The traditional model of home stores encounters difficulties and e-commerce brings business opportunities

After the collapse of last year, many home retailers have “touched the net” this year, hoping to explore new ways through e-commerce channels.

Recently, the world's largest furniture and building materials retailer Debao, international furniture chain retailer Meikemeijia and large home building materials theme shopping center actually home, and announced to settle in Tmall test water and electricity business, this is after the home appliances, department stores, business super industry For the first time, home improvement retail enterprises have “touched the net”.

In fact, before this, furniture manufacturers represented by Qumei Furniture, Elvis Furniture, and Meiyijia Furniture had opened up e-commerce channels and achieved initial results. According to reports, Red Star Macalline’s e-commerce platform “Hongmei Mall” will also be launched in the near future.

Can e-commerce really become a lifeline for the home market?

In an interview with an international business newspaper, Zhang Rui, an analyst at iResearch, believes that the entry of home retailers into e-commerce is a way and means to expand business, which will play a role in the development of the market, but the effect will not be obvious.

Mo Yiqing, an analyst at the China E-Commerce Research Center, also told the International Business Daily that with the popularity of e-commerce, offline home store business will be a trend, but online is a kind of offline In addition, you can't rely entirely on online, because home products have more demand for consumer experience.

In addition, the industry believes that pricing, logistics, etc. have also become a challenge for online home sales.

"Touch the net" to deal with the tide of closure

In 2012, the performance of China's home furnishing stores was not good, and many companies closed their stores. Home Depot, which is stationed in Tmall, is one of them. In September last year, Home Depot announced the closure of all seven home building materials retail stores in China.

After 9 months, Home Depot chose to work with e-commerce. The official flagship store of Home Depot said: "Choose Tmall as a strategic partner to establish the first online flagship store in China, providing Home Debao with a platform directly facing a large consumer group. Tmall provides a lot of support for the home of Depot. Under the general trend of product quality, environmental protection, personalization and higher and higher requirements for pre-sales and after-sales service, Home Depot hopes to cooperate with Tmall to jointly cultivate high-end imported home building materials market."

In Zhang Jing's view, Tmall's user and traffic advantages have become an important reason for home retailers to choose and cooperate with them. She said that in 2012, Tmall's B2C business accounted for more than 50% of the national B2C, "the status and impact are obvious."

Tmall said that its 500 million consumer groups will gather more popularity for home brands. Qian Mingfa, president of Real House, said that he hopes to provide products and services to more consumers through various channels, especially online channels.

Statistics show that the household consumption of first-tier cities has become saturated, and the sales per unit area of ​​home stores are declining. The low-cost, high-yield third-tier cities are increasingly becoming the main front for home sales. E-commerce is becoming a “highway” for the rapid development of traditional home retail. E-commerce has the advantages that traditional marketing channels can't match: low sales cost, precise positioning of target customers, one-to-one marketing, rich and comprehensive information. Not only that, e-commerce can also help home brands to build word of mouth and cultivate a fixed consumer base.

Exploring business models in the challenge

Some industry insiders believe that whether it is for businesses or consumers, home business "touching the net" is a good thing, which can save costs and conform to the trend, which is undoubtedly a big survival rule for the current depressed retail market.

However, some insiders also said that household goods have their own special characteristics. "Touching the net" will lead to many specific problems: First, consumers can't get enough consumer experience online, so they can't accurately grasp the volume and texture of the product. , affecting its decision to make a purchase; secondly, household products have the speciality of large size, difficult transportation, and easy to damage, so the return and exchange is troublesome and costly, especially the logistics cost; again, the household products have higher requirements for logistics and after-sales service. The process is complicated, and it is difficult for enterprises to deal with the relationship between after-sales, logistics and the original channels.

Mo Zhenqing said that online pricing may impact the offline price system. At the same time, e-commerce may have certain requirements on suppliers in terms of price, thus squeezing the profit margin of suppliers and affecting the cooperation between the two parties.

Gong Wenxiang, vice president of Huaqiang North Online, said: “If a home furnishing company wants to successfully expand its online business, it must consider how online marketing can be combined with physical display, and ultimately highlight the core competitiveness of cheaper prices, while protecting the existing price system. Differentiating between online products and offline products is an issue that must be considered when home furnishing companies enter e-commerce."

The online business model of home stores is still in the exploratory stage. Zhang Jing believes that home e-commerce should adopt some promotion methods that are different from offline, such as providing free design and other services.

The industry believes that O2O is the best sales model for the home industry. At present, one of the best cost-effective modes is that the online store and the offline store interact and form a community of interests. The relevant person in charge of Meikemei Home Appliances Co., Ltd. said that Meikemei took Tmall as the first stop of e-commerce test, relying on the e-commerce platform to achieve effective integration of product flow, logistics and customer flow, and explore an "online sales, The offline experience is the road to cross-border transformation.

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