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Entrepreneur Li Tao: 13 years of pits and opportunities in the middle-aged and elderly clothing market

I started doing Taobao in 2007, and the first project I did was middle-aged and elderly clothing. As of today, more than ten years have passed, and I have become a serial entrepreneur, but unfortunately I have always started a project, that is, middle-aged and elderly clothing.

On December 20, AgeClub successfully held the 2nd China Senior Industry Business Innovation Conference in Beijing. The meeting invited Li Tao, the founder of Dijuna, a former middle-aged and elderly brand of Handu Clothing, to share an analysis of the operation experience and consumer behavior of e-commerce in the middle-aged and elderly industry. Business experience.
The New and Aged Business Research Institute shared part of Mr. Li Tao's speech to readers:
1. Review of the development history of middle-aged and elderly women's clothing brand Di Kuna. I started to make Taobao in 2007. The first project I did was middle-aged and elderly clothing. As of today, more than ten years have passed, and I have become a serial entrepreneur, but unfortunately I have always started a project, that is, middle-aged and elderly clothing.
I am a science and engineering student, studying computer principles and applications. My wife is a costume designer. The core reason why I have done this for more than a decade is a "tragic" encounter when I was married.
My wife and I met in Beijing. When I was planning to get married, there was a problem that bothered me. What kind of meeting gift should we give both parents?
I still choose the most suitable clothing. But I did not expect that it took about a month from the moment we prepared the gift to the elderly.
One of the biggest problems with choosing this gift at the time was that it couldn't be picked out at all. At that time, in 2007, we went around Beijing and found that many clothes were not enough to make gifts, and some prices were reached, but they might be put on the shelf.
What is the reason? My mother is one meter five hundred and three, 130 pounds, and my mother-in-law one meter five and two, 140 pounds, basically no clothes to wear.
We felt that this gift could not be coped with, and it was better to have them dressed for our wedding. Later, I went to a place specializing in selling large-size women's clothing, and found that there are clothes that can be worn, but they are not upscale.
Eventually I wrote this up as an article and posted it on Sina's blog. I also posted photos of the clothes I chose. I did not expect that in one hour, this article was read more than a thousand times, and in a day, it was read more than ten thousand times. There are a lot of messages saying that I found a resonance. Can I help you and bring a set? In 2007, my lover opened a Taobao shop, named Taofeng Love, and positioned it as a middle-aged and elderly store. By that time Taobao was the first in this category.
In fact, this first has its origins. At that time, Taobao mainly promoted Wangwang, and the mobile phone Wangwang had the longest online time to reward Taobao recommendation. It happened that we were traveling and getting married in Lijiang, and the mobile phone was hung for a long time, and it burst directly after being recommended.
Taobao recommended advertisements gave us this middle-aged and elderly clothing store, and the traffic came up. We immediately ended the trip and immediately flew back to Beijing to ship and process the order. Later, middle-aged and elderly women's clothing became my full-time job. After quitting my original job, I pushed the trolley to buy goods every day.
Then problems arose. Since the source of supply is one place, all business information is exchanged. Once a store has a hot sale, another store will be online within four hours. I bought it for 59 yuan, out of 89 yuan, other shops may be 79 yuan, 69 yuan appeared in a few days, even more terrible is 59 yuan directly out, but also free shipping.
I believe this crazy experience has been heard or experienced by many people.
At this time, the backbone of our core team appeared. She is an old tailor and has made clothes for more than 20 years. She is my mother-in-law and came to Beijing in the name of bringing children to participate in our work.
She said, "You can't sell it like this, I don't like to wear these clothes. And do you make money? If you take out the purchase price and see how much is left?"
My wife put forward a point of view, do you want to design clothes by yourself instead of selling them on the market? I said I thought about it, but the designers in Beijing were unwilling to do it when they heard that it was for the elderly.
This is a very real problem. In the segment of middle-aged and elderly clothing, a style can actually be sold for 11 years, and it is an explosion every year. The change is very subtle: the red button becomes a green button, and the design on the left is changed to the right. But the core design has not changed.
