The first panel discussion at the CII FMCG Conference on New Opportunities – Wider Markets – Sustainable Businesses, held yesterday focused on the Impact of Modern Trade. Alpana Parida, President, DY Works, said that in the modern retail world the counter have become isles, when a brand is behind the counter it looks down upon the consumer. Modern trade has made the brand come upfront and move beyond the counter to engage the consumer in conversation. These days consumers go with specific brands on their shopping lists with advertisements being the only source for brands trying to rope in consumers. There is a lack of brand loyalty as there is more access to customers therefore, more choices.
She said that one needs to develop an opportunity to build brands without advertising, quite similar to an impulse category. She gave an example of Hershey’s in India. The brand did not take off in a big way even though it is very popular abroad. One needed to have frost free refrigerators to store the syrup, one needed to buy ice-cream that too vanilla and chocolate syrup, hence, since there was scarcity in the root items, the brand could not communicate to the TG.
“While re-examining the brand to see how it was relevant in an Indian context, the brand thought that how can chocolate be used? With chocolate taken as a generic term, it came up with the idea of bribe, as chocolate is used to bribe the kids. A further thought into this made the brand realise that kids can be linked to milk and Hershey could use this to its advantage and market Hershey’s chocolate syrup as a milk additive,” she added.
Vikas Mittal, MD, Mc Cain Foods, focused on the buyer seller relationship. He said that there are 4,000 modern trade stores in the country as of now adding to the consumer base, thus, creating an alternate model. “With modern trade sampling opportunity is made easy, it’s not just display but demonstrate. For example Mc Cain’s frozen food is for those people who are pressed for time; at a modern trade space one can get the feedback of the customers. Results at the point of purchase,” he added.
“Genuine innovation is the fundamental to the ability to gather market sense,” said Parida about packaging techniques. While reiterating her thoughts on building brands without advertising she explained that, with impressive packaging, half the battle is won. “The type, colour, images and story, except the usual ingredients and nutrition facts is what draws the customer towards the brand.”
Mittal expressed that one needs to make the store, the theatre for the brand. The brand needs to sample its products right at the store, sine modern trade apertures opportunities to magnify the brand. To illustrate the power of modern trade he gave an example of the No 1 dairy in Dubai, which started as an evaporative milk tea additive and thus, created a category of its own. Therefore, modern trade allowed it to grow and become visible to everyone thus increasing sales and establishing the brand value.