VegWash, manufactured and marketed by Autodynamic Engineering, and Heritage Fresh, a food and grocery retail chain, recently conducted a joint activation programme that ran for three months across six Heritage stores. The objective was to create awareness of making fresh produce free from dirt, germs and pesticides. S Jagdish Krishnan, COO- Heritage Fresh, and Mangesh Arnalkar, Head Sales, Consumer Division, AutoDynamics, share their analysis, with Seema Gupta
What did the partnership entail?
JK: The objective of the joint activation was to create awareness on the negative impacts of pesticides and germs present in fresh produce; to explain the benefits of washing, cleaning and removing the pesticides and germs; to build the Fresh Produce category as essential for daily diet; and to talk about the USP of Veg Wash.
MA: The demonstration with promoters would have to show the external change in physical appearance of the product. For example, washing apples with Veg Wash removes the surface wax and makes them squeaky clean. The objective was to build/strengthen customer loyalty. We also wanted to build awareness of pesticide usage in India for growing of fruits and vegetables.
What was the pre- promotional planning for Veg Wash?
MA: We were looking at Modern Retail chains selling groceries, vegetables and fruits, and where we would get focused retail touchpoints and brand visibility. We also wanted that our VegWash Plus should be placed near the fresh produce section. The objective was to achieve exponential sales growth, and create brand awareness of Veg Wash.
What was the budget allocated by Veg Wash?
MA: For Heritage Fresh stores we allocated a budget of Rs 5,000 per store/month. We wanted to associate with big retailers who would benefit equally by promoting VegWash, and who would build this new category. They too would want to convey to consumers the long term adverse effects on their health due to pesticides.
How has the promo across your stores impacted the Heritage Fresh brand?
JK: Promotions are enabled at a retail chain to increase trials of a new product, defend or increase market share, and to manage seasonality factors and inventory. Heritage Fresh is the retail brand of Heritage and is positioned very strongly in the Fresh Produce category. It offers good quality and a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Veg Wash has enhanced the Health and Fresh quotient of the Heritage brand by associating with us on the same health and freshness platform. Veg Wash is a natural solution that helps in removing the harmful toxicants, chemicals, preservatives, surface pesticide residues, and dirt from fruits and vegetables. By selling/promoting Veg Wash through our stores, we have further leveraged our brand value with our customers.
How did Heritage support the product?
JK: Heritage Fresh as a Modern Trade partner supported Veg Wash by providing visibility of Veg Wash standees (5ft x 3ft) in our F&V section, and at the entrance of the stores. FSU (floor stocking unit) placement near the best possible location in the F&V section; and by providing multiple touchpoints. The store managers and store teams were briefed on the activation programme, and they were actively involved in promoting the product with weekend sampling, and in weekly sales trend reviews. The promotional activation programme was conducted across Heritage Fresh stores in Indira Nagar, Koramangala, Yelahanka, Basavehwar Nagar, and Coffee Board Colony, and BTM Layout.
How did Heritage ensure that its regular customers were not disturbed by the promo?
JK: We followed a rather passive approach to interacting with customers. By placing the standees and the FSU at high visibility locations we were able to generate interest among customers. The sales pitch was made to only those customers who approached the sales person and sought more details about the product.
Would this promo be repeated after a period of time?
JK: We are tracking the response from this ‘activation’ on a weekly basis and so far it has been encouraging. We wish to roll this program out to other stores in a phased manner and cover all of our stores in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad in 6 months time.
What does a brand look for in retail partners for a promotional activity?
MA: We would prefer a Hypermarket over a Supermarket, and would look at the number of footfalls/day, the average F&V bill/day, the retailer’s interest and contribution towards the brand, the product category placement and brand visibility. For us, it was important that grocers should first believe in the product and are convinced that it is effective. He should be aware and concerned about the fact that we are eating more than 200% of pesticides compared to global standards. Also, since Veg Wash is a new category, he should have the patience to support the product The partnership must entail building the new category, and supporting the product through various promotions.
How can traditional retailers make their retail environment conducive to promos?
JK: There are two types of promotions: Consumer offers, which are printed on the packs, and are available in both modern trade and general trade. One often sees posters or POPs at general stores informing about such offers or new product launch offers. Then there are specific promotions enabled at a retail store because in organised retail, consumers engage with the brands directly. There is investment in space and display of inventory for the brands, which gives consumers a convenient environment to shop and engage with them. Consumers are free to make price and quality comparisons with other brands offering similar products, and thus make informed choices. So, brands use promotions and placements to generate trials and gain consumer franchise.