How does Mumbai Pay?

The best part about feet on the street method that you start knowing things. I started working on my internship project in April first week and all I learnt & observed is ‘how does Mumbai pay?’ I travelled to roughly all the parts of Mumbai to understand the payment system in the market.

I went into around 600 shops asking them what they use to accept payment, why they use that specific way, why not digital payment system etc. The answers to all of these questions were interesting and could give the overall picture of Indian payment system. Out of this survey or research, I found out that approximately 80% transactions happen through CASH ONLY. I don’t have the numbers for the total value of the cash transaction but it is surprisingly higher than any other country. When I got to know the common thing in all the shops that they accept only cash for the exchange of goods, I asked them why you don’t use POS machines or PayTm type e-wallet or internet banking. Maximum people replied with only one word i.e. ‘TRUST’. People don’t have trust in all the other possible solutions available for the transaction.

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Fortunately, I found few people using POS machines provided by banks. I asked them why you are using it when you can have cash transaction. They replied by saying “Aaj kal ke log ke pas cash nahi rehta, faltu me kyu customer lose kare?” Then one thing clicked into my mind, if these few people are adapting to the change just because they don’t want to lose the customers then why aren’t other people doing the same thing? After lot of survey I found out that there are few reasons that maximum people are not following the line of digital payment. Those reasons are as follows-

  1. Do not have trust on all digital services. Chances of frauds are high.
  2. There are so many ATMs around us, if customer doesn’t have cash we suggest him/her to go at ATM and withdraw money. We don’t lose customer here because customer is also in a need of that specific product.
  3. Hidden charges. We live on the very thin margin and if these machines are asking for commission which is eating my margin, why would I go with it?
  4. We don’t want to link our transactions to bank. We would prefer cash as it is available for us for the daily use.

All of the above things forced me think about the future. Nowadays, e-wallets are gaining the popularity in the market. Government is also trying to boost digital payment by giving the hints of UPI system. All in all, if we think from the different perspective, will we be able to accept the digital payment anytime soon? If yes, then what about the all above mentioned factors? Are they going to change in shorter run? If you observe, you will find that there is very less transaction between two individuals. Maximum transactions happen at the retailer point or at any goods exchange point. If all the merchants are not ready to go with the system then how will you reduce the use of cash? All of these questions will get answers in coming days only.

Happy Obervations!

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Red Apple vs. Green Apple

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Consider India, we Indians generally eat red apples. The reason behind not eating green apples is that it is not available at all the places in the market. Though red apple and green apple differs in colour but there are some added advantages in green apple in terms of vitamins or fibre. Now consider a company who wants to roll out green apples in Indian market. What will they do? They will launch opposite of red apples. They will make sure benefits are reaching people through communication channels. They will make sure of keeping price point lower than that of red apples. They will sell them on the basis of added benefits. But there are some challenges such as making sure of availability at all the places where red apple is available, retain the customers, to launch red apple under the same brand or to only focus on green apples etc. After entry of green apples in the market, red apple producing companies face the challenge as their customers are slowly switching to green apples. In such situation, what a red apple producing company should do? There are various answers in marketing language but they should think it on the big level. In India, category creation takes time. In doing so few first movers get advantage but also they get surpassed by second movers. As the green apple company has already started creating category for green apples, now red apple companies can leverage that and start producing green apples to fight that one green apple company keeping red apple competition healthy as earlier. This move will definitely cannibalize the business of red apple but it will gain through green apple business. Human psychology works in very unique way. People try to compare on the same parameters and if they don’t find then they compare on category basis. Now consider two companies rolling out green apple in the market, people will compare them with each other rather than comparing it with the red apples. This all will help growing the overall category of apples in both the variants.

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Whatever mentioned above is the metaphor. We all can relate it with the Indian FMCG market today. Patanjali is being green apple and all other FMCG companies are red apple companies. Patanjali provides ayurvedic products whereas other FMCG firms provide non-ayurvedic products. This is not the first time India is buying green apples. This has happened before when Dabur started its operation in 1903. But after few decades it became more of red apple company rather than focusing on green apples. The current scenario of India FMCG is all the firms are preparing for the competition created by Patanjali. As mentioned in above examples, I think Patanjali is recreating ‘ayurvedic’ space in Indian market. Now other companies have to decide whether to stick to the non-ayurvedic category and get affected by Patanjali because at the end of the day when customer compares a non-ayurvedic product with that of ayurvedic product, he/she will definitely go with ayurvedic product for its added advantages or to launch products in non ayurvedic category to leverage the already created category and compete with Patanjali with same offerings. Overall, from my point of view, this re-entry of green apple in the market will only boost the apple segment in all.

