Customers go by the brand proposition, not market sentiment

The persistent talk of slowdown has in no way unnerved confident marketers as well as retailers of consumer product who feel that the scenario will only facilitate their strategy of winning a more loyal customer base. And toward this end, they are trying to work on focused consumer connect.

Many of India’s established consumer goods companies, world’s biggest coffee retailer Starbucks and Future Group, the largest retailer in India are among those who are banking on planned investments for a sustainable growth.

Hindustan Unilever’s Executive director (sales and customer development), Manish Tiwari, stated at the recent summit of ET International Retail Leaders in Mumbai, “Do what is right in slowdown for the consumers. And when the cycle actually turns, we’ll be far better  as a consumer-centric company than today.”

Leading retailers’ trajectory of sales growth has tapered down a touch with slowing growth and rising prices that are making Indian buyers curtail their shopping list and, move onto lower-priced, slightly lower-end products, in some cases. Retailers think if consumer companies can collaborate successfully with modern trade through clubbing of products even of certain adjacent segments, that could allow them to boost volume growth and also support apparently weaker segments in the broader basket.

For exampe, Future Group clubbed many of the products belonging to cleaners category from glass to toilets and floor into one single pack, the idea worked. It was an instant success during the Independence Day special sales. Devendra Chawla, President at the Food Bazaar, explained in an ET interview:”It is just like Indian thali versus a la carte menu. Sometimes you wish to order each dish separately or one might want a thali with a few dishes put together. This helps consumer to save time. Any one of cleaner, which would not perhaps have been bought, was actually picked due to great intrinsic value. It increases penetration as well as consumption.

In fact, discounting merchandise has contributed more than 35 percent of sales for top food & grocery retailers during the financial year ended March 2013. And even for global brands like Starbucks, it’s the proposition of value for money that they believe is consumers are seeking out.

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