Gathering from an official Statistical data, India stands second in the world, next only to China in production of fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) No surprise then, we find many players wanting to enter into the Fresh produce Space in this era of Start-ups.
The new age Start-ups believe – I am certainly not being judgemental here! – they can make it quick to ROI by following the E- Commerce channel combined with Digital marketing Route presumably by bringing down marketing and distribution costs associated with traditional route. Alongside, there is competition from fairly established businesses who have been selling Fresh fruits and Vegetables through the traditional distribution channel for several years and now wanting to make inroads into online presence and rightfully so. Besides, this space is fraught with the unenviable challenge posed by the perishable nature of the product and the limited shelf life. While at the same time it is the freshness and quality, true to the name FFV that can actually be leveraged by the Brand to its advantage. Finally, to add to the saga, when it comes to warehousing, preparedness for imbalanced demand and supply is warranted due to several uncontrollable factors.
All of these go to explain how complex and competitive this environment is and how challenging it would be to stay afloat if not succeed in this space. One thing however that is important to put things in perspective is that E-Commerce and Physical Retail are only options to the distribution channels. Neither the distribution channel by itself nor the marketing media by itself is an ultimate determinant of the power of the Brand. Nor will they determine the success or failure of the Fresh produce business which is fraught with very unique challenges .And for the Fresh produce space in particular, traditional purchasing model has its own deep-rooted proven advantages and so a vanilla e commerce model would not be an easy substitute to traditional distribution but a hyper local distribution channel combined with a Digi-purchase route would definitely complement one another if the mix is strategically worked out.
One proven tool that can help organizations to overcome these multiple challenges is a well-structured Brand Strategy strategically aligned with Business Objectives, Marketing forecasts and POS strategy. There are multiple ways that Branding can help businesses expand and generate a sustainable ROI.
- Customized branding helps to identify the white space that can protect against commoditization.
- A strategic and effective brand story telling can change the way consumers perceive the product and this is where digital platforms can complement traditional marketing and help significantly in order to justify a premium price for a branded product.
- A Customer experience focused branding in the Fresh produce Space would ensure a customer connect at every touch point across Omni channels and would aim to keep both online and offline customers engaged.
- A Repeater focused brand strategy would also help to gain Preferred Brand Status at a distributor level.
- Internal Brand training and distributor channel training ensures- “One Brand One voice “Communication.