After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

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After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

After the Internet giants stepped into the community to buy group purchases , the “veterans” who have been rooted in this field for a long time began to accept the new rules of the game. 

For Xu Yunzi, the head of four community group buying platforms at the same time, the last time neighbors in the neighborhood lined up to pick up goods at their own small shop is a vague memory a few months ago. 

She seemed a little helpless, “After Didi, Meituan, and Pinduoduo entered the Beijing market this year, my pick-up points did not increase the number of orders, but there were a lot of pick-up points around me, which took away many of my old customers. .” 

This is in line with the style of Internet giants. When the giants enter the market, they continue to win over the leaders of the industry or invite the old leaders of the rival platform as the first step to gain a firm foothold in the local market. 

For giants, this is indeed a convenient channel with low cost and the highest efficiency: entrepreneurial community group buying platforms such as Prosperity Optimal Group and Shihui Group have already trained many group leaders, and mature group leaders can provide preliminary selection. product, sale, and other community operators and then to a dragon service. 

Internet giants use the constant flow of platform traffic as the “bait”, so that these “first-line leaders” can be used for their own use as the core grasp of platform data targets. 

The entrepreneurial platform has indeed been quickly caught up by the Internet giants, and the heads are also willing to take over the olive branch thrown by the latter to increase their income. 

Unfortunately, the sweet period is always short. 

From July 2020, a number of community group buying giants made big strides. By July 2021, major players have entered a steady operation stage, but many group leaders have a deep sense of crisis. 

Xu Yunzi missed the time before 2020. “At that time, not many people paid attention to the community group buying business. I was the leader of the entire community. Although the number of orders was not large, the commission was high, and the monthly income was easily 3,000. Now I spend at least twice as much energy to get the same income as before.” 

In the plan of the giants, the weakening of the head of the group’s voice is actually “premeditated.” 

A former Meituan Optimal employee said frankly to Online Insight that Meituan Optimal has positioned the team leader as a contract fulfillment machine from the very beginning, helping the platform sort goods into the hands of users, reducing the voice of the team leader as much as possible. It is also a common practice for all platforms to transfer the ownership of users from the group leader to the platform to obtain end-user traffic.” 

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

All the changes happened too fast, and the heads of the group realized later. They have no time to think about whether they are chasing the wind or being pushed by the wind to move forward involuntarily. These people are either Bao Ma or small supermarket shopkeepers. They spend a lot of time and energy on various platforms every day, but after docking their customer resources to the platform, they may eventually be abandoned by the platform.

Faced with lower and lower commissions, weaker and weaker voice, and the invisible future, the heads of the delegation are all thinking about a problem: stay or leave.

I don’t want to be a screw, but I can’t refuse a giant

The old group leaders were the first to perceive the change in the market trend: giants have entered the market, entrepreneurial platforms have fallen out of favor, and the group leaders have gradually become the “screws” of the community group buying giants. 

No head is willing to be a “screw”, but they have no choice. 

The old group leaders can only condemn Internet giants for breaking their original comfort zone for making money, while reluctantly accepting a steady stream of orders from Internet platforms. 

In other words, when the entrepreneurial platform occupied the right to speak in the market, the user belonged to the group leader, and the platform served the group leader. The service links undertaken by these group leaders are complete and the effect of word-of-mouth is high. Users do not care about which platform the products come from, but only trust the products pushed by the group leaders. 

However, after Internet giants enter the market, they want to re-establish a new system of discourse power, and the ultimate controller of this system must naturally be the platform.

The group leaders are also adapting to the new rules of survival. 

After becoming the preferred group leader of Meituan in August 2020, Liu Guangyu and his wife adjusted their schedules to go to bed at 1:30 in the evening and wake up at 6 in the morning. The first thing after waking up is to lose the product link to the WeChat group. . Next is the working time of at least 14 hours a day: unloading, tallying, packing, sorting start at 8 o’clock in the morning, users are notified to pick up the goods, and the door is closed until 12 o’clock in the evening. 

