Saturday, June 6, 2009

An interesting differentiator

In most consumer electronics stores the focus would be on range, pricing and of late it has been on in-store service and customer interaction. In that context, it was a pleasant surprise to see an advertisement of a store which has highlighted a latent consumer need and has used that as an USP.

Usually most such stores have one unit for display and either one more for purchase or not even that in the case of larger products, especially those which require installation. In the Indian context most products do require installation barring maybe things like the mixie, toaster or the hair dryer!

So, typically after a customer puts down, what is often an obscenely large sum of money the machinery swings into action. The store informs the delivery/ distribution centre of the purchase and they then schedule the delivery. But what if they don’t have any stock? Frantic calls to the company or distributor and hopefully the product is delivered to the retailers distribution point. The product then is received into the system (physically and in the IT system) of the retailer and then it is ready to be sent out for delivery. Phew! Imagine if just reading about this was so long, how long the actual process would take.

A shortcut would be to ask the distributor to deliver directly to the customer and then manage the paperwork to bring it into the retailer’s system to adjust it against the sale. But, that has issues and is not a preferred action plan.

So, as a consumer what do you experience? After paying the money and not hearing the door bell ring, you wonder why? Calls to the store give you vague answers as they are also usually not very clear when this whole process will be completed. If you are lucky you would have got the product without this hassle or just when your fuse is about to blow, the product arrives. Or you give up and when the product arrives, it is usually a mild surprise!

Now this chain has taken the entire fun out of this Russian roulette by promising a 98.9% same day delivery. But hey, hang on. The statement is just a statement. One does not know if it is a promise or a mention of their track record. And there are no little asterisks to indicate hidden meanings. So, it is up to the customer to interpret it the way they want.

Let’s come back to the customer’s mind. You see this advertisement. Notice this, but move on to check some of the prices mentioned. You find it interesting and you are also looking to buy a LCD TV or a walk in fridge or whatever. You also have memories of the previous time you purchased something and you got it almost on the first anniversary of the purchase. Suddenly, the 98.9% becomes a powerful hook. An excellent differentiator.

In a segment where promotions can also not be entirely at the discretion of the retailers and market Operating Price rules (MOP – Will explain in another post) and most stores rapidly changing their looks to offer an experience, this is a true differentiator.

Hats off to whoever thought of this idea. I would have liked to have done this first. But, I admire this innovative and subtle differentiator. This store is now redefining the rules of the game and drawing customers away from a pure pricing play platform.



Jugaad_Owner said...

Too good to have a blog like this

Anonymous said...

Read ur article on "interesting differentiator" was indeed true...some ads manage to touch the core of the consumer's problem with a simple solution.

What do you think of promotion &stock planning in retailing..As a customer as well as a retail personnel, I have noticed excited customers being turned away on offers due to stock issues!!! (BIG DAY)I think there is a lot of scope while designing a simple promotion as we need to envisage every step involved till execution.

I started understanding the true science behind this...An offer has to be implemented on the right sku at the right time with all other parameters (supply, replenishment, cost of sku etc) being stable...It is indeed more complex than balancing a chemical equation!!!

Awaiting your take on this in your next post.

- Deepa

puresunshine said...

interesting ad. definitely works from a customer's POV. it also drives them to go to the particular store instead of a place where they might have to make a tough choice between too many models, which will again be influenced by the availability/delivery on the same day.

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