China’s high-end department store pioneer Zhang Chen: I want to sing against the “consumption downgrade”

​ In the last two years, “reduction of consumption has become a hot word for many Internet companies.” The rise of business giants such as a lot of fun and interesting headlines seems to have pushed the famous “the singer” into the entrepreneurial iron law. However, in China, there is a legendary entrepreneur who never believes in the so-called “reduction of consumption. By relying on only high-quality products and services, it is a traditional department store —— Under the double interception of food and peer competition, it has become the benchmark for high-end department stores in China. He is the meritorious person of the 40th anniversary of China’s commercial reform and opening up, chairman of the Suzhou Function Group — — Zhang Chen.

Recently, the reporter got the news that the Chinese business legend is about to cross the border with the Southwest Star. The e-commerce company Haihuike is married to create the first self-operated platform for cross-border imported goods in China. It aims to open up the channels for foreign brands to enter China, and to let the people really understand and try to use imported goods for the downstream, so that the imported goods can be said only. Explosive money era, help high-quality foreign goods into the homes of ordinary people. Yesterday, the reporter’s exclusive dialogue Zhang Chen, the first time to interpret Zhang Chen’s business password.

Talk about the entrepreneurial process

Only do the ultimate product to create an annual sales of 10 billion business empire

Reporter: Can you give us a brief introduction to the function group you founded? And Merlot Department Store?

Zhang Chen: Suzhou Function Group was established in 2003. It is a private trade group established by Suzhou Wujinjiaodian Group Co., Ltd., a state-owned professional wholesale company with a history of more than 60 years. In addition to the high-end department stores represented by Merlot, we are also involved in many industries such as finance, internet, pawn auctions, and sales of 10.2 billion yuan in 2018. It is the largest trade group in Suzhou.

Suzhou Merlot Department Store opened in 1990 and is the first high-end boutique department store in China. At present, Merlot has gathered HERMES, GUCCI, PRADA, BURBERRY, BVLGARI, TIFFANY, FERRAGAMO, EMPORIO ARMANI, HUGO BOSS, ROLEX, OMEGA, MONTBLANC and many other international famous products provide high-quality goods, excellent service and beautiful environment for nearly 200,000 VIP VIPs and consumers who have always favored Merlot. Nowadays, it has become one of the few high-end boutique department stores in the country.

Reporter: Not long ago, together with Ma Yun and Ma Huateng, you won the 40th anniversary of China’s commercial reform and opening up. The Meritorious Person Award, as one of the most successful high-end department stores in China, what are the trials of Merlot’s innovation in the industry?

Zhang Chen: In September 1990, Meilu Department Store’s predecessor industrial mall opened, I After taking the lead as the first general manager, the team continued to develop and set a number of “domestic first”: In 1991, we built Meiluo as the first smoke-free shopping mall in China; in 1992, we first proposed to protect consumers in the national business. The appeal of rights and interests promised to the whole society to rehabilitate seven service standards and set off a service climax in the national commercial industry. In 1993, we established China’s first commercial retail joint venture, and Merlot became China’s first high-end department store to operate luxury goods. In 1994, the first model of opening cabinet sales in the country led a revolution in department store business furnishings; in 1999, our company became the first commercial retail enterprise in Jiangsu Province with ISO9000 quality certification.

Reporter: As we all know, the impact of the Internet on traditional stores is very serious. Merlot Department Store can stand out from the fierce competition and maintain rapid growth every year. What is the difference between the development path of Merlot and traditional department stores? /p>

Zhang Chen: First of all, benefit from corporate positioning. Since its inception, Merlot has not taken the development route of traditional department stores, but has firmly grasped the main line of only boutiques. There are two advantages to this. One is to avoid homogenization competition and price war, and the other is to provide high-end customer groups with high-quality services that the Internet does not have. The second is the business model. Merlot is not only a platform, but many of our high-end brands are self-operated. This is also the place we are different from traditional department stores.

Talk about entrepreneurial mentality

Aiming at consumption upgrades“Being able to find a blue ocean for entrepreneurship

Reporter: Now, “The concept of consumer downgrade is very hot, but Meiluo The success seems to be a counterexample. What do you understand about this?