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

Within a few kilometers, there are 5 or 6 group leaders, and often confused customers find the wrong location, or think of picking up after a few days, Liu Guangyu has to find customers from dozens of pages of goods lists. 

In the Spring Festival, “Double 11” or “618” and other festivals, this self-pickup store (personal garage) with only more than ten square meters, there will be a long queue of more than 200 people, and the two have to get up at 3 in the morning to prepare. 

Different from the general small group leader, Liu Guangyu is the top five high-quality group leader of Meituan’s preferred sales in a certain city in the northeast. He belongs to the first group of local “first movers” engaged in community e-commerce, so he put himself as the first group purchaser in the community The advantages are summarized as: “Have a high-quality WeChat group”. 

From 2016, he entered the industry as a JD promoter and operated a WeChat group of more than 400 people; by 2018, the market broke out, and several entrepreneurial head community group buying platforms were born; and in 2020, Internet giants entered the market, an entrepreneurial platform He has experienced shocks, closures and closures, the rise and fall of the industry. 

Now Liu Guangyu is the head of the three platforms, but the young couple is not satisfied with the monthly income of over 10,000 . 

Although the orders continued to increase, after the Spring Festival in 2021, the two obviously felt that it was becoming increasingly difficult to make money. The same is the monthly sales of 100,000. If you can get 10% of the commission last year, you can earn more than 10,000. 

“In March of this year, Meituan launched various promotion awards, the commission dropped directly to 5%, and the commission for 150 yuan per durian was only 7.5 yuan.” Liu Guangyu could only try to attract more customers into the group, increase the order volume, and complete Only by earning bonuses for promotion tasks can you maintain the previous monthly income of 10,000 yuan. And this achievement is regarded as the best among the hundreds of heads around. 

Lu Xinxin, who is also the head of the regiment, is also busy every day. 

Last year, with five years of experience as a team leader, she joined 7 platforms including Orange Heart Optimal, Meituan Optimal, Xingsheng Optimal, and Hema Market. She is also the top three sales leader of Orange Heart Optimal in a certain city in Sichuan Province. 

In September and October, the most popular group buying in the community in 2020, the daily order volume of Lu Xinxin’s self-pickup point once soared to 17 million pieces, and the monthly commission was as high as more than 20,000 yuan, which also made her a key maintenance object for many platforms. . 

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

Lu Xinxin learned from the BD staff that the other team leader who was in the same community with her had too many orders and couldn’t sort them. He would ask the BD, who was selected by Orange Heart, to come and help himself. However, this “special care” has not been enjoyed after Lu Xinxin’s order volume has gradually increased.

High-quality head leaders such as Liu Guangyu and Lu Xinxin, who have daily orders over a hundred, do not need to take the initiative to pull new ones. The platform sends community orders to them through calculations. 

However, in the face of such a high passenger flow, Lu Xinxin sprouted a mind. She felt that “Although there are many orders diverted from the Internet platform, the number of users who have turned into their own fans is very small.” 

Nowadays, Lu Xinxin makes a distinction between WeChat groups: one is the old fan group who specifically asks her to place an order; the other is the new customer group diverted from the platform, and she does not even pull strange users into the WeChat group. “The intimacy rate of the old group is higher. Daily chattering is a common thing. Inside are neighbors who have been taking care of their own business. The new group generally distributes product links and does basic operations and after-sales work.” 

“There are too many orders, and every day I am tired, like a robot who is only responsible for distributing goods, and the group leader has no right to speak.” Lu Xinxin pays attention to quality control. Many new users complain to her that the quality of vegetables and fruits sold is not good or out of stock. Bad goods, this made her a little wronged. In this regard, she has repeatedly made suggestions to the platform staff, but the other party ignored them, and she gave up struggling.

