Source: venture capital remittance: Securities Times Zhuo Yong
The word "boom and fall" is no longer appropriate to describe today's unmanned shelves.
According to the National Information Network of Enterprise Bankruptcy Restructuring Cases, on October 30, Shenzhen Small Flash Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Small Flash Technology") applied to the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court of Guangdong Province for bankruptcy liquidation. Creditors of the company must declare their claims to the relevant managers of Small Flash Technology before December 20. This is the fifth unmanned shelf venture enterprise that has been publicly reported this year.
In many people's impression, unmanned shelves in 2017 have been crazily sought after by capital, is simply "red to purple". It has created more than 50 players' inflow and over 3 billion capital myth. But why in one year alone, the unmanned shelves moved from spring to winter? In the era of mobile Internet, what lessons should we reflect on the frustration of unmanned shelves?
Unmanned shelves collapse
According to public data, the company was founded in July 2016. Its predecessor is the "flash car" of the same city express platform. It has received 10 million RMB Pre-A round of financing for horse racing. The main business of flash technology includes "flash + unmanned snack shop", "flash instant" and the original express service. Among them, "flash + unmanned snack shop" is the office unmanned shelf. It is understood that CEO Lin Xiaoyi, a small flash technology company, worked in Ali Alipay. After being difficult to make a copy of the freight version, he decided to transform the company into an unmanned rack.
According to the disclosure at that time of Microsoft Technology, since the project was launched on July 18, 2017, nearly 500 retail shelves have been laid out in Shenzhen. In early November last year, Microsoft Technology announced that it had received 20 million yuan of investment, and a new round of financing totalling tens of millions of yuan was nearly completed, but the investors did not disclose it. Now, however, little flash technology has gone down the altar.
In fact, from the beginning of this year, the "no shelf" seems to be no longer mentioned enthusiasts. "We're not just making shelves without shelves." "We're not looking at startups in this field this year." When it comes to "unmanned shelves", entrepreneurs and investors respond to reporters like this. Reporters visited some office buildings and cinemas and found that almost no one visited the unmanned shelves, which formed a strong contrast with a hot day a year ago.
Starting in 2017, unmanned shelves have become popular rapidly in the east wind of new retail. The crazy influx of capital has made unmanned shelf start-ups springing up like bamboo shoots after a spring rain. According to the White Paper of Unmanned Shelf Industry in 2017, by the end of 2017, the total financing of dozens of unmanned shelf start-ups exceeded 3 billion yuan.
After entering the 2008, unmanned shelves began to fall into a wave of closure. First of all, at the beginning of this year, the unmanned shelf enterprise "GOGO Xiaochao" in Chengdu was blocked. Head players such as Chimpanzee Convenience, Guo Xiaomei and seven koalas have also repeatedly heard negative news about large-scale layoffs, financing failures and evacuation from stores in the city. Since June this year, there has been no more unmanned shelf financing news, the last financing fix in June, the orangutan facilitated the success of the team Ali, the ant golden clothing strategic investment, other old shareholders all follow the investment.
Boom of capital
There were objective reasons for the popularity of unmanned shelves at that time. The increasing cost of online traffic was one of the important reasons why unmanned shelves and so-called "new retail" were sought after by investment institutions and entrepreneurs. However, the original mode of unmanned shelves is still better than its own advantages. The reporter summed up several reasons for the unpopular shelves:
First, the cost of laying on unmanned shelves is low. When unmanned shelves were just rising, most of the point laying was free, even if the fee was only about 1000 yuan, which laid the foundation for the rapid expansion of unmanned shelves, and the key to the success of this business model is exactly the size of the market.
Secondly, the unmanned shelves really satisfy some people's needs. The main use scenarios of unmanned shelves are office buildings and office areas, where young people gather. For white-collar workers who spend most of the day in the office, there is a natural demand for snacks and drinks. Unmanned shelves provide them with a convenient access to snacks. This is the key to the outbreak of unmanned shelves in a short time.
Third, there is a lot of imagination in the flow of unmanned shelves. For capital, the possibility of transformation under line is the biggest expectation. If unmanned shelves can absorb traffic well, advertisers, promotions and so on will soon find their doors. In addition to the daily cash flow, unmanned shelves can also have a good advertising revenue, which should be the most important thing for capital.
Although unmanned shelves seem to have many reasons to support the model, the real booster is capital. In the past year, investors like IDG Capital, True Fund, Jingwei Venture Capital, GGGV Jiyuan Capital, Yunqi Capital, Yingnuo Angel, Yuanjuan Capital, Blue Lake Capital, Guiyang Venture Capital and so on have made a lot of bets. Even Lanchi Venture Capital spent only a week and a half from meeting to investing in Xiaomei. Shops and other projects have been over 100 million single financing.
Operation and supply chain absence is a fatal blow.
From many cases in the past, it can be concluded that some companies and some industries are "propped up" by capital, and unmanned shelves are no exception. With the rapid expansion of capital, many enterprises only focus on expanding market scale, ignoring their own operating conditions and profitability. However, profit driven capital needs to be seen in real data. Only a simple number of outlets is not enough. In the blind expansion, the operating costs of many enterprises far exceed the actual capacity, and ultimately only lead to the accelerated decline of the industry. This is also an important reason why the industry has changed from prosperity to decline.
If the capital factor is omitted, the unmanned shelf mode itself has some unavoidable disadvantages. First, unmanned shelves have uncontrollable high cargo loss rate, said Fu Fu, a researcher at Suning Financial Research Institute. Because of the lack of effective supervision, the consumption based on unmanned shelves can be said to be entirely self-conscious. According to public information, the damage rate of unmanned shelves is generally more than 10%, some even as high as 60%. Not only consumers but also distributors are involved in malicious ticket evasion and theft. Too low mistakes and illegal costs make unmanned shelving all the time.
Besides, the consumption experience of unmanned shelves is not good. From the consumer's point of view, unmanned shelves are limited by the specific space capacity, the expandable SKU is limited, and the quality of goods is difficult to guarantee. In addition, the product updates are not timely enough to provide consumers with complete commodity choices at the same time, only limited to small items such as eating and drinking. In the "no one" state, consumers can hardly feel too much high-quality experience in the shopping process.
Moreover, the unmanned shelves ultimately test the operation and supply chain. On the surface, the threshold is very low, but it is difficult to operate them. The problem with unmanned shelves in this respect is that, first, the warehousing network can not keep up with the rapid expansion; second, there are still other high costs outside the warehouse. One of the costs is the point fee. It is known that the point fee has increased from 500 yuan to 5000 yuan since the unmanned shelf became popular. According to the data released by Trustdata in August this year, the total number of unmanned shelves in China is about 300,000. In the future, the competition will gradually expand from non-public places to public places. The number of high-quality spots in large enterprises will increase. The proportion of shelf sites covering less than 50 people has been significantly reduced to about 25% compared with last year (70%). . This means that point placement is increasingly taking efficiency into consideration. In the view of Fu Fu, the most important problem is the decline of unmanned shelves.
Waonews is a news media from China, with hundreds of translations, rolling updates China News, hoping to get the likes of foreign netizens