In 2009, we moved our family back to Jinan, Shandong, and re-registered the company. The old lady took out all of her patterned clothes from decades ago and started the original mother's dress.
As a result, in 2013, we suddenly fell from the Taobao category to the 20th place, and fell out of the top 100 two months later. The reason is that before, the store traffic acquisition was mainly explosive, but now half of the products are replaced with originals.
I never imagined that one day I would find fabrics and factories by myself. But to be original is to solve these problems. The goods that could not be sold in the past can be processed to the stall, and there is no inventory problem, but now the remaining goods need to be handled by themselves, which is a new challenge for us.
So the development of the store is not under my control, or it is beyond my expectations.
It was a dark moment in my business. The previous stage means no traffic. I have a meeting with my wife and mother-in-law to discuss whether I should stick to the original. If you give up this direction and go back to the market, the minute-by-minute shop rankings can go back because I know how to kill competitors. But if we go back to the old way again, some problems still have to be faced.
With the elements of your own design, one phenomenon is very prominent, that is, the repurchase rate is much higher than before, and the store has fans. You do n’t need to notify him that he will come to the store every day to check it out. If there is no new version, we will take the initiative to inquire. This is something I haven't encountered before.
In the end, we still decided to continue the original road. It's not easy to do it, and the more you run, the harder it will be. The first is the issue of inventory. At that time, there was a hot domestic e-commerce brand in Jinan-Handu Clothing House. I went to them to study inventory management.
After three years of ups and downs, by 2012, we have made middle-aged and elderly clothing the first in the emerging market of Taobao.
After Taobao changed its name to Tmall, the big-screen posters and special models for Mother's Day were all my models. I picked an older model from the senior model team of Shandong University and pushed my product to a peak.
But just a year later, I fell into another pit, which may be more serious than the previous one, and eventually led to the break of the capital chain.
The cause of this incident was that the goods were not good enough at the time, and the grade was not high enough. In fact, better fabrics could be used. However, due to pricing limitations, good fabrics cannot be used.
The designer at the time was also very dissatisfied with the goods. He knew that there were better fabrics on the market. I made a decision. On Mother's Day that year, I comprehensively upgraded the product and raised the price. On the one hand, I think the brand has a certain reputation. On the other hand, we think that good customer must like.
I thought it would be the first category as usual, and I would get more promotion and resources. But in fact that year our dress became the most expensive in the whole network, and the discount was 239 yuan.
At that time, very few young women's clothing were sold at this price, which made us unable to sell on Mother's Day. After just one day, I immediately cut the price by 10%, but it was completely wiped out. A large number of goods became stock.
This event eventually led to the merger of my own ANYMO Ai Mo and Han Du Yishe in February 2014, still positioning middle-aged and elderly women.
At this time, a third problem arises. That is, after more than two years of operation of Tmall, the Trademark Office notified in 2014 that there was an overlap between the names of an Amore brand, so my brand could not be registered.
At this time, my flagship store had 200,000 customers, and some of them were core members. But there is no other way. I can only change the name and register the Di Kuna brand. The official operation began on April 16, 2014. On Mother's Day in 2015, Di Kuna returned to the first category.
Such an experience is very rare for me. In this process, I want to share with you how to quickly build a brand. I mainly talk about some dry goods in the process of setting up Di Kuna in Handu Clothing. Including how I control my inventory.
The inventory turnover rate of all brands of Handu Clothing is very high. The sold-out rate is as high as 98.5%. The best-selling year of Di Kuna is 99%. This is very critical for a clothing company. The core issue is inventory.
2. Create a market segment, define it, and then become the boss. This market is currently not segmented and has no categories. So we set up a new category at that time, which is Hanfeng mother's clothing.
I was the first to propose such a segmentation concept in this field. But no one can say exactly what Han Feng is. According to our research, Han Feng is not a Korean version. At that time, I did a lot of research and went to South Korea to do some field research and go to the scene to photograph the local old lady. What we see is that many European and American styles have evolved into Korean styles.
