Why does Tesla make a lot of bars

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Author: Chen Yongwei
A few days ago, pinduoduo and Tesla, the two star enterprises, jointly staged a comedy.
On July 21, pinduoduo, together with the flagship store of yimaiche on its platform, launched a group buying activity of 10000 people with limited time and seconds. Like pinduoduo’s consistent style, this activity is also subsidized by pinduoduo. If the second kill is successful, users can buy Tesla cars at a price between 20000 and 40000 below the official guide price. However, it wasn’t long before news of the event was released that Tesla issued a statement in the face. Tesla has not cooperated with yimaiche or pinduoduo in this group purchase activity, nor has it had any entrusted sales service with yimaiche or pinduoduo, nor has it sold any of the company’s vehicles to yimaiche or pinduoduo in connection with the group purchase. If consumers have any disputes or rights and interests damaged due to the above group buying activities, Tesla will not bear any responsibility Responsibility.
However, face to face, a car 20000 to 40000 discount is really moving. What’s more, pinduoduo is a big platform. If you really buy a car, can it really make people unable to pick up the car? In view of this, many users participated in the event.
During the event, a customer in Wuhan was very lucky to kill a “Tesla China model 32019 standard extended range rear drive upgrade” car. According to the introduction on Tesla’s official website, the original price of the car is 291800 yuan, and the discount price is 2715500 yuan. Through the second kill, he can get the car only by paying 251800 yuan. The rest of the price difference of nearly 20000 yuan will be paid by pinduoduo’s “10 billion subsidy” project.
However, when he went to pick up the car on August 13, he hit a snag – Tesla refused to deliver when he inadvertently mentioned that he had received pinduoduo’s subsidy. The reason given by Tesla is that the company stipulates that it is not allowed to resell the vehicles produced by the company. In the vehicle purchase agreement signed by Tesla and customers, Tesla has the right to unilaterally terminate any order involving resale.
At this point, people may be confused. How can a “resale” come out when users pick up their cars directly from Tesla stores? It turns out that in this activity, the user is authorized to buy a car on behalf of the user to purchase on behalf of Tesla. Once the second kill is successful, yibuya will place an order with Tesla on behalf of the user. There was no problem with this operation – in fact, on August 16, a Shanghai user successfully mentioned the car without any obstacles – but the Wuhan user was a little bit behind his back. Because Tesla found that in the online registration information of car purchase, the contact information of staff who are suitable to buy a car appears in the contact information, which has become the “iron evidence” in Tesla’s hands. Based on this point, Tesla believes that the deal is to buy a car by pinduoduo and Yiyi. First, it bought the car from itself, and then sold it to users. It is a proper resale. Tesla’s attitude is very tough because he thinks he has grasped the handle. It gives consumers two options: either cancel the order and place a new order, or go to court to sue. Choose one of the two options. You are at your disposal!
Faced with Tesla’s tough attitude, pinduoduo immediately issued a statement expressing its support for users. Pinduoduo’s statement said that users’ orders were placed directly from Tesla’s official website, and pinduoduo and yibuyi only helped complete the online registration process with the original intention of serving users. In the process, there was no resale as claimed by Tesla, so of course there was no violation of Tesla’s rules. In this case, Tesla’s refusal to deliver goods is detrimental to the interests of consumers. Therefore, if users really want to sue Tesla, pinduoduo will provide legal aid.
As soon as Tesla’s “refusing to pay” was reported by the media, it immediately set off an uproar in the society. For this incident, the attitude of netizens appeared very obvious tear.
Those who support Tesla believe that it is Tesla’s consistent business style to insist on direct marketing and refuse to sell through other channels. At the beginning of pinduoduo’s activity, Tesla has issued a statement and warning, but pinduoduo is still stubborn and continues the activity, forcing Tesla, who is not willing to participate in the activity, into the activity. Due to these reasons, pinduoduo is unreasonable. The whole event is a well-designed “porcelain touch” and marketing show.
Quite pinduoduo’s side believes that in the whole incident, pinduoduo’s own money for activities did not harm Tesla’s interests. The whole purchase process is completely in accordance with Tesla’s official procedures, so there are no violations. Pinduoduo is playing the role of a third-party payment rather than a second-party peddler. Accordingly, pinduoduo has no problem, users have no problem, all problems are tough in Tesla.
Why Tesla insists on direct marketing
After the occurrence of “refusing to pay”, many “melon eating people” said they did not understand. In many people’s eyes, Tesla’s toughness and obstinacy seems a little inconceivable. Pay more for subsidies to let users buy Tesla cars. This is not to let pinduoduo pay money to do a big free advertising for themselves? You know, pinduoduo is already the second largest e-commerce platform in China. If such a large platform is allowed to pay for free advertising, how many businesses can’t ask for it? How can Tesla not only do not know how to cherish it, but also have to do such a thing, which makes everyone unhappy?
