Online community group buying: a new way to shop

The picture comes from the Internet.

  "Fresh firewood eggs are 55 yuan per box, Pizza Hut steak is 23 yuan per piece, and pasta is 17 yuan per bag." As soon as the group announcement of the "head of the group" was released on October 26, the residents in the WeChat group responded quickly. In just a few minutes, the buyers had already picked up the long dragon.
  Simple purchase, timely delivery, time-saving and labor-saving… Online community group buying, as an emerging online shopping model, is mainly carried out by community residents online group buying to place orders, and then unified delivery to the community. It can not only help reduce logistics costs, but also help consumers avoid "difficulty of choice" and effectively improve shopping efficiency.

Social and group buying win-win

  "The group food group in our community was established last year by the eldest sister who opened the laundry in the community. At that time, many people in the community were there. Group buying was cheap and the dishes were very fresh." Ms. Zhao, a resident of Taiyuan, said that group buying was originally for convenience, but now it has gradually become a habit.
  In fact, the emergence of online community group buying has already changed people’s traditional consumption concepts. The "head of the group" posted a message in the group that users place orders in advance on demand and can pick up the goods the next day. Through group buying, community residents can get goods at lower prices, while avoiding the time and effort required to go to the supermarket to shop.
  "Neighbors in the community often post fresh dishes that have been bought by the group in the group. Everyone communicates and interacts together, which not only brings the neighborhood closer, but also allows everyone to have a more intuitive understanding of the items bought by the group, because everyone is familiar with each other, which is different from the kind of online store that brushes praise, which can help everyone avoid pits more effectively." Ms. Zhao introduced that with the increasing pace of life, like most young people, she is increasingly choosing to shop online, especially for food and daily necessities, more consideration is given to price and delivery time.
  Obviously, social communication is an important driving force for community group buying, which can effectively expand the influence of group buying and attract more customer engagement. But at the same time, social communication also faces some challenges, such as information overload, user churn, trust issues, etc.

Regulation and self-discipline

  With the growing prosperity of the online community group buying market, large e-commerce platforms and various new players are accelerating their entry into the market, making the community group buying market more decentralized and diversified. For residents of the community, some of the "heads" are familiar neighbors, and more are strangers.
  "Sometimes people in the group don’t know what link they sent, and they click on it. It’s either a group buying Mini Program or a stranger’s online store." Ms. Zhao said that her group buying is still trustworthy. Instead of shopping in the unknown Mini Program, it is better to place orders on big platforms such as and Taobao.
  In fact, people in the online community group buying in the pit is not a few, false propaganda, wrong board, shoddy and a series of problems, but also let many consumers headache. Recently, the General Administration of Market Supervision announced a case involving "community group buying" said that in March this year, because a food store operator exaggerated the ordinary food has disease prevention and treatment functions, inducing consumers to buy, and was finally punished by the local market supervision department, and finally fined 125,000 yuan.
  Are group buying activities reported? Where does the supply come from? Are there guarantees for delivery and refund?… Faced with these issues, the Shanxi Provincial Market Supervision Bureau issued the "Guiding Opinions on Regulating the Business Behavior of Group buying in Online Communities" (hereinafter referred to as the "Opinions"), which aims to target the business behavior of group buying in online communities, promote fair competition supervision in the online market, realize the whole chain, all fields, and normal supervision before and after the event, and promote the healthy and sustainable development of online community group buying norms.
  In terms of prohibitive provisions on online community group buying, the "Opinions" clearly pointed out that unfair price behaviors such as low-price dumping, price collusion, price gouging, and price fraud shall not be implemented, and monopolistic behaviors shall not be implemented through monopoly agreements, abuse of market dominance, and illegal implementation of concentration of business operators; unfair competition behaviors such as commercial confusion, commercial slander, and credit speculation shall not be implemented, endangering the market environment of fair competition; false or misleading methods shall not be used to deceive and mislead consumers.
  Lawyer Liang Yi of Shanxi Shuoming Law Firm reminds consumers that regular platforms are guaranteed in terms of goods quality, distribution, and after-sales, and should give priority to community group buying packages organized by regular online platforms. In the event of the loss of contact of the "head of the group", the delay in delivery of goods, and product quality problems, etc., provide relevant evidence materials to the public security organs, market supervision and other departments in a timely manner to protect their legitimate rights and interests to the greatest extent. At the same time, it also warns group buying platform merchants that they must seriously abide by the "E-commerce Law", "Internet Transaction Supervision and Administration Measures" and other laws and regulations, and strengthen industry self-discipline. Otherwise, they will surely face severe penalties.