In fact, the Koreans studied European and American culture half a century earlier than China, and they transformed the popular elements and fashions in Europe and the United States into Koreans. At the same time, East Asian women are generally more able to appreciate and accept this aesthetic, so Korean designers have a very strong influence in the international market.
But one problem is the acceptance of Korean elderly in Chinese culture, which is a new challenge.
There is a saying that young people are Korean. Does the elderly have this market? We have made some attempts, and the core of the attempt is to make Han Feng's mother into a transformation suitable for China.
This success is also critical. The key point is whether anyone in the team understands clothing and whether they have product development capabilities. We have to do not copy. Because in the past, a clothing factory directly sold the elderly clothes in Dongdaemun, South Korea, online, but the results were unsuccessful. So later we formed a team of designers jointly created by Chinese and Korean designers. Korean designers are responsible for providing fashion trends and directions, and Chinese designers implement product-based processes. This is the division of labor of the team. Later, we also created a set of databases for mothers. This was not founded by Di Kuna. It is the physical data of the elderly consumers we have collected on Want Want since the first day of opening.
At that time, I did not expect that there would be such a large use, just to solve the problem of code selection. It is very important to look at these data now, and make great contributions to the establishment of later data systems. Based on this system, we can apply any style developed for young people to this system. First, we can solve the style problem of the elderly, and then consider the matching and color problems. Originally designed fabrics are also a step forward in our design decisions. Di Kuna evolved from design styles to design fabrics, and these fabrics can also be sold back to South Korea. This is also a breakthrough for us in the field of middle-aged and elderly people.
Below I enter a few key topics, the first to share is the importance of visual marketing.
Whether it is Tmall, Taobao, or JD.com, we must pay attention to vision when doing online business. Because the biggest difference between online and offline entities is that they are visible and intangible. Vision is the first step to getting traffic. How to show a good product is the first problem to be solved.
So we used the most famous older model in Korea at the time. Actually she is only in her 30s. It can be seen from the figure that there is a very obvious difference in the contrast between market goods and Di Kuna.
In 2015, after Di Kuna returned to the first category, the market reappeared. To this day, I can tell you very firmly that no matter online or offline, more than 90% of the new models are designed by our team. Here is a set of ranking data for Mother's Day 2017.
The following highlights how we control turnover and sell-off rates.
An important concept here is the concept of planning. We divide the product planning into several steps: first, plan the amount, then the first return order, and finally the arrival plan.
This is applicable even in non-clothing fields. The core lies in the understanding and application of this plan, but there are some differences in the matching of specific categories.
This process is further subdivided into 8 steps. The first is the determination of the sales task, which determines the value of the stock. The stocking ratio we usually take is the sales task. The required value is 110% or 120%. This is a relatively conservative state.
It is more conservative to determine the stocking rate based on 90% or 80% of the income. It is also very important to determine the number of models and the ratio of new and old models. This will determine your traffic.
The fifth step is to determine the ratio of the first return order, then the season opening time and the arrival band. These three points determine your supply chain. The final planning decision is to start with an order. In the first seven processes, one of the links is to track the style and comprehensive gross profit margin once every month or quarter. This tracking will determine the adjustment of the first seven steps.
In addition, our inventory tracking is specific to a certain day, it can also be tracked on a certain three days or weekly, the purpose is to use inventory to push back marketing actions.
The background of the marketing action is to review the inventory situation according to the monthly sales completion progress and the value digestion progress, and also observe whether the previous marketing action works.
We will specifically target the inventory and turnover rate to each group, that is, each employee must evaluate the sell-off rate and turnover rate, and how much bonus is ultimately tied to the completion rate of these indicators.
This is a result of tracking the progress in detail, and every employee can find out, for example, the digestion progress of new orders and the digestion of goods value in this season should be relatively matched.