Happy Observations!

OTC products – the newly found love

Before going into topic, I just want to share something which directly relates me to this topic. My father is a pharmacist and has 5 branches of medical shops in Maharashtra at different places.

My father stated his first medical store in 1991, 2 years before my birth. In last 25 years, he has opened 5 branches under the name “Sadalage Medicals” over different places. This information is just to let you all know about my connection with the medical store. I have spent my last 23 years watching our medical stores to evolve in offering service to customers. I don’t know the actual reason behind I having an immense respect for pharma business. That may be I grew up with it or because it saves life or may be because I personally experienced its good effect on me.

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As title suggests, here, I am going to talk about the “over the counter” products. Over the counter products, generally known as OTC, are the products are sold without prescription from doctor and are available at medical shops, placed at customer facing counter and side racks. I have seen this category growing at very fast rate. Till 2010, I was in continuous touch with this category. After 2010 I lost touch with it. But whenever I used to visit my native, I used to find new things in this segment. After 2014, I started observing this category very closely. 10 years ago when anybody used to go to buy medicine in medical shop could find lot of medicines and less of OTC products but today when I visit any of the medical shop I find 60% shop is filled with all these OTC products.

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This transformation led me to little analysis of the category. It was best learning experience I have ever had. Let’s look at few of them here-

  1. Margin Game – The average margin per medicine ranges from 2% to 12% depends upon the brand and category. But OTC products’ margin start with 10% minimum and that’s the main reason behind all medical shop started keeping more of OTC products.
  2. Surrogate Marketing – This change is mainly carried out by drug companies. There are many restrictions on advertising drugs, consumption limit etc. To tackle this and build a brand name in drug companies have started their OTC product range. It is kind of surrogate marketing they do for their medicines. For e.g. Himalaya promotes face wash under its name with main motto to increase awareness about their name and relate it to medicine part.
  3. Impulse buy – When a patient or customer visits medical store to buy medicine prescribed by doctor, he/she end up buying OTC products which he/she thinks will be required in future. This behaviour of impulse buying has helped companies to invest in this sector and pharmacist to keep it more to gain business or sales.
  4. Perks/ Promotions offered – Pharmacists nowadays are applying for the license of ‘medical store and general store’. The main reason behind this is the trade promotions offered by companies in OTC products is way better than that of medicines. This has helped to increase the total shelf size for OTC products.
  5. Product life cycle – When you consider a drug, it is a very long process to invent it, patent it, sell it under brand until patent expires etc. But nowadays drug requirement is changing and different diseases are being found which is leading towards mismatch between instant requirements of specific combination of drugs. Lot of companies have stopped patenting their medicine as requirement is changing very frequently. But on other hand OTC product has large life and innovations are taking place at low rate as compared to that of medicines.

Considering all of the factors, I think in coming 5 years you will find medical store to be filled with 70% with OTC products and 30% with medicines.

Happy Observations!

 

Ganesh Festivals- Marketing Platform for everyone!

As we all know Indians are famous in world for its festival culture. Considering English calendar, festivals starts from very first week of January in India. Ganpati festival comes in second half of the year and known as starting point of chain of festivals in next 4 months of period. As I mostly write about Marketing in my blogs, today, I am going to express my own point of view along with some substantiate data to support my view.

Lokmanya Tilak started off Ganapti festival for a reason that is being together and show the English ruling party that if we come together we can do anything. I do not think Tilak had ever thought of Ganapti festival becoming the marketing platform for everyone. Here my point is not of Why Tilak started Ganapati Festival? Or Why Ganpati festival is not the same which is used to be in past? My point is about the marketing platform generated at such kind of festivals in India. Tell me any festival in India and I will tell you the marketing platform related to that specific festival. The idea of writing on this subject comes after watching digital flexes of local vendors on stage made for Ganpati Idol. If you look into 10 years down the line where I was only of 12 years of age, Ganpati festivals used to be in very selective parts of a town or city or any large area. From its incubation, Ganapati resides in everyone’s home for few days varying from 1.5 days to 6 days. And as Lokmanya started, Ganpati also sits on stage created by group of people in no specific numbers. This thing has took long way where I can see two ganpati sitting in front of each other by two opposite sides of the road. As the number of ganpati increased in India, the platform for marketing anything has experienced strong growth in terms of investment, reach, sales resulted in profits.