Our reporter Wang Yang

Related reading
Expand new consumption channels

  In recent years, new consumption channels such as online shopping, live streaming, and community group buying have risen rapidly, bringing huge business opportunities to the retail industry. In the first 10 months of this year, the national online retail sales of physical goods increased by 8.4% year-on-year, accounting for 26.7% of the total retail sales of social consumer goods. The rise of new consumption channels is of great significance to promoting the recovery and development of the physical retail industry.
  The exploration of online and offline has promoted the rise of new consumption channels. During the epidemic, more and more consumers have gradually become familiar with and accepted consumption models such as instant retail and community group buying. New consumption channels provide consumers with a more convenient and personalized shopping experience, which not only reduces shopping costs, but also meets diverse needs. It also prompts online and offline merchants to move from competition to cooperation and achieve a win-win situation online and offline.
  On the one hand, new consumption channels expand the boundaries of the retail market. Traditional retail markets are limited by geography and time, but new consumption channels break these restrictions and allow consumers to shop anytime, anywhere. This makes the retail market cover a wider consumer group and provides more sales opportunities. Take instant retail as an example. Consumers place orders on online transaction platforms, and offline physical retailers receive orders. From picking and packing to door-to-door delivery, it is basically completed within 1 hour, thus achieving the goal of "relying on local retail supply to meet local immediate demand".
  On the other hand, new consumption channels have promoted the digital transformation of the retail industry. In order to adapt to the development of new consumption channels, retailers have increased their investment in digital technology and promoted the digital transformation of the industry. Digital transformation not only improves the operational efficiency of retailers, but also provides consumers with a more convenient and intelligent shopping experience. With the help of online platforms, physical enterprises can expand their sales channels. At the same time, the sales data precipitated by online platforms can help physical enterprises operate more finely.
  We should also note that the rise of new consumption channels has also brought challenges to the retail industry, not only increasing competition, but also putting forward higher requirements for retailers’ data capabilities and supply chain management capabilities. In this regard, the retail industry should actively respond, seize new opportunities and meet challenges.
  Strengthen research on new consumption channels, gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ needs and shopping habits, and provide strong support for the development of new consumption channels. Faced with the omni-channel competition brought about by "embracing online", physical enterprises should use online to develop business, maintain and expand new consumer groups, reduce commodity distribution costs, and achieve online and offline two-way drainage.
  Increase investment in digital technology to promote the in-depth development of digital transformation. Improve operational efficiency through digital technology, optimize shopping experience, and provide consumers with more convenient and intelligent services. Online enterprises are not simply "1 + 1" with physical enterprises. They should use big data intelligent recommendation to achieve accurate matching of supply and demand. Continuously strengthen the capabilities of enterprises in traffic support, marketing, digital systems, etc., to meet the diverse needs of consumers.
  Strengthen supply chain management, improve supply chain flexibility and responsiveness. Strengthen cooperation with suppliers to ensure product supply and inventory balance.
  New consumption channels have also played an important role in driving consumption expansion, industry innovation, and social employment. The retail industry should seize new opportunities and continuously expand and make good use of new consumption channels by strengthening research, increasing investment, and strengthening cooperation. This will promote the consumer market to better meet consumer demand with richer and more innovative business models and consumer categories, and stimulate new consumption.

Feng Qiyu