Zhang Chen: Consumption downgrade is a relative concept. The reason why the consumption downgrade occurs is that in the current economic structure, many low-end structures of productivity are the mainstay, resulting in a lot of overcapacity. At present, the market lacks competitive and innovative products, and can only be degraded. Consumption is downgraded to a certain extent, and it is bound to encounter the ceiling, but there is no ceiling to upgrade the business around consumption. This is a blue ocean market, only to see if you can provide the best products and services. Companies like Merlot, which only do the best products and services, live very well, just to prove that the market for consumption upgrades is even greater. If there are not enough high-quality products in China at present, then we will introduce them from overseas, on the one hand to meet people’s growing consumer demand, and on the other hand to stimulate domestic producers to make truly high-quality products and services.

Reporter: What do you think is the core of business in business? Why?

Zhang Chen: Since the emergence of commodity society, the needs of people and businesses are commercial and commercial services. Center, we do business, must not be technical and competitiveFight to blind your eyes. At any time, a truly profitable business must provide the best service for a particular person. Merlot is a firm practitioner of this philosophy. Therefore, no matter what we do, we must bring the best of the ultimate service and integrity management, only the concept of quality, because we know that this is the core competitiveness.

Reporter: Today, the Function Group has grown from Merlot to a large-scale business group that integrates import and export, pawn, finance, luxury brands, European and American jewelry collection stores, and the links between the various sectors. How? What kind of function group do you want to build?

Zhang Chen: In the past, Merlot was a regional department store brand. We have strong strength, more than 20 years of gold medals, and a reputation in the industry. . Today, we must rely on the power of the Internet to use the good reputation and ultimate service of Merlot to carry out nationwide expansion. What we have to do is a nationwide business group that combines online and offline, and gathers domestic first-class good goods.

Marriage Haihuike

Targeting the import market and price pain points

Reporter: It is reported that Merlot Department Store, as a physical retail company, will soon cooperate with Southwest Cross-border e-commerce company Haihuike to create the first traceable cross-border in China. Imported goods self-operated platform —— Meiluohai Huike, is this an important step of the function group Internet+?

Zhang Chen: Yes, this is a strategic step of the function group. On the road of Internetization, we have accumulated many years of gold medals and high-end customer groups, attracting many Internet giants to come to discuss cooperation, but have not encountered any cooperation before. Until I contacted the chairman of Haihuike Xue Guoneng, his vision of the business model was strikingly the same as that of me, and we did not compete with each other, from market, channel to resources. We have reached a strategic cooperation to jointly establish the Meiluo Haihui online platform and integrate online and offline integration development. At present, relevant work has been launched rapidly.

Reporter: What is the original intention of the cooperation between the two parties? Is it necessary to solve the problem in the industry?

Zhang Chen: First of all, it is to solve the problem that foreign brands are too weak to enter the domestic market. The current imported goods are the world of a few explosions, and these products are very expensive and have little choice. Other brands with good reputation and high cost performance abroad are difficult to enter the Chinese market due to lack of team and market operations. The approach we have taken is to introduce these high-quality imported brands into China through the strict selection of Meiluo Haihui, to unify the marketing operation and help them open the door to the domestic market.

The second is to solve the problem of too expensive imported goods. Nowadays, many imported goods have been increased by the agent layer, and the price has been turned over several times when it comes to consumers. Imported goods on our platform will cut off all intermediate links and get goods directly from importers. It can guarantee the same price as foreign counterparts, allowing consumers to spend less money and enjoy better quality goods and services.

Reporter: Compared with large-scale e-commerce platforms such as Tmall Jingdong, what is the difference in the development path of Meiluo Haihui?

Zhang Chen: Our model is completely different. First of all, we are not a platform, all our imported goods are self-employed. For this reason, we dare to use our 20-year-old gold medal to ensure that there is absolutely no fake or inferior commodity on the platform of the Meiluohai Huike. It is not a slogan-style fake one to lose ten. It will not operate these products at all. The products are the best quality products in foreign countries.

Secondly, the genes are different. We are not just Internet companies, but new companies with good Chinese high-end department store service experience and China’s most advanced Internet technology. We will bring the ultimate service to On the Internet platform, then use the most advanced Internet technology to transform offline stores, so that consumers can enjoy the shopping experience beyond expectation.

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