Tupperware is an internationally renowned and loved homeware and kitchenware brand which has been present in India for over two decades. The brand entered India in the year 1996 and in less than a decade, it became a household name. With its best in class training and upskilling programmes, the brand created a network of over 1 million strong and confident direct seller women, who are till date driving the brand relentlessly to success. Tupperware takes pride in ‘Making in India’ since inception and has a world-class manufacturing plant in Dehradun. Today, Tupperware is present in close to 53 cities via a network of 81 exclusive brand stores and serves over 1000 Indian cities through its e-tail channel. Tupperware has kept its network of over 70,000 Direct Sellers intact and alive and given them opportunities to grow with the brand. In conversation with Deepak Chhabra, Managing Director, Tupperware India to understand the business plans and how Tupperware is growing every walk of the way.
Making the franchisee model work
The problem that we encountered 2-3 years back was that our direct selling model was not performing the way it should have. Day by day the business was decreasing and that is the point wherein I entered the arena and discovered a strength of 70,000 women direct sellers. This was now my turn to drive business for the brand by going multichannel with this existing strength. Our stores are owned and manned by a woman who used to be our direct seller earlier. When they come within the franchisee model, these women invest their money to set shop and then they run it. I believe, no company however deep pocket they may have can expand with own stores only. And our franchisee model as compared to commercial ones are strictly owned and operated by people who understand the brand first and have been selling Tupperware for years now. All we needed to do was help them understand retail.
The womenfolk during the lockdown and with physical shops remaining closed, shifted to WhatsApp commerce and started to cater to their existing customer base through simple chatting and sending product photos kind of way. For last mile order fulfilment they depended on WeFast and the likes. Moreover, many of them used to conduct Facebook Live just to reach out to their existing customer base. So, all these smaller pocketed social media activations added to us selling better and reaching to a wider base during the pandemic. We also started the TuppClub during this phase and started rewarding customers who referred someone to Tupperware and the new customer as well. This further worked in our strength and helped us stay connected. Another omnichannel initiative that we had adopted is the endless aisle possibility by connecting our web-store to every offline retail store for the brand.
Growth in New Normal
Initially our footfalls to the stores were not much since the stores started opening up. However, come October our sales started growing, even if the footfalls to the stores were not that significant. We were able to cross our before-COVID sales numbers comfortably by selling through our varied channels. Slowly our stores individually have started performing and picking up on sales and now when we see the numbers closely, we can see that each store has grown 125% over our pre COVID sales numbers. The pandemic has made us adapt more seamless practices and we are now equipped to build in technology in to our systems so that we can work in tandem with each store. On the supply chain front we have brought in more agility and today every store can order and get their inventory delivered to them within 3 days of ordering. This was earlier spaced out to different specific days of the week. This change makes inventory stocking easy and on point.
Also, we have invested in LMS automation and connected each of our store to our central hood and even our warehouse. Basically we are completely connected this way and we can know about every data and detail related to the products, inventory, and the likes quite easily. This allows us to service each store with more precision and keeps us on track. On the product front we are using a single QR code for each product, which when scanned will help our customers and the store people know every detail pertaining to that product. Be it warranty, details about the product, recipes as an add on feature, and the likes. From 6 warehouses we have now shifted to just one central warehouse in Hyderabad, this further adds agility to our working processes and makes it easy for us to manage inventory in a more prompt and savvy way.
Going forward we want to look at a 3-fold growth plan for Tupperware in India. Firstly, we want to expand and give more fuel to our expansion plans and have at least 1,000 stores in India real soon. Secondly, we want to explore our retail format and move to bigger stores like a flagship store just to give more leverage to our growth. Thirdly, we want to fuel category expansion with ease and explore other materials like glass, steel, and melamine. Plastic will always remain our backbone but we will now want to enter every home rather than just the kitchen of our consumers and that’s why we will need to explore more product options and make it worth their needs. Whatever we do, the premium tag attached to our name will not get reduced and will only improve with each collection we introduce.