A Brief Analysis of Community Economy
Part 1: What is Community Economy?
“Community” is not a new concept. From the most primitive clan society to current internet community, community has existed for thousands of years. But community economy is developed as a new forms of commerce until recent years.
In recent years, with the prevalence of internet, it is easier for people to establish relationship with each other by utilizing all kinds of social tools. A lot of social chains based on the same interest, hobbies, position and needs are emerged. That is what we called “community” now.
Then,what is community economy?
Community is an organization where people get together because of something in common, common ground can be the same territory, the same interests , the same ages or something like that. Community economy is a channel model, which establishes a highly interactive group based on the common ground, then selling products which is highly consistent to that common ground to group members to achieve high conversion rate.
Part 2: Case Study of Community Economy
Let’s see 2 cases to have a better understanding about it.
Case 1 Chongma Neighbors Group
There is an interesting fresh food e-commerce platform called Chongma Neighbors Group in Shanghai.When most of fresh food e-commerce platform focus on occupying national market, Chongma Neighbors Group choose a small corner to start with and form its business base in the way of community economy.
In 2014, the founder “Chongma” launched a marketing campaign to invite her neighbors to join her WeChat group. Because they are all neighbors and also have a certain sense of trust, everyone is willing to join that group.In this way, Chongma Neighbors Group attract 20 to 30 neighbors to join and complete the accumulation of seed users and form a larger and larger community.
There are two common ground which promotes forming of this community. One is common interest. Everyone is concerned about food security issues and eager to having delicious but safe fruits. Another is common territory. Everyone all lives in the same neighborhood..
These two common ground solve two main problems with which fresh food e-commerce platforms are faced.One is inventory problem. There must be inventory problems if we purchase fruits first and then selling them. On the contrary, Chongma Neighbors Group collect members needs first in the WeChat group, then purchase according to needs, which solve inventory problems, Another is logistic problems. For those large fresh food e-commerce platforms, even there is only one customer in a city, they all require a complicated and perfect logistic systems. But Chongma Neighbors Group are different. Because customers are all neighbors, so it is very easy for delivery, which reduces logistic cost in a great sense.
Case 2 I Am Alpha M
I Am Alpha M is the brain child of male image consultant and male style expert, Aaron Marino. In 2006, Aaron noticed that there is no high quality consulting service for male image. And he is an expert in this field and have some ideas about that. Thus , he made a series of videos about how to transform male image and post them on YouTube. By the way, YouTube was founded in 2005, so it is still at the stage of development in 2006, which also contributed to a very low follow cost. Aaron’s videos happen to match the market needs, so his fans grew rapidly.
Aaron find business opportunity in it and founded I Am Alpha M. He started post videos on YouTube constantly. Slogan of Alpha M. is “Realize your true potential.” on YouTube, which matches a bunch of male users who are lacking confidence and also help these community find a common pursuit and belief. Up to now, Alpha M.has more than 3 million subscribers and 7 million videos. And it is still growing at the speed of 3 or 4 videos per week.
Apart from continuously updating new contents and repeatedly stressing that slogan, Aaron also create a site to sell his original courses. At the mean time, Aaron also attracted a group of seed users of his gym because of his fitness contents on Alpha M..Recently, he also create his male hair-care brand—Pete&Petro.
Aaron’s strategy is utilizing high quality contents to accumulate enough fans. Due to his contents closely match with his audience, so when he started selling his course and operating his gym, he can yield twice the result with half of the effort.
Part 3: How to Do Community Marketing in Practice?
These two cases have one thing in common, that is they all use principle of community economy. So you may wonder how to start community economy. I believe there are 3 steps to follow. First of all, find something in common. Then, utilize a tool to accumulate these group of people, tools can be Facebook, whats app, WeChat and so on. Last but not least, offer the right product which closely match with these group.
Take Buyerparty xxx City Group as an example. Buyerparty is a free tool for helping global buyers and sellers do business and achieve a win-win situation. Our target audience are mainly small business owners, physical store owners, online shop owners, designers, manufacturers etc.. So when you create a Buyerparty xxx City Group, you ought to include all these target audience into your groups first. As for tools, Facebook or whats app is a great choice. Of course, choice of tools should also based on user habit in your area, because some countries may prefer using Line as a tool for instant communication. Choosing the right tool is also an important factor for success. After that, you need to offer the right “product” for your group members. Some products on Buyerparty.com is developed according to target audiences’ needs, so you can initiate group buying by sharing products on Buyerparty.com directly. Except from physical product, Buyerparty’s culture is also the right product for audiences. You may also need to share something related to Buyerparty’s culture. Cultural identity is a significant part for retaining users. If your group members don’t have the same cultural identity, they will purchase from you once or twice, but later on, they will leave. Thus, making sure your members have the same cultural identity is also important element for users retention.
At the initial stage of community marketing, the biggest difficulty you will encounter is acculumating accruate users. It’s hard, but later on you will find that it’s worthwhile.