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

Unable to guarantee the product quality, Lu Xinxin dare not blindly endorse the Internet platform. After that, he only recommended first-line standard products such as drinks and beverages in the group, and gave up the fresh products. “I now directly collect fresh products from the local base and put them in the group. Selling inside, higher sales than similar products on the community group buying platform.” 

And Lu Xinxin abandon the recommended category contrary, Liu Guangyu told even known group within the user, a community group purchase platform of small household appliances goods, after-sales system is not complete, it is recommended not to buy related products in the platform. 

After the Spring Festival in 2021, Lu Xinxin notified group friends in the WeChat group that she no longer recommends some platform products, and she also withdrew from the group leader material group and the large group leader management group. The reason is that the return and exchange process of these platforms is cumbersome and the cycle is long. More importantly, there are many large items and very low commissions. For example, the commission for rice is almost zero. 

Not only is Lu Xinxin withdrawing, but many groups around her are shutting down one after another.

The retreat implied an embarrassing reality: after the commission dropped, the group leader lost the motivation to work for the group buying platform. Although Liu Guangyu was also dissatisfied, he couldn’t get away: “The head of the group is my main business, and the whole family is counting on this revenue to survive.” 

This also begs a question: how many people are still serving as heads? 

“Currently, there is no special follow-up on the number of national team leaders, and this number is not accurate. Every day there are eliminated or active team members.” A middle-level person in the US Mission told Online Insight that most of the current team leaders are part-time. , Strong liquidity. “If we insist on estimating the range of the number of heads in the country, it will be between 1.5 million and 2 million. 

For the team leaders who are still working, not only do they need to work all month long to keep customers, but the money is also harder than ever.

The human touch is less, but the sense of crisis always accompanies

The head of the group who has experienced the heyday of the entrepreneurial platform obviously feels that it has become difficult to make money after the Internet giants enter the market.

“Being forced to become the head of the Internet platform, I can’t do it. Now I don’t dare to interrupt my work for a day. I must ensure that my user market is not scattered by so many community group buying platforms.” Liu Guangyu’s sense of crisis began to appear last year. , Only increase without decrease. Seeing the new team leaders springing up like bamboo shoots after rain, he missed the days of “lying down and making money” before 2020.

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

In 2016, Liu Guangyu, who opened the lottery station, was a heavy user of, so he was invited to become a regional promoter of that year. There are two main profit methods for promoters. One is to recommend users to buy JD products online. After users place an order through the product link shared by the promoter, the promoter can get a certain percentage of commission; the other is to fission the promoter. Old members invite new users to become promoters and give corresponding bonuses. 

The job of a promoter will encounter problems in real life. For example, some users often fail to meet the full reduction conditions when shopping, and abandon the purchase. “One hundred yuan can buy four buckets of laundry detergent, but the user only wants to buy one bucket, what about the remaining three buckets?” 

Liu Guangyu did not give up the business directly. Instead, he began to ask the group members to sign up in advance. After counting the demand for the goods, he paid for the goods himself and placed the order, and then sold it to the demanders at an appropriate price increase. In his view, this approach is somewhat similar to the prototype of community group buying. 

This price increase space far exceeds the commission reward. Sometimes Liu Guangyu will snap up the spike product and sell it at the original price, which can achieve a maximum profit of 500%. 

He clearly remembered that after entering 2018, his old company Jingdong launched a community group buying platform called “Youjiapu”. He followed Jingdong with growth, early to find out the needs of customers around the district, he quickly built a user base, his base from a micro-channel amplification to four the number of members of the fast-breaking thousands. 

This action of is also regarded by the outside world as its official entry into the community group purchase. “At that time, Jingdong would regularly conduct regular training for the team leader. At that time, the team leader was more like a salesperson, and everyone was more self-driven and secretly PK.” Liu Guangyu said to the online Insight. 

Lu Xinxin also missed his first year in the community group buying, which was 2016. At that time, the roles of the team leader were more diverse. In addition to having his own pick-up point, a qualified team leader must also select products that meet the needs of the community’s fans. For example, housewives prefer to buy fresh products related to three meals a day, rather than circulating products such as alcoholic beverages and grains and oils. 

