As new retail models come to the forefront, Changsha's convenience store market is booming with intense competition. It has become one of the city's strongest industries.
It has been reported that 1,000 Suning convenience stores will open in Hunan this year, with 60 percent located in Changsha. These stores are a part of Suning's smart retail development strategy.
Suning's convenience stores are an example of an "online to offline" business model. By introducing new technology and adopting smart retail methods, the online and offline sales of the company have equaled out. Forty percent of the company's products are delicatessens and 15 percent are fruit, which helps satisfy people's everyday needs. The online application "Suxiaotuan" and numerous storage facilities are useful tools for Suning's convenience stores. By ordering food on the app, people can have products collected and delivered to their doorstep in just half an hour.
Unlike traditional convenience stores, these new ones are located in office buildings, on business streets, or in new residential communities. They offer a bright and relaxing shopping environment and sell a variety of popular or imported products. People can find everything they need, including snacks, instant food, and daily commodities. They can even pick up train tickets and store mail there.
Despite an overall decline in brick-and-mortar, convenience stores are still in their prime. There are now 12,000 convenience stores and over 30 convenience store brands in Changsha. Most are family-run, from which chain stores are transferred. According to insiders, foreign convenience stores like 7-11, Lawson, and Family Mart have not yet entered the Changsha market. However, despite their success, convenience stores still need to improve their operating models, service quality, and supply chains.