinema "Yanlord Dream Gallery" settled in Shenzhen, and during the Spring Festival this year, the attendance rate of some VIP theaters reached 100%.

"For first-tier cities, the formation of polycentric business districts is an inevitable trend. To achieve the goal of 'each with its own name', each business district needs to have its own unique highlights. Aiming at trendy consumption, Vientiane Tiandi comprehensively sorted out the portraits of local consumers, and gradually formed a preference for the introduction of first-store categories with high-end beauty, trendy brands, light luxury, and designer brands as the main highlights. Jia Xinyi said.

For the first store that intends to explore a new market, although there is a lot of market research in the early stage, it is still unknown whether consumers will pay after the actual landing. What to do? "Pop-up shop" is the solution idea given by Vientiane World. "Brands entering new markets are often under the pressure of both store rental and unknown markets." Pop-up shops' can provide a short-term place for them to test new markets. Jia Xinyi introduced, "We put forward the concept of scenario-based space operation, opened the 'box' of traditional shopping malls, created a spatial pattern of 'one street, one lane and five squares', and became an incubation place for the trial operation of new brands." After the sales become more stable, the new brand can obtain localized long-term operation capabilities, laying the foundation for later expansion of operations. ”

The Melt Season "curtain" themed limited-time store adopts the typical "pop-up shop" model. "The 'pop-up shop' allows us to better perceive the consumption potential of the local market in Shenzhen. Since the opening of the store, the average monthly sales have exceeded one million yuan, which gives us more confidence to take root in Shenzhen for a long time. At present, the company is looking for a venue for long-term stores, hoping to operate next year. Ni Lishi said.

"At present, the resonance of young people mostly comes from socializing, and the creation of scenes is an extension of socialization. At the same time, local culture is a key point that cannot be ignored in business operations. For Shenzhen, the strong characteristics of scientific and technological innovation have created a rich modern atmosphere of the city. Zhong Gehui said that based on this, Shenye Shangcheng takes "scene to help brands, culture to help consumption" as the core, on the one hand, continue to promote the introduction of the first stores of technology brands such as Sony flagship stores and new energy vehicle brands; On the other hand, we will continue to "create festivals" and "create landscapes" to enhance the social attributes of business districts with a diversified festive atmosphere, attracting more consumers to go out of their homes and participate in offline interactive experiences. Since 2021, Shenye Uptown has held more than 200 events such as Chill Uptown Park and Sky Canvas Art Festival, which not only brought more consumers to the mall, but also strengthened the appeal of the first store brand. Since the beginning of this year, with the acceleration of the introduction of the first store brand, the sales of Shenye Shangcheng have increased by more than 90% year-on-year. (Economic Daily Reporter: Yang Yangteng)