March 29, 2019, Yipin Shengxian (Yipin, 谊品生鲜), an Anhui based Fresh grocery discount shop, announced it has completed Series B funding round of CNY 2 billion. This round was led by Tencent, with participation from Capital Today (今日资本), Longzhu Capital (龙珠资本 backed by Meituan Dianping) and Eastern Bell Venture Capital (钟鼎资本).
To be more specific, Yipin is doing discounted fresh food business, a typical model of community fresh food stores. The features of this type are small in size, fresh food takes the majority of the product offerings, low in average per order price and frequent purchases.
It has 2 major business units which are Yipin Shengxian for fresh products and Yipin Daojia (谊品到家)
Yipin Shengxian is essentially an offline discount grocery store. Unlike other traditional grocery stores, it operates 24 hours. The main highlights are cheap and fresh. Each store usually selected around 1,000-2,000 SKUs. Mature stores could possibly have 3,000+ SKUs.
The money raised from this round will be used to develop its new business line - Yiping Daojia. Daojia in Chinese means arriving home. Thus, this business unit will deliver fresh foods from stores to customers.
Daojia business unit started in March 2018. It is running on an O2O (online to offline) model meaning customers can place orders online and received the delivery or choose to pick up from stores later. For the online part, it set up its Mini program account on WeChat where users can buy the heavily discounted items and do the group buys. For the offline part, it has the Daojia stores, small stores where can be used as a warehouse and customers can pick up their purchases.
Ending September 2018, there are more than 170 stores. Each month, there will be more than 50 new stores, according to China Merchants Securities.
The company was founded in 2013 by JIANG Jianfei (江建飞). Before setting up Yipin, he worked as the eastern China area manager of Yonghui Supermarket, another Tencent-backed supermarket. When he resigned from Yonghui, another 5 employees followed him.
Ending 2018, Yipin has more than 400 offline stores, most of which are profitable and with healthy cash flows. It plans to open more than 1,000 stores this year.
Ending 2018, it has entered Chongqing, Wuhan, Chengdu, Beijing, Nanjing. The number of staff is more than 10,000.
It mainly focuses on tier 2 to 3 cities. In its main battlefield, Hefei (a city in Anhui province), it has served more than 2.5 million customers.
Partnership program and vertical supply chain are the two core advantages.
The partnership program is an innovation came up by Yipin to boost junior level employees' loyalty. This program allows the store staff to take some stakes which aim at boosting employees' involvement and lowering the costs for setting up a store via the asset-light model.
The vertical supply chain is based on the characteristics of the product which include purchase, retail, and B2B wholesale. This means Yipin will do the bulk purchase and then distribute them to the retail stores or B2B channels.
Fiercer competition from peers.