36氪 First Release丨“Crooked Coffee” completed the Pre-A round of financing, and tasted coffee entered the sinking beverage market

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Image source @Visual China

Image source @Visual China

Note from Titanium Media: This article is from the WeChat public account IT Times (ID: vittimes), author | Fan Xinru, and published by Titanium Media with permission.

The workers in the magic capital have resumed work, and the fireworks in the city are mixed with the smell of coffee.

Showing the first cup of coffee after returning to work in the WeChat Moments, checking in the latest promotions of the coffee shop in Xiaohongshu… As a city with the largest number of coffee shops in the world, the life of Shanghai people is inseparable from coffee.

Data shows that coffee has become the most talked about drink in Shanghai unsurprisingly since Shanghai people resumed their normal work and life. Dianping data shows that during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, Shanghai Coffee’s online group purchase orders rose by 433%. At the same time, at Vipshop, the sales of coffee brands such as Sumidagawa and G7 increased by about 300% year-on-year.

The first week of the coffee shop’s return, what happened to the once-hot coffee community group buying? What impact do they have on coffee brands? How do the coffee shops on the street get back their former atmosphere?

Quiet in the group buying group

From 0:00 on June 1, the streets of Shanghai began to become lively, and the shops along the streets gradually resumed business. In comparison, Xiao Zhu (pseudonym) found that the group buying group in the community had become deserted.

“There is still movement in the group, but the main discussion is about the epidemic situation, and there is basically no group buying.”

In mid-April, Xiao Zhu once bought Manner’s hanging ear coffee in the group. At that time, it was the time when the Shanghai coffee community group buying was booming. Whether it is a global chain coffee shop brand or a small shop focusing on specialty coffee, they have launched their own community group buying. There are more than 20 coffee brands that can be called by name alone.

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“Coffee troupe” begins with interest. At first, a coffee lover posted information on coffee group purchases in the group, and later became the “group leader” himself. Although there is still stock at home, but seeing the group buying, Xiao Zhu still couldn’t help hoarding some hanging ears. When the coffee group buying is the most popular, there are 2-3 bean groups, hanging ear groups, freeze-dried groups, and all kinds of coffee group buying solitaires a day. In order to meet the needs of some people to make different varieties of coffee, the group has also opened “coffee derivative groups” – fresh milk group, coconut milk group.

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What surprised Xiao Zhu was that in the group, there were also some old people besides young people like her. “Most young people are hanging ears and beans.” Xiao Zhu observed, “middle-aged and elderly people mainly group instant coffee.”

Such a scene has basically disappeared by mid-May. At that time, in the community group where Xiao Zhu belonged, there were still some group purchases of vegetables and fruits, but no one was interested in group purchases of coffee.

Most of the group leaders are young people, and they have started to resume work. The more important reason is that the options for community group purchases are very limited.

“If it wasn’t for the situation at the time, I wouldn’t want to be bound by any ‘group purchase’.” Xiao Zhu said, “Let’s not talk about radishes and vegetables, individual differences in taste, just when it comes to choosing products for group purchase, the collective discussion is very difficult. waste time.”

Coffee brands eye private domain traffic

Although the popularity of coffee group buying has continued to decline in many community groups, coffee brands have not closed the channel for community group buying. With the recovery of logistics, the threshold for community group purchases of coffee brands has dropped.

The customer service of New Hope Shuangfeng Dairy told the “IT Times” reporter that today, community group purchases of more than 1,000 yuan can be delivered for free, and during the epidemic, the starting delivery fee is about 4 times the current price. Kashuo customer service told reporters that now there is no limit to the quantity of group purchases, even if there are only 2 pieces, you can place an order, the difference is only in the logistics is flash delivery or express delivery. The original set of 20 or more of the original coffee solution can now be shipped with 10 or more, and you can enjoy additional discounts.

Not only that, compared to the single product portfolio during the epidemic, consumers can now customize group-buying products according to their own preferences, and invite community residents to buy and join the group by sharing links.

For coffee brands, when the popularity of community group buying dissipates, these sales channels specially constructed for community group buying are losing their uniqueness. But for some coffee companies in Shanghai, it is not nothing.

Wu Xiaomei, CEO of Seesaw Coffee, saw another possibility in the coffee industry. In an interview with Huxiu, he said that, unlike other companies’ practices, on Seesaw’s applet, the community group purchase function was directly modularized and became one of the relatively fixed functions. In community group buying, consumers can not only buy coffee products, but also directly buy brand peripheral products, such as canvas bags and cups. Community group buying is now not only a sales channel, but also a new medium for brands to reach customers.

In the specific operation, Seesaw deposited a large number of users into private domain traffic through multiple official public accounts. In these private WeChat groups, users’ complaints and feelings will be directly seen by the staff in the group, and will quickly evolve into “solutions” on the product or service side.

In Wu Xiaomei’s view, with the popularity of “coffee group buying” in Shanghai, the value of private domains with “enterprise WeChat” as the key port is being re-examined. And this may herald a new future for the coffee industry, and the private domain of corporate WeChat will become the first or unique release channel for new products.

Coffee shop waiting for business to pick up

When coffee brands turn their attention to private domain traffic, the coffee shop owners who occupy half of Shanghai coffee shops are still waiting for the opening of “dine-in”.

“At present, it has recovered about 50%.” Molly, the owner of Shanghai Wo Slow Coffee Shop, told the “IT Times” reporter that since the reopening of business on June 1, the daily order volume of the store has been around 50 cups. Dine-in is still not allowed in most parts of Shanghai, and the turnover of the store has also been affected to a certain extent.

“It’s hot now, and not being able to dine in has a big impact. If it rains, it will be worse,” Molly said.

The owner of Qingpu Fan+ coffee shop Yifan is also troubled by this. As it is close to an elementary school and the surrounding residential areas are relatively dense, the customers of Fan+ Coffee Shop mainly come from parents who pick up and drop off their children and residents of surrounding communities. When he first selected the site, he thought about using the time when parents pick up their children in the morning and evening to do two waves of business. But at present, the primary school has not resumed school, and the store cannot dine in. Although there was a “buy one get one free” event when it opened, the situation in the store is less than 1/3 of what it was before the epidemic.

Although both Molly and Yifan have opened takeaway services, because the cost of small stores is higher than that of chain coffee brands, the discounts they can give are less, and the price of small stores has no advantage, and the increase in store sales is not large.

“Recently, a lot of people have called the store to ask if dine-in has resumed.” In Yifan’s view, the biggest difference from the milk tea shop and other shops that prefer online consumption is that consumers in coffee shops are more willing to Shop for consumption. “Coffee itself is all about communication,” he said. “If you can’t dine in, you’re going to lose a lot of customers.”

Even though Yifan had been prepared for not being able to pay for the first year before opening the store, the reality still made him a little frustrated. “The decoration of the store has only lasted 3 months. It has only been opened for 2 months, and then encountered the epidemic for 2 months, which means that most of the time has been lost.” Moreover, compared with some chain coffee brands, the coffee shop has a long history. Due to the lack of an independent supply chain and the inability to apply for supply guarantee companies, most small stores cannot choose to go back and forth through “community group purchases” like chain stores, and can only “lie down”. This also means that all losses during the epidemic have to be borne by the shop owner alone.

Nonetheless, Yifan is still preparing to plan some offline activities in the next few months to enrich the variety of beans in the store, and use this method to attract consumers to the store and make up for the losses caused by the epidemic as much as possible. Where to go, wait until the full year to see.” He said.

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