In 2019, Lu Xinxin, who has three years of community group buying experience, became a leader of the Zhihua Zhiguo platform through the recommendation of acquaintances. Zhihua Zhiguo is a local community group buying company that started in Changsha. Starting in 2016, Zhihua Zhiguo survived by relying on the differentiated strategy of medium and high customer unit prices, and then began to expand its territory. 

When it comes to the old club that brought her into the industry, Lu Xinxin suddenly talks a lot. In her view, Zhihua Zhiguo is more attentive in training team leaders, “from teaching products, operating the community, to handling all kinds of after-sales emergency problems. The team leaders play a multi-faceted role, and they can take on both the procurement function and the It can be sold.” 

The big team leader will also assist the small team leader. Small group leaders or new group leaders do not understand the quality control requirements of the platform. The large group leaders will help recommend products or guide their selection. “The platform will often hold closed-door meetings with the group leaders to exchange experiences with each other, and everyone feels of belonging. Very strong. The leader of good performance will not only receive cash rewards, but also have a commendation meeting. And through his own promotion efforts, more and more products are loved by a large number of users and become local “net celebrities”. Things with a sense of honor.” Lu Xinxin said. 

Contrary to these startups focusing on human touch and playing emotional cards, Internet giants are more concerned with efficiency.

Lu Xinxin scoffed at the current practice of “production” of the community group buying platform assembly line. 

She mentioned that when the city was opened last year, the platform operators such as Orange Heart Optimal Group pulled the new team leader into a small group every week, and after explaining the basic business theories such as the selling point of the product, the market price range, and the corresponding target group, they disbanded on the spot. The small group, throw the heads into the large group, and the training is over. “Many inexperienced group leaders were fooled into starting a group, and their own abilities were not strong, and the order volume was naturally flat.” Lu Xinxin said. 

Under this kind of rules, the head of the group is becoming less and less important, and the substitutability is also very strong. For example, Pinduoduo currently uses the main site mall traffic to dispatch orders to the team leader’s side, and does not rely entirely on the community. The team leader only plays the role of the person in charge of the express delivery point. 

The consumers of Pinduoduo fit in with the target of group buying in the community, but group buying platforms with weaker e-commerce genes, such as Meituan Optimal and Orange Heart Optimal, want to borrow the hands of the group leader to pull users into their own systems. Instead of staying in the WeChat group managed by the team leader, let the platform be constrained by the team leader. 

As a result, Meituan Youyou and Chengxin Youyou have launched “robots” and “leader assistants”, which can share product links in the group at regular intervals every day. 

At the beginning of this year, Lu Xinxin categorically refused to access the robots on all platforms. “The platform wants to grab food from the group leader’s mouth. Such cold robots will only destroy the atmosphere in the group.” She has multiple stable customer groups in her hands, so Rejected very simply. 

Compared to Lu Xinxin’s flexible dealings, the sudden entry of Internet platforms such as Meituan Zhuangyou caught Liu Guangyu and his wife by surprise. “It turns out that my user group is the largest local user group, and they are all concentrated on my place to place orders. But now there are many pick-up points on group buying platforms in major communities, and many old users have been diverted to many group leaders. I have lost my originality. Some advantages.”

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

The giants rewrote the industry rules, which made many heads like Liu Guangyu who depended on a single meal to feel an existential crisis. Gone are the days of easy money making.

“There is no future”, where is the way out for the heads? 

Compared to making money is not easy, the heads of the group feel even more difficult because they feel “no future.” 

With the increase in the number of community group buying, the heavy capital approach of heavyweight players has also profoundly subverted the original model, and the group leader has become less and less important. 

Between “going on” and opening up a new battlefield, a small group of commanders tried to “get out of the circle” to explore their own way of transformation and upgrading. 

