Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Mystery that Draws Reality

Mystery shopping is a tool used externally by market research companies, or internally by companies themselves to measure quality of service, or compliance with service guidelines or to gather specific information about products and services. [1

Market Pulse took this basic form of research a step further & created an online application. A unique Solution to address the challenges was implemented. This was shortlisted by MRSI as one of the Top 5 technology solutions for market research.

A leading paints company launched their programme in 2012 to enhance the effectiveness of their modern trade exclusive outlets. These stores were given a set of guidelines to adhere to. These guidelines related to aspects such as store tangibles as well as responsiveness and empathy of the store advisors.

Market Pulse was commissioned to conduct a mystery audit of these stores; this audit ascertained the level of adherence to performance standards of the stores. This is a pan India assignment which is conducted quarterly. The coverage was in more than 125 outlets in 72 cities.

Market Pulse split up the audit process into 2 phases – store audit of tangible parameters and a mystery audit of staff responsiveness & empathy. Different auditors are used for these two phases and the audit of tangibles was made into a surprise but announced audit. The methodology for the store audit of tangible aspects has been changed from a mere observation technique to visual capture of all tangible aspects with a digital camera. Approximately, 35 – 40 photographs are taken of different aspects ranging from hygiene and store arrangement to availability of retail merchandize. The audit team goes through a rigorous training workshop for digital capturing of store tangibles.

Market Pulse created an online application which showcases all the store ratings along with visual evidence of store tangibles on the firm’s portal. This can be accessed by anybody with a valid login ID from any location in India. The administration of the website rests with the research team of Market Pulse and the main user team of the client.

Visual dissemination of store performance in the mystery audit has helped increase usage of marketing research and its integration with a successful roll-out of an extensive marketing programme of the client. The client is delighted with the application and has shared it with their global office. The online application has helped popularize the programme throughout the Client organization.

This application is now being extended to another marketing programme that targets the general trade.

We at Market Pulse, constantly try to bring new ideas to the field of research.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Offline Water Purifiers have redefined the Category

One of the key expectations of consumers is clean drinking water. Contaminated water cuts productivity of people across income segments. It even hurts millions of not so well-off consumers who earn daily wages. Every day lost due to illness results directly in wage loss.

Emergence of new trends and advent of new technology has resulted in remarkable changes in the domestic market for water purifiers. The recent report from Market Pulse, Opportunities in the Water Purifier Market in India, highlights another vibrant story, that of the offline storage water purifiers.

This research study has ascertained that of the 4.3 million water purifiers sold in 2012 at an estimated value of INR 18.64 billion, a staggering 71% were offline storage water purifiers accounting for INR 5.6 billion of sales.

These offline water purifiers have redefined the category over the last 5 years. “These inexpensive water purifiers, which are sold for as little as Rs. 1000, have expanded the market manifold by making the product affordable for bottom-of-the-pyramid households. The research suggests that more than 15% of the lower and lower middle income households in urban India now have an offline water purifier”, said Ejaz Hoda, CEO of Market Pulse.

Pureit water purifiers from Hindustan Unilever have led the explosive growth in the last 5 years. It is the market leader in the offline water purifier category and enjoys a 60% market share. TATA Chemicals’ Swach and Eureka Forbes are other significant brands in this market.

Only 8% of these offline water purifiers are sold through the modern retail chains. The balance is retailed through a network of almost 21,000 conventional stores. The market leader, Pureit, is available at almost 14000 outlets. A bulk of these retail stores belong to 4 sales channels – Consumer Electronic and White Goods Stores, Kitchen Utensil shops and Electrical & Small Appliance stores; these contribute equally to the total sales.

This category is likely to see increased competition in the near future. New entrants like Tupperware and Amway have also launched offline water purifiers to get a share of the pie. There are others like TTK Prestige, a kitchen appliance leader, contemplating an entry into this market.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Shopaholic’s Paradise: Festive Season

A warm festive season has given way to a chill in the air. The heat generated during the festivities that just ended, however, is going to keep the spirits of the marketers alive. The upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities will add fuel to this momentum.

During festivals, stores across the country prepare to welcome millions of shoppers with a wider variety of consumer offers. Every brand tries to get a piece of the pie by running the best offer possible. Reports suggest that companies increased their marketing and promotion budget this festive season as compared to the same period last year.

In this scenario, to assess the buying behavior of consumers, we at Market Pulse attempted to investigate the effectiveness of these consumer promotions. In order to find out if the consumers really grab the dangling carrot, Market Pulse conducted a set of in-depth interviews with a sample of home-makers in Delhi-NCR.

When Market Pulse conducted a survey on various respondents in Delhi- NCR, specifically on the appliances purchase behavior during the festive season, they found that consumers plan their appliance shopping around festive season. Consumers on the other hand postpone their purchases if not urgent, in order to take advantage of the discounts and offers run by the companies. Most of the survey respondents told us that they scan the newspapers for consumer offers during the festive season.

Another section of respondents said that consumer offers and combo deals during festive season motivate their buying behavior and swayed the purchase decisions. Garima from Delhi said, “In August, I saw an ad of a combo deal of Pigeon where I was getting an induction base pressure cooker and pan free with an induction cooker. I really liked the offer and bought it as I needed to buy an induction cooker.”

As preferred shopping destination, emerging malls/ hyper-markets play important role, respondents informed. Consumers have a perception that during festivals they get better options and deals in modern trade outlets. In these stores, the experience of shopping is also enhanced and much relaxed.

Respondents said that they replace their old appliances during the festive season. Exchange offers and discounts influenced brand selection.

But Market Pulse also said they observed that though the consumer offers play a big role in the decision making process, a few other significant points also impact their buying decisions.

Market Pulse report reveals that the brand decision in planned purchases during the festive season is influenced by consumer promotions such as discounts and cash back offers. Some consumer offers such as bundling of an induction cooker with non-stick cookware or an iron free with a water heater, even motivate the consumers to make unplanned purchase of appliances.

This surely gives food for thought for marketers for the next season.