Some people think that Tesla is not short of money now, so they are not cold to pinduoduo’s olive branch. It seems reasonable to say that, after all, in recent years, Tesla’s share price has soared, and its leader, Elon Musk, has been promoted to become the fourth richest person in the world. It seems reasonable to ignore the so-called “big money and big money”. But is this the truth?

In fact, this is not the first time Tesla has been indifferent to e-commerce platforms. As early as 2014, Tesla had had a bad time with tmall platform. In that year, Tesla brand entered tmall for the first time. In order to promote the brand, Tesla China planned to cooperate with tmall to participate in the “double 11” of that year. However, the plan was quickly rejected after it reached US headquarters. Until now, people can only buy Tesla parts on tmall platform. If you want to buy a car, you have to go to its official website. If we can explain Tesla’s rejection of today’s pinduoduo with “no difference in money”, it would be far fetched to use the same logic to explain why Tesla refused tmall at that time. After all, Tesla was only a company that was not so profitable at that time, and even muskbones were regarded as cheaters because of the company’s operating conditions.
So, what are the reasons for Tesla to keep operating directly and not to sell on a commission basis at the expense of large platforms?
The first benefit is the cost. We know that in the process of goods from the factory to the hands of consumers, there will be huge circulation costs. With each additional layer of sales, the cost is a little more. If these links can be cut off, huge cost savings can be achieved. In this way, for consumers, it is possible to buy vehicles at a lower price, while for Tesla, it is expected to get more profits.
The second advantage is that we can better grasp the information of consumers. In the era of digital economy, consumers’ information is a valuable resource. For a car manufacturer like Tesla, it’s very important to know the user’s specific preferences and who likes what kind of car. With this information, they can be more targeted product design, better meet the needs of users. In this case, if an enterprise adopts the mode of platform consignment, it will, to a large extent, hand over a large number of valuable information to the platform. When they need the data, they also need to buy it from the platform – in fact, there are many precedents in reality, and some platforms have reselled the data generated by the merchants who have settled in the platform to obtain profits.
The third advantage is that through direct sales, they can better grasp the pricing power and better control the “tonality” of the product. Many beginners of economics will be confused when they learn about the pricing strategy of enterprises. Because according to the theory of economics, in order to maximize profits, enterprises usually set the price at a higher position. For example, the cost of a commodity is 3 yuan, and some users in the market are willing to pay 4 yuan for it, but according to the optimization result, the enterprise should set the price at 5 yuan. This seems to be very difficult to understand – according to the market situation, if you sell one more product at a price of 3.5 yuan, it can earn 0.5 yuan more. Why not?
In fact, the reason why enterprises prefer to sell less than to keep a high price is that the extra cheap goods will produce externalities. Once other consumers in the market see that the enterprise has sold a product for 3.5 yuan, their evaluation of the product changes. Even if some consumers are willing to bid 5 yuan or more for goods, when they see this fact, they will immediately reduce their willingness to pay. In this way, the brand image or “tonality” of the whole product will be destroyed. Although companies may sell more goods, the profit margin per unit of goods will decrease. On the whole, the total profits they can get are likely to decline.
For a brand like Tesla, the “tonality” of the brand is very important. From the nature, Tesla has a strong luxury attribute. Compared with its use value, brand premium accounts for a large part of its price. The maintenance of brand premium depends largely on the price itself. Therefore, from the perspective of the enterprise, to achieve a higher profit, the first priority is to keep the high price of the brand, so as to maintain the brand image of the enterprise.
Obviously, for such a goal, it is difficult to guarantee the mode of channel distribution or platform consignment. For the platform and channel providers, the sales volume and the Commission of each order are important. As for the brand image itself, it is not so important. It is precisely because of such differences in decision-making goals between distributors and brand suppliers that in reality, many brand suppliers are not willing to let channels or platforms distribute their products. Only in this way, they can firmly grasp the pricing power and maintain the control of brand image.
It should be pointed out here that compared with other e-commerce platforms, Tesla may be more difficult to accept pinduoduo. The reason is simple: no matter how pinduoduo explains it, in reality, its image is largely associated with “low price”. Once Tesla makes a concession and acquiesces in pinduoduo’s behavior, it will be equivalent to recognizing that its own brand is also a cheap product. It is not so easy to ask high prices for other consumers.
Why pinduoduo likes Tesla
Since the proud Tesla is so unwilling to cooperate with pinduoduo in order to maintain its “tonality”, why does pinduoduo have to “touch porcelain” Tesla and find it hard to find it? In fact, pinduoduo did so out of helplessness to a large extent.