I have refined the core steps to improve inventory turnover and sold-out rates into these points:
Extreme small order fast return-relying on the flexible supply chain, the minimum 10 pieces can be produced, and then gradually optimized;
Test first and then return-flexible and changeable test methods, control the number of returns based on test data;
Strictly control the return cycle-the production plan is advanced to the yarn and surface accessories planning, and the return cycle is shortened to 7 days;
Flat lag and sell with clear-data analysis of bursting stagnation every 24 hours to achieve "sell and sell with clear" throughout the season;
Life cycle analysis-Life cycle analysis is refined to a single model to maximize control of inventory risks.
I also want to talk about some experiences in doing e-commerce operations:
Pinpoint positioning in a certain market segment / category, highly focused;
Creating product competitiveness is the only way to get traffic and improve conversions;
Explosions that can't bring free traffic are not explosions, just your own best sellers;
E-commerce for the elderly will not form a "super explosion", but be good at operating "small explosion models";
There are two types of customers for senior e-commerce: customers of type A are children, customers of type B are elderly, and satisfaction can make A happy;
Tell your children "this is what your parents need" instead of telling them "this is filial piety";
Keep up with the trend of the platform, actively try and deploy new ways of playing and new channels, and there is no exception for e-commerce in the elderly;
Community e-commerce is the best model for elderly e-commerce, and all traffic must eventually be converted into private domain traffic.
3. Analysis of the consumer behavior of elderly e-commerce I would like to share a set of data with everyone. This is an internal data that Tmall gave to our middle-aged and elderly c-product merchants. It analyzed the middle-aged and elderly male and female users of Tmall from 2018 to 2019. Pain points and problems. Clothing is the biggest match among them, so we take clothing as an example.
The core pain points are: At present, the elderly consumers think that the details page information on Tmall is not accurate enough; the search results are not accurate; the product types are not rich enough, not novel, the quality requirements are higher, and the return and exchange are troublesome.
The problem exposed here is the similarity of the products, and the search results are not what I want.
This gives us a new inspiration, that is, do not suffocate traffic, do not simply add words with large traffic to the title, this will instead reduce the weight of the product and interfere with user choice.
In addition, you can't just want to be cheap, but you need to improve brand power and product bargaining power through quality.
The problem with returns is that mothers are unwilling to contact the courier. We have observed a very strange phenomenon, that is, the return rate of middle-aged and elderly clothing is higher than that of young women. The return rate of young women's clothing is generally 15% -18%, while the return rate of middle-aged and elderly clothing can reach 20%.
The typical reason is that you can't get the size of the mother with your children, buy two at a time, and then return the inappropriate ones.
I divided the upgrade of consumer behavior in the middle-aged and elderly e-commerce into four upgrades:
Consumption Will Escalate-From "Don't Spend Money" to "I Will Do It Myself"
Consumption Concept Upgrade-From "High Cost Performance" to "High Personality"
Consumption Channel Upgrade-From "Reading Pictures and Reading Characters" to "Video Live Broadcasting"
Consumer Role Upgrades-From "Shop Members" to "Super Fans"
The first escalation of consumption willingness is from letting children spend money to spending money on their own initiative. Here is a set of data. Since 2015, the proportion of elderly people in the consumer group has been increasing, which means that the active consumption awareness of the elderly customer group has continued to increase.
The change in consumption philosophy lies in the fact that you have to buy what you like from the cheapest. This is a decision-making change.
Consumption channels are also an obvious change from graphics to live video. Although the elderly are not the biggest users of Douyin and Faster, these two channels are the most sticky and the most efficient channels for transmission. The content related to the elderly on these two platforms is mainly fashion wear.
Here are some cases. The video content of a Douyin number is a slide show of clothing wearing pictures, which has achieved a high growth of fans within three months. There is also a vibrato of an 87-year-old local lady who wears casual clothes, but the content conveys a message that women's love for beauty is regardless of age, and this demand always exists.
The upgrade of consumer roles is from store members to super fans. Some of my loyal fans have followed us since the beginning of my business. Not only are they supported by actions, but they also give some opinions and suggestions for product upgrades. At the end of the sharing, I would like to say eight words: operate with heart and care with love!

Source: AgeClub Author: Di Kwai satisfied that the founder of the brand

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