Sunday, July 28, 2013

Indian Retail - Point & Counter Point: Can interesting formats like this be viable?

Soda or carbonated drinks have been around for a long, long time and is often consumed under medical pretext. People tend to drink a carbonated drink to relieve flatulence although the CO2 in the drink does not really do anything to actually help!

During an earlier stint with a leading soft drink brand, I have heard of some weird stories which include patients with fever being prescribed a orange carbonated drink which was very popular in the southern Tamil Nadu markets.

Suffice to say that carbonated drinks have been and will continue to be popular. Although increasingly one does not see the ubiquitous “Goli Soda” which has an interesting looking bottle with a round glass marble inside. This which would seal the bottle’s top due to internal pressure.

Indian Retail Expert Blog

During a recent trip to Coimbatore I noticed this interesting outlet named “Planet Soda”. They have this very innovative soda making and dispensing machine as you can see in the picture.

Indian Retail Expert Blog

Each cup is sold for Rs. 10,/- and my guess is that the cost of that would be a maximum of Rs. 5/- after including electricity costs. This would give an approximate margin of 50% which is not bad assuming enough volumes are there to convert this into a respectable rupee earning.

So, this is a great idea for an incremental offering for small stand alone shops as also larger stores, with some space to spare.  This might even be a great idea for malls and larger chain stores. Stores can have such machines just outside their billing areas. Any excess or unused space which is customer facing can be used for this and the real estate can be monetized.

When I checked up on the penetration of this idea I found that apart from Planet Soda, which operates in the Coimbatore belt, another company in Ahmedabad - Geleriya Products - is quite active in this space and have a similar offering. As the actual technology involved is relatively simple, it might be just a matter of time before this takes off in a big way, if marketed and promoted well.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Events can become a game changer in Retail

A few days ago I had shared a post on my Facebook Page about shopper events and how they have a significant impact on customers. This thought and memories of some of the powerful events planned and executed by the teams I have worked with was triggered by a video about an airline which decided to convert a park bench into a memorable experience for those who sat there. Watch this video and remember to notice the range of positive emotions that plays across the faces of those who are experiencing this event.
In that context I would also like to share another video of a restaurant which had conducted an interesting event where they said that “beautiful women need not pay”, The best part of this story is that the event was so successful that their sales increased by 35% for that day.
On the topic of events I happened to read a note how Indian Retail is increasingly experiencing the positive sales impact of events and most of the chain stores have indicated increases in the range of 12% or so during events.
But, that is only the tip of the ice berg. The bigger story is about the everlasting emotional impact that good events create in a customer’s mind which results in positive memories and also great word of mouth or rather in today’s world great word of mouse.
My conviction about the emotional impact of events is validated by the memories of those who have experienced the many events conducted by my team. One of my most personal favorite “Cadbury Love Bites” which was conducted in the late 90’s would have even become an internet sensation if only digital camera and YouTube had been present then.