As a new upstart of e-commerce, pinduoduo’s growth speed can almost be described as “terror”. The company, which was established in 2015, successfully went public in only three years. Then in another year, it surpassed the established e-commerce giant Jingdong in terms of Gmv and market value, and became the second largest e-commerce company in China. Why can pinduoduo achieve such impressive results? Of course, there are many reasons, but the most fundamental one is that it chooses the market it wants to cultivate deeply at the beginning.

As we all know, unlike the traditional e-commerce platforms such as tmall and Jingdong, which focus on the first and second tier cities, pinduoduo has focused its strategic focus on the so-called “sinking market” from the very beginning. Compared with the first and second tier cities, the user base here is larger, but the competition is much smaller. As a result, under the neglect, indifference and even contempt of traditional e-commerce, pinduoduo took the lead in taking root in this huge market by adopting the method of low price + social group building.
But what to do next? It is true that the “sinking market” has a large number of users, but compared with the first and second tier cities, the price that these users can bear is still much lower. Correspondingly, the profit from this market is much lower. Therefore, if you only bet on this market, its possible development space is very limited. Especially for enterprises like pinduoduo, although it has achieved a huge Gmv, if it can not successfully prove that it can make profits, it is very difficult to maintain the market’s good expectations for it in the long run. From this point of view, it can not just stick to the “sinking market”. More importantly, through the success of pinduoduo, Alibaba, Jingdong and other traditional e-commerce giants have realized the importance of “sinking the market”. In recent years, they have begun to intensify efforts to develop “sinking market”. In the face of this situation, it is becoming more and more difficult for pinduoduo to stabilize the existing market.
The only way out for pinduoduo is to “rise”. Starting from the “sinking market”, it will encircle the city through the countryside and return to the first and second tier cities dominated by traditional e-commerce giants. However, all this is not easy. Alibaba, Jingdong and other traditional e-commerce giants have been operating in the first and second tier cities for a long time, with a complete supply chain, logistics and service system. However, as for the “sinking market”, all these need to be rebuilt. More importantly, in terms of brand image, these traditional e-commerce giants are more in tune with the temperament of the city.
It should be said that pinduoduo is not really worried about its hardware disadvantages. If you want to spend money, it still has capital. It’s not that easy to change the image of a brand. Because pinduoduo’s starting strategy is mainly low price, so in a long period of time, its platform is full of some cheap brands, and the number of famous brands is small. Over time, this kind of management strategy has produced a kind of path dependence. When big brands see that there are so many cheap brands on pinduoduo, they will be afraid that once they enter pinduoduo, they will damage their brand image.
In this way, pinduoduo is in trouble. If an e-commerce platform is to be tall, what it sells is the most critical. If all the big brands are not willing to cooperate with them, it is almost impossible for the platform to establish its own image successfully. So, how can we break this dilemma? From now on, pinduoduo has at least taken the following measures:
One is to invite each other sincerely and do brand work directly. After all, pinduoduo has developed into a large platform through which enterprises can achieve huge sales. Therefore, under the strong invitation of pinduoduo, many enterprises finally moved their hearts.
Second, actively start to create their own brand. Since many big brands are indifferent to pinduoduo, pinduoduo will take the initiative to support a number of new brands. Since 2018, pinduoduo has started the “new brand plan” to support 1000 high-quality manufacturing enterprises covering various industries.
The third is to make full use of the partner’s resources. The typical event of this strategy is the “Shuanghuanglian” not long ago, that is, the cooperation between pinduoduo and Gome. As a traditional large-scale home appliance seller, Gome has a large number of sales authorization of well-known home appliance brands. By attracting Gome to cooperate and settle in, pinduoduo can let consumers buy big brand home appliances without sales authorization on their own platform.
In addition to the above “gentle, courteous and thrifty” methods, pinduoduo also used some sword to take the edge. For example, as discussed in this article, let users buy Tesla and subsidize it by themselves. In this way, although Tesla still does not authorize pinduoduo to sell its products, in the process, consumers have a solid sense of pinduoduo’s existence. To a certain extent, this is enough for pinduoduo.
Of course, with good luck, pinduoduo may gain more through such a strategy. In fact, pinduoduo has used the same strategy once in this year’s Shanghai may 5 Shopping Festival. At 8:00 p.m. on May 4, pinduoduo launched the first batch of 30 SAIC Group brand models, including Cadillac xt5 luxury, Volkswagen Tiguan and Volkswagen tuang, at a price of 50% off. The official direct subsidy for each vehicle is less than 100000 yuan and the highest is more than 150000 yuan. After the activity was launched, 30 vehicles were in seconds. However, just after the above news was released, Feng Dan, director of Cadillac’s marketing department, commented in his circle of friends that Cadillac sold was a new car, and reminded consumers to pay attention to the atmosphere, which was very unpleasant for a while. But before long, Cadillac issued a statement, saying that the campaign was launched by pinduoduo and its retailer Bailian Group, and that the vehicles were genuine. At the same time, thanks to pinduoduo for its subsidies. In this way, pinduoduo is equal to the official approval of Cadillac. If similar operations are to be carried out in the future, the resistance will be much smaller.
