The price war is getting more and more fierce, and the express delivery outlets are suffering from "scalper dependence"

The price war is getting more and more fierce, and the express delivery outlets are suffering from "scalper dependence"

Interface News Reporter | White Sails

Interface News Editor |

Low-price pickup, cross-regional receipt, poor service quality... Behind these express industry problems, express scalpers are indispensable. However, in Yiwu, Jieyang, Guangzhou and other areas with the most concentrated express business volume, this group is becoming the "key person" for the survival of express delivery outlets.

The owner of an outlet told Jiemian News that with the decline in business volume growth this year, the price war is becoming more and more fierce. Especially under the high pressure of the business volume assessment of the headquarters, the express outlets are also willing to pick up the goods from the scalpers, and the two sides hit it off.

While being banned, he held up half the sky

"Yiwu has a large number of express outlets, and the business volume provided by scalpers can reach more than 8 or 9 percent", "Our region is mainly to undertake clothing e-commerce parts in Guangzhou, and the business volume of scalpers accounts for about 7 or 8 percent." "This is what Interface News recently learned from express outlets and express scalpers in different regions.

Express scalpers have existed for many years, according to industry sources, around 2018, express scalpers have become more and more rampant, and various places have strengthened rectification.

But this year, the degree of "encroachment" of express scalpers on the market is also intensifying. Wang Jie, a person in charge of an express delivery outlet in Jinhua, Zhejiang, told Jiemian News that this year, his outlets prefer to use express scalpers, and the business volume collected through scalpers has exceeded half, especially during the Double 11 period, which accounts for a higher proportion of business volume. In previous years, the number of scalpers in this outlet was only about 20%.

He also said that large customers seem to be the core resources of outlets, but it is difficult for outlets to make money from large customers, so this year's large customers of outlets are basically in the hands of scalpers.

The profit model of express scalpers is very simple, their source of profit is the price difference, as long as the price of the express single ticket that the scalper gets from the express delivery outlets is lower than the single ticket price paid by the merchant, it is profitable.

The larger the customer, the lower the price of the single ticket of the express delivery, and the relatively high price of the small customer, which is the main source of profit for the express scalper. "Scalpers can't make money from big customers, they just help our company do volume. The above-mentioned person in charge said. It is precisely because of these reasons that outlets are not afraid to give up large customers to express scalpers, and also promote express scalpers to grasp more and more "market share".

E-commerce merchants also tend to find scalpers to deliver goods. A merchant told Jiemian News that 70% of his goods are shipped through express scalpers, and the main reason is that the unit price of express delivery obtained by scalpers is lower.

Network "scalper dependence"

The reason why express scalpers are more "hot" this year is that the express headquarters has increased the business assessment of outlets, which is difficult to complete. Once the assessment is not completed, the network will face a fine from the headquarters.

In the past few years, when express companies are desperately pursuing market share, the difficulty of business volume assessment has gradually escalated, making many outlets miserable. Even in a price war, outlets may not be able to complete the task.

Especially this year, the growth rate of express business volume has gradually declined, and the difficulty of express delivery outlets has increased. According to the data of the State Post Bureau, the growth rate of express delivery business volume this year is not as fast as in previous years, and the growth rate in the first three quarters of 2023 is only 16.4%. Even during this year's Double 11, the growth rate of business volume of express outlets did not bring surprises.

In addition to the assessment set up by the headquarters to make the outlets have a sense of crisis, the express outlets themselves will also set their own business growth plans, and configure automated equipment accordingly. However, once there are signs of overcapacity, the outlets need to "fill up" at any cost to balance the operating costs of the equipment.

The person in charge of an express delivery outlet near Yiwu City said in an interview with Jiemian News that he spent more than 10 million yuan this year to introduce two sets of equipment, and its production capacity can reach 1 million orders per day, but now the business volume of the outlet is only 500,000 orders per day.

Whether it is the headquarters assessment or its own development plan, it is necessary for the outlets to continuously improve the business volume, and the express scalpers with the order volume have become the "secret" partners of the outlets.

A courier scalper in Guangzhou told Jiemian News that most of the business of many outlets needs to be completed by scalpers to avoid fines from the headquarters. 

Not only that, express scalpers can also reduce the cost of customer acquisition at outlets. "We prefer to pick up scalpers. The person in charge of the outlets in Jinhua City said frankly that there are several advantages to receiving the goods of the scalpers, one is that the goods of the scalpers do not need the vehicles of the outlets to pull, so they can save some of the funds of the vehicles; they do not need to be specialized in the collection and pulling of goods, which can save manpower; the third is that there is no need for the outlets to directly face the customer, and the risk of some customers can be avoided.

At the same time, express outlets and express scalpers have formed a tacit understanding, "the outlets' own scalpers will not pry the outlets themselves are already developing customers, but from other peers to grab market share." A practitioner told Interface News. 

If you can't stop scalpers, you can't stop the risk

Express scalpers can solve the problems faced by the current express outlets, but they also bring risks to the industry. Therefore, policies continue to be introduced across the country to curb and crack down on express scalpers. 

According to a number of practitioners, express scalpers win with price advantages, so they are also the "backbone" of the express price war. In the process of actual operation, the express scalpers who have many customers in their hands and the express outlets have sufficient confidence in negotiation, and whoever gives the low price will hand over the goods to whom.

However, Gong Fuzhao, general manager of Double One Consulting Company and an expert in the express delivery industry, told Jiemian News that when the price is getting lower and lower, the profit margin of scalpers will become less and less, and many outlets will inevitably be direct customers in order to survive. "Scalpers mainly use information asymmetry to turn spreads. For example, the price of the scalper to the customer is 2.4 yuan/ticket, but the quotation to the outlet is 2 yuan/ticket, and the difference in the middle is the money that the scalper wants to make, and the customer does not know the reserve price of the scalper. Gong Fuzhao said.

Cross-regional collection is also one of the chaos caused by express scalpers. In the express delivery industry, due to the different policies in different regions and the cost control capabilities of outlets, the price of express delivery is not the same. Therefore, in areas with high pickup prices, merchants will find express scalpers from areas with low pickup prices, even if they need to bear the cost of long-distance transportation in the middle, they can still reduce logistics costs. However, this mode of operation has directly disrupted the order of the express delivery market in various regions, and it is also the focus of relevant law enforcement departments to crack down on express scalpers in recent years.

In addition, some express scalpers ran away after getting the express delivery fees paid by the merchants in advance, bringing irreparable losses to the merchants. Such things have happened many times, and because there is no contract agreement, etc., the merchant can only consider himself unlucky.

Based on the above-mentioned drawbacks, the efforts to crack down on express scalpers in various regions are also increasing. According to reports, since the beginning of this year, Hunan, Jiangsu and other postal administrations have carried out a series of rectification work around the express "scalpers", disorderly competition in the express delivery market and other issues.

(At the request of the interviewee, Wang Jie is a pseudonym)

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