Since my childhood I have been attending the group ganpati festival actively. If I am not wrong about my memory I can say that from 2006 onwards the boost in advertising at ganpati festival has seen only positive growth. Considering Maharashtra where ganpati festival is very popular festival, on last 3 days of ganpati festival maximum number of people are on roads compared to the other time in year and if comes along with weekend you can guess the crowd on road. From marketing point of view, any show, any TV commercial or anything that has been shown on TV gets lesser traffic as compared to other time of year. So outdoor advertisement is best option one could go with in this period of 10 days to maximize their reach. If you observe, local shops are keen to do publicity in this period by posters, digital flexes, and billboards etc. Big players are also entering into this kind of publicity. Cellular network providers were the first one to enter into 10 days outdoor marketing which continues for a month dependent on the current scenario at that particular time. At present, big retail brands along with online service providers also trying their luck in this period. The research data prominently shows that cellular network providers have gained the early movers advantage in this kind of marketing.

If this continues to grow in future, I can probably say that new groups will be formed only to promote someone’s product for chunk of money which is far less than someone will pay for any TV commercial. Leaving the future on Bappa.

Enjoy the festival. Ganpati Bappa Moraya. May God Ganpati give you happiness, peace and prosperity.

Today, everyone is being MEDIA!

Don’t you think the title is the current scenario we are watching or facing or experiencing? I think YES. Yes, it has become today’s trend to do so. Forget the real journalism, in India or all over the world we are developing a new journalism. Since last few days I am watching various posts on Facebook wall, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos and where not. They all are talking about “If a man does anything, there will be a woman who can treat him however she wants to treat him” or “A 21 year old want to go Backward for its own benefits” or “A murder mystery”. Irrespective of these recent happenings, my total focus is on why this news are trending at all? News like this really holds that much of importance in our day to day life?  Or it is like we have the freedom so we must use it in any possible way, Is that so?

There is boon of social media but there is presence of unseen dark side also. From any account holder’s point of view , it is an experience that he/she gets at his/her fingertips. The social media wave is not new to us. Facebook (February 4, 2004), YouTube (February 14,2005), Twitter (March 21.2006) etc. were invented before 2007 mark and certainly it took more than a decade to expand its presence from few thousands to billions. The reach has grown up, friend list or followers or subscribers are went from 100 to millions. To add to this, Facebook acquired WhatsApp! There are always two sides for a coin, one side is happening or the side where everyone wants to be and on the other side is more practical than the first. These two sides are common human being and Business respectively. Business side works properly without any intervention by human being. Business gets marketed, shared, offered, extension by the overall reach caused by social media. To add to it, each company is allowing a specific budget for Digital Marketing.

Social Networking - Boon or bane

But the other side is darker side than what one can expect. This side of “common human being” is nothing but a own media channel of a user. If something comes handy to you, you must post that on your wall, that post then must be viewed or liked or commented by many and in the end it must be shared by your fellow friends or followers. This is like nuclear explosion, you just need a start. This is the blast of useless things at useful place. Why in this world people do not understand the real meaning of priority? Providing news is the work of News channel, they are doing their work (the way of their working is good to be unmentioned), then why everyone here is being a news reporter without any pay? Do you really get any pay for sharing these things on your wall? Just have a look on past, few months back when Deepika Padukon acted in a video titled “My choice”, the fire went on opposing that video. That resulted in few sites or group on social media came up with a male version of the video. But now as the days have passed, do you remember that video or content of that video? You must only remember “To have sex outside my marriage is My Choice”. But when you look into technicality of that video, it was mere a promotional video of “Vogue” magazine India. Well, that magazine did sell well in that point of time. They got the money. Deepika Padukon in succession released her movie PIKU which crossed almost 80Crore mar. So now tell me who is at loss? Deepika? Vogue? Social Media? None of them at all. The loss is yours. The loss is of your time, your thought process, your share on the social media. You followed a trend which never stayed with you longer than a week or so.