Perhaps it is because of such a successful precedent that pinduoduo again adopted a similar routine this time, and Tesla made a move first and then followed. But who would have expected Tesla to be so rigid and uncooperative. But what about that? In fact, only 5 cars participated in the event. Even if it is calculated according to the upper limit of 40000 subsidies per vehicle, pinduoduo will have to pay out only 200000 yuan in total. With this 200000, we have successfully swept a wave of hot search in the whole network. From the perspective of advertising, this should be regarded as a very successful case.
Two enlightenments and one prediction

Through the above analysis, we can see that whether pinduoduo insists on the popularity of Tesla, or Tesla refuses to cooperate with pinduoduo, there are its business logic and corresponding company intention behind it. I don’t want to comment more on who is right and who is wrong. Perhaps it is more meaningful to summarize some enlightenment from this case. Limited to space, here are only two points.
The first point is the initial positioning of the platform, which is very important for the later development of the platform. We know that the most important feature of the platform is that it has two sides. The characteristics of users on one side are very important for users on the other side. When considering bilateral issues, scholars mainly focus on the number of users, and think that the evaluation of the platform mainly depends on the number of users on the opposite side. However, reality has proved that in addition to the number of users, the characteristics of users themselves are also very important. Take pinduoduo as an example. At the beginning, pinduoduo was positioned as a “sinking market”. Therefore, it selected a large number of cheap brands at the beginning of its establishment to attract consumers in the “sinking market”. This measure is of course very effective. In a short period of time, it has not only successfully attracted a large number of consumers, but also attracted a large number of businesses with accumulated consumers through the “rebound effect” of the platform. However, due to the initial selection, the later settled businesses and consumer groups will have strong path dependence characteristics. In contrast, those low-cost brands are more willing to enter and compete more, while big brands will be very cautious about entering. In fact, we can see similar phenomena from the development of other platforms. Tiktok tiktok and Kwai Kwai are all short video platforms, for example, but because of the “truthful” strategy, the gradual tonal is “real”. And the jitter starts with the idealization of the voice, so its image becomes more and more ideal. As a matter of fact, what kind of platform is formed is not superior or inferior in itself. After all, everyone should have his own platform, which platform has a huge market. However, different types of platforms may have different comparative advantages when choosing the later strategy. For example, Kwai tiktok idealized settings, so that traffic concentration in the head, so advertising has more advantages; and the fast, its authenticity, the development of the network of equal, but for the development of electricity providers left more imagination. In this sense, if we want to run a platform, we should spend some time at the beginning to think about the tonality of the platform and the future development. Because once the tonality of the platform is formed, it is very difficult to change it.
The second point concerns the so-called monopoly and antitrust. In recent years, the development of platform economy is particularly rapid, which makes people have great fear of platform. For example, many experts point out that when the scale of the platform reaches a certain degree, it will form a huge market dominant position, and then can arbitrarily decide whether the merchants can enter the platform. Of course, this view has some truth, but it is very one-sided. In fact, in the game between the platform and the merchants, it is uncertain who is strong or weak and who takes the initiative. For example, pinduoduo did make some small moves in the event of “refusing to cross the border”, but Tesla is obviously more powerful. There are even comments that Tesla refuses to sell in other channels, and the practice of limiting the resale price even violates the anti monopoly law. Of course, such accusations should be too harsh. In my opinion, although Tesla’s insistence on its own operation is stubborn, it may be too serious to say that it monopolizes. However, it may be enlightening for us to rethink the relationship between platforms and enterprises.
In addition to the above two points, I want to make a little prediction finally. In my opinion, pinduoduo now frequently takes similar actions to let users purchase goods not settled on the platform through activities and pay their own money to subsidize. The purpose is likely to be more than simply improving the image of the platform. It may also be experimenting with third-party payments. In fact, as long as we think a little bit, we will find that the role played by many companies in these activities is quite similar to that of WeChat and Alipay. Users do not order and pay by themselves, but by pinduoduo to order and pay. If there are more such activities and more users are used to such operations, then a third-party payment or third-party service pinduoduo will appear. Cannot do without a lot of brands when people buy these brands, but it is also very difficult for them to buy these brands. It seems that we cannot do without WeChat payment and Alipay.