Lu Xinxin chose to leave when the platform’s bonus period was the highest, and transferred to her sister to be responsible. “When even the street aunt knew about this business, the bonus period for this industry was almost over.” 

In her opinion, many people mistakenly believe that the threshold for regimental leader is low, but in fact the initial barrier is still high. “A qualified team leader needs strong communication skills and affinity, as well as rich network resources, and even needs to understand the supply chain, logistics and distribution. Unlike now, as long as you fill in the information and apply for registration, you can be The team leader.” 

Earlier this year, she recruited a local company to purchase fresh, Lu Xinxin jokes he is now “exploited”, “Head of the development, the head of recruitment, to after-sales operations and polycyclic section work, the boss asked me responsible.” . Even if he “complains”, after get off work, Lu Xinxin will still take the initiative to drive to the surrounding bases in the city to find a good source of goods. 

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

Make money together. Whether it’s the company’s products or the high-quality products that you have discovered, Lu Xinxin will promote and open up the market together with more than 300 small group leaders. For example, when selling mangosteens, Lu Xinxin will look for the base to purchase eight mature Thai small bamboos with better quality. The maturity of the products is just right when the customers get the products. The price is between the top community group buying platform and the pre-storage model platform ( daily excellent fresh, etc.). “It’s not a few yuan,” but neighbors are more willing to pay for it. 

Cooperating directly with the base, getting products from the source and selling them in the community is a way out for the group leaders.

A team leader revealed, “Now there are a lot of Baoma leaders here, relying on the resources on hand, and have reached long-term cooperative relationships with many production bases, with high commissions and high quality. Basically, they are no longer just working hard for the community group buying giants. And return to the previous personal community operation model.” 

This change is not alone. The research report recently released by Soochow Securities shows that at the head of the group, the proportion of “convenience store heads” with community stores has continued to increase, from 73% in the first half of 2020 to 90% in the beginning of 2021. 

Many convenience store leaders are very active, and no longer use the commissions of community group buying platforms as their main income, but use self-pickup points as a “weapon” for their own business promotion and drainage. In this way, they can make more money, and they don’t have to be “rushed” by the rules of the platform. 

However, the heads of the group who are currently working on the platform still account for the majority. Liu Guangyu mentioned, “We will continue to work until these community group buying platforms become unavailable. Now, no matter how hard it is, we can only suffer.” 

Freight drivers on different platforms have different delivery times. The three drivers come one by one, and Liu Guangyu and his wife count over and over again. This kind of work is repeated three times a day. 

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

Although money is important, the position must not be lost. Liu Guangyu calculated that the money-burning war would not last long. His current personal hardship does not matter, but he must retain enough users, and the remaining traffic may be monetized in the future. 

Many of Liu Guangyu’s colleagues are in the group. He found that “some head is to find better opportunities to make money. There’s smoke wine convenience store wanted to increase individual head drainage through the platform, but business is even worse, some frozen products also occupy their own refrigerator, direct The regiment is closed.” 

Indeed, this is an “extremely involved” industry. Originally, all major platforms had rewards for order quantity and a series of new rewards. Now, platforms not only raise the bonus threshold, but also set a dual assessment threshold for the number of shares and the number of orders. These rules put forward higher requirements on the ability of the group leader, and those that fail to reach it will be quickly eliminated.

A middle-level group buying community in charge of channel operations told Connected Insight that the ownership of users is slowly shifting from the group leader to the platform. Even if some group leaders leave the platform because the commission ratio is too low, users will not be lost and the orders will be diverted. Just go to the other heads.

After the giants entered the community group buying, the head of the group became more anxious: being deprived of power, difficult to make money, and no future

Nowadays, the battlefield of community group buying is still fierce. Community group buying platforms still need group leaders to fight for them, but the trend of “going to the group leader” is also obvious. How to continue to live is a question that every group leader needs to consider. 

(The interviewees Xu Yunzi, Liu Guangyu, and Lu Xinxin in the article are all pseudonyms.)

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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