The gist of this long article is only to tell all social media users to Be Wise, Be Independent, Be sensitive to social issues. Have your photos on your with your friends, add life events/achievements on your timeline, so that 10 years down the line when you will take a glance at your timeline, you will fine ‘you’ rather than any short lived trend which never did anything for your betterment.

Use Social Media wisely!

The truth of relativity!

Recently, I was reading a book named “Predictability Irrational” by Dan Ariely. The book was a pleasant journey through various examples where in the end you have numerous take away only. I do not remember exactly the chapter number but it was somewhere in between first 3 chapters where I came to know about something interesting thing for which I was curious since childhood. The chapter was named “The truth about relativity”, wherein Dan has explained various examples of relativity and the human mind set. I can recollect one of the examples which he has given, suppose you have to buy a house in specific locality and you have three options in front of you 1. Simple row house for INR 80Lakhs 2.A 2-BHK unpainted and unfurnished old flat for INR 40Lakhs 3.A 2-BHK painted and furnished new flat for INR 55Lakhs. Given these options which one you would buy? For no surprise maximum of you will go with the 3rd choice. Do not get surprised that how do I know your choice? The answer lies within the concept of relativity. Human nature depicts that we only compare the things of same nature i.e. Dog with other Dog, Job with other Job. The same case happened in above example where you forget about the row house and start comparing the flat system houses. So in that comparison you end up selecting the best option in only two of them. This is the truth about relativity.

We face this reality about relativity in daily basis but we just ignore to understand it at first. Let’s look at one more example of it, Popcorn in multiplexes. Indians are the biggest fan of any kind of entertainment and also of food in between those entertainment activities. Popcorn has its largest business from multiplexes and looking at recent news few companies have started their own production to make branded popcorns. Talking about relativity in case of Popcorn, if you closely observer we usually get two offerings from popcorn seller i.e. Half bucket and Full bucket. The price range for half bucket goes from INR 70 to 95 and INR 85 to 110 for full bucket of popcorn. So when you compare both the price range you always go with the Full Bucket on the basis of price it offers. Here we compare size and price of half and full bucket which results in selecting the full bucket. If they do not give you choice of half bucket then still would you choose full bucket? Answer is NO. This is the real truth of relativity. Now I know you are going to buy anything you need after analysing the relativity.

PIKU- Film or Advertisement

8th May,2015 was the date when a film named PIKU released. As Deepika was playing leading role in it, I had to watch that movie. There is something called ‘Fan love’. It is like whatever they do, you fall in love with that. Then that thing may be a silly ad or a crying scene, you watch it with the mood she is carrying. Enough about Deepika! As the title suggests, I am again writing something about advertisement/marketing.

I saw this movie on 9th May, 2015 6:30 PM show at nearest Multiplex. I paid INR 200 for prime show ticket and when I took exit after movie, I realised that I have paid INR 200 for watching product advertisement in movie. PIKU movie starts with Amitabh Bacchan with hearing aid and yes SnapDeal box on the table. And that is the moment the advertisement starts in movie & continues in such a way that the product count till the last scene goes up to 15. When you see any TV commercial varying from 10 sec to 60 sec, the impact TVC make lasts only for some time until you watch it again. But I experienced those 15 product in film advertising, I can probably say I will not forget them for next such attempt by any other film. This in film advertisement has different approaches to reach out people at once. They pop ups in film at any point of time.

Talking about products in PIKU film, it covers all the categories from jewellery to Ecommerce firm. It includes Red Label Tea, Priya Gold’s Snakker, SENCO Gold’s jewellery, Amul, CEAT tyres, SONY Max where IPL has been shown, Jaypee Greens on Noida express highway, SnapDeal, Himalaya water bottle, Hero cycles, SYSKA bulbs and the most important product where the film has revolved i.e. solution of Constipation, KayamChurna makes no mistake to place the product where the whole film has been an advertisement for that product. Except constipation and product advertisement, the relation shown in between Deepika and Amitabh Bacchan wins the hearts. It was a nice watch with so much product advertisement which has become the main reason for not forgetting the movie.

This in film advertisement is not new in Bollywood. It has started with showcasing of Coca cola by Hema Malini in her one of the biggest successful movie ‘Dream Girl’. From Drem Girl to PIKU, various approaches has been taken and most of them were successful which contributed in film’s overall success as well as a revenue generation method. A suggestion in the end, watch PIKU. It is short, sweet and easily relative movie.