During our recent Momentum Academy China Leadership Immersion, we visited Mixc to understand the current retail landscape.
We hear a lot about “involution” or “卷“ about the companies in China, but you don’t really feel it until you see it for yourself.
With more than 30 coffee and bubble stores, each store tried to outdo each other with value propositions of “selection, speed, quality, savings” (多快好省) – and some are even embracing the “fun” (趣 ) element which we have shared in our TikTok Shop Playbook Report.
13 DE Marzo, a store formed in Paris, with a Spanish name and Chinese founders, is one such example of how brands are incorporating “fun” into their business strategies.
When you walk past the store, the first thing is the crowd waiting, and the amount of teddy bears.
Most people are waiting for their coffee/ bubble tea/ice cream.
Of course, you use the mini-app on WeChat to make your order. And the drink is much pricer, compared to the other stores in the mall.
The reason is that you get a teddy bear attached to your drink.
The operation is intricate; after preparing the drink, each teddy bear must be delicately affixed to the cup. This is an operational bottleneck. The wait time for my drink was 40 mins.
The coffee counter is a small section at the front of the store, and there’s still a lot more to see as you wait for your coffee.
13 Demarzo’s main business is actually not coffee/ tea but unique clothing, with their signature bear. The company’s value proposition is definitely not to compete on “savings” or “speed”.
Their business strategy of selling coffee/ tea with clothing is not new, but the way it has been executed shows the involution and customer centricity that they value.
In a market where competition is so fierce, brands are innovating new ways to tell their stories and attract fickle customers spoilt for choice.
I may not recall the taste of the coffee, but the 13 De Marzo bear sits on my table today. And the coffee experience has become a core memory that I continue to share with my friends today.
More coming up soon. Reach out to us at a[email protected] to find out more about what we saw in China.