Source: CHEAA-run China Appliance magazine

Two months after Haier released its scenario-based brand Three Winged Bird, I meet Li Huagang, Vice President and Chief Experience Officer of Haier Group and General Manager of Haier Smart Home, at the recording site of AWE Cloud Forum on November 26, 2020. Speaking of the freshly released brand, Li Huagang is proud. He should be. The average sales value per customer of Three Winged Bird is up to 220,000 RMB. “It almost equals selling a car.” He says.

Selling scenarios like selling cars, how does Haier make it?

Three Winged Bird, a timely born scenario brand

Haier Smart Home is always ahead of its time when it comes to tapping into unmet demands. It is selling scenarios under the brand Three Winged Bird when most enterprises are still focusing on individual products and product-level intelligence.

“We saw the upgraded demands of users.” Li Huagang says, “Users want scenario-based solutions rather than individual products.”

Haier is not the only one who sees potential in scenarios, but it is the only one rolling out a scenario-based brand. Li Huagang reveals that Haier Smart Home has started its deployment of smart appliances 10 years ago. The growth of it has been witnessed by AWE. “We displayed voice-control refrigerators at AWE2015, established smart scenarios at AWE2016, and showcased our smart ecologies at AWE2017. At AWE2018 and AWE2019, we highlighted the connection of platforms. This year, AWE2020 did not open due to the pandemic. But we believe it’s time for the concept of smart home to become a reality in the 5G era. We release our scenario-based brand Three Winged Bird and hope it will enter every household. ” Li Huagang says.

The brand is not developed overnight. Behind it is the capabilities and insights of an enterprise. “What are the intelligent functions that users really want? What are the scenarios they really need?” Li Huagang shares with me two questions he constantly asks himself. “I have my answers. The real intelligence allows old people and kids to operate it handily, and the best part of intelligence is self-learning, which allows work to be done without any operation.”

Li Huagang reveals that the development of Three Winged Bird depends on three capabilities. “They are relatable scenarios, the “1+N” capability and last but not least, platform.” He adds that, “if your understanding of intelligence and scenarios is still limited to the addition of a 10 RMB Wi-Fi module, you will never come up with a solution.”

Three Winged Bird, a phoenix born in ashes

When asked about the process of building the three capabilities, Li Huagang says the hardships are beyond words. “The good thing is we hang in there and made it.” He says, “We did not know the answer is Three Winged Bird, but we were not afraid of adversity or sacrifice. We kept going. This is the willpower of Haier Smart Home. It runs in Haier’s veins.”

“The first capability is the hardest to build.” Li Huagang is frank. “What are relatable scenarios? Product engineers wrapping their head around it and connecting products together do not make relatable scenarios. Popular scenarios come from real life. ”

“So the first step is to transfer the mindset from a product engineer to a scenario engineer.” What is the mindset of a product engineer? Li Huagang explains with an example-the demonstration of a voice-control air conditioner before it hits the market. “The engineer says ‘please turn on the cooling mode’ to the air conditioner to activate it. This was the mindset of a product engineer, because the word cooling mode is not the term on your mind when you want to turn on an air conditioner.” It is this meticulous attitude that brings Haier closer and closer to establish scenarios that touch the hearts of consumers.

What are scenarios that touch the hearts of users? Li Huagang offers another case. “Making a Beijing Roast Duck needs more than 40 steps in a restaurant kitchen, but only 2 steps in the kitchen scenario of Three Winged Bird.” He explains that, “The first step is to say ‘I want to make Beijing roast duck’ to the APP of Haier Smart Home where best quality ducks have been put on shelf by Haier’s partners, and the second step is to put the duck into the oven. Through these two steps, users can enjoy an authentic Beijing roast duck at home. This is a scenario that touches the heart of consumers.”

Speaking of the “1+N” capability, Li Huagang says, 1 stands for the person whom consumers face while N stands for all the resource providers on the ecology chain including the provider that offers ducks. The resources depend on the needs of scenarios. “When a user wants a scenario solution, he only needs to talk with 1 person who connects with N resources from design, construction, maintenance to interaction. The whole process is seamless.” Li Huagang emphasizes that, all these resources cannot be offered by Haier alone. “Of course, it puts high requirements on Haier. Haier should not fall short in any aspect, be it category, brand or platform. Haier covers all of these, but it’s not enough to offer ‘1+N’ services.” Now there are thousands of partners on the platform of Three Winged Bird. But Li Huagang says, “I can’t say Three Winged Bird has got N resources, not now. To offer seamless experience and non-boundary ecology, Haier needs to involve more resource providers. ”

“The third capability is platform. With scenarios established, the next thing is where shall all the devices connect to and where shall all the interactions be? A platform is in need.” Li Huagang says, “Haier Smart Home rolled out a cloud platform in December 2019 that integrates scenarios, services, queries, contents as well as operators on the ecology chain. In less than a year, it has 1 million daily active users on it, showing strong customer loyalty, which I’m very proud of.”

Fast expansion of Three Winged Bird

In September 2019, the No.001 store of Haier Smart Home opened in Shanghai. A year later, Beijing No.001 store opened in September 2020 and Three Winged Bird was rolled out. Li Huagang plans to open Qingdao No.001 store in December this year. Though Shanghai No.001 store posted a whopping sales value of 0.17 billion RMB in its first year of operation and Beijing No.001 store 18 million RMB per month after two months of operation, Li Huagang believes the major function of these two stores is to flex muscles. “Shanghai No.001 store is our first attempt, Beijing the second, and Qingdao will be the third. The third store not only needs to flex muscles, but also boost sales. ” After Qingdao No.001 store opens, Shanghai and Beijing stores will be updated to the same level.

Apart from No.001 stores, Three Winged Bird experience stores are also set to open. On the day of interview, the brand’s first bathroom scenario experience store opens in Taizhou. “We plan to open 170 Three Winged Bird experience stores in 2020 and 1000 in 2021.” Li Huagang tells me.

The live streams on the platform of Three Winged Bird is also available for consumers to experience scenarios of the brand. “Through live streams, we want to attract more consumers to experience scenarios and influence their consumption philosophy.” Li Huagang adds that, “We do live streams but never in a celebrity-endorsed sales mode, because what we want to deliver to our consumers is the value of our products and scenarios, instead of the price.”

“All our efforts are done to meet the demands of users.” Li Huagang concludes that, “people always want good stuff. They only turn to cheaper ones when they do not understand the real value of the product.”

“The pandemic has been a huge test for every industry player. The industry looks prosperous, but the average price is going down. We hope the industry can go back to a healthy, value-centered development path soon.” Li Huagang reveals that, “at AWE2021, we’ll showcase the scenario solutions of Three Winged Bird. I hope more home appliance enterprises will get involved in the field and offer better solutions to users. In this way, the industry can rise. ”

“AWE, as one of the most important platforms of home appliances and consumer electronics, has evolved from a learner to a leader. China’s home appliance industry will also step up our efforts to rise high.” Li Huagang says.