Hope you all have found a way to tackle the intense heat. Whether it is your favourite iced drink, a summer cooler or just water, please keep yourself properly hydrated and try to plan a trip to the hills. I hope some of you might be reading this sitting somewhere in the hills.
You might be thinking why am I talking so much about the temperature today. Don’t worry this is not a weather report. It is just that, during this time of the year, when I think of the people on whom this newsletter is about, all my initial thoughts go to the temperature, heat and dry winds.
This is a special letter about our retail sales team and how Perfora is establishing its presence in offline retail.
I, being a part of this team, feel not much has been talked about how the brand is foraying into the offline retail world and hence, I wanted to share a few things.
The Early Days:
Although we started our retail journey as early as April 2022 with one of the most premium retail outlet i.e. Le Marche store in South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Gurugram, we were present in one single store till October 2022. The single store strategy was intentional at our end to understand how this channel works and what kind of response / feedback will our brand receive. And to gauge the response, one of the many steps included one of the team members spending some time in the store, usually on weekends, interacting with the customers and observing their purchasing pattern.
The expansion started in November with Perfora entering supermarkets such as Modern Bazaar and Sodhi’s Supermarket and Pharmacy stores, having national presence, such as TATA 1 mg, Guardian Pharmacy and Apna Chemist. As you read this today, we are present in close to 250 stores spread majorly across Delhi/NCR and have started some presence in Mumbai with Wellness Forever, a well-known pharmacy chain in Maharashtra and at airports via WH Smith. So next time any of you end up visiting any of these stores make sure to give us a shout out :)
The In-Store Experience:
A retail sales person interacts with two types of people on a daily basis – the customers and the in-store management. Some are very kind enough to lend us an ear for a few minutes while we also get bluntly ignored at times, rather most of the time.
Sometimes, it even happens that the same person, who had earlier welcomed us open-heartedly assuming us to be a customer, immediately turns his back upon us as soon as he realises who we actually are. However, these things are not new for this industry and we, with time, also have adapted to it. It is understandable that if one reaches out to 10 people, only 2 might listen. However, listening, conversing and most-importantly convincing even 2 customers sometimes is enough to make the day.
Sometimes these conversations go altogether on a different tangent, very different from anything related to the product in hand or the brand. It happened a few days back when I was conversing with a person and was pitching our mouthwash to him when he started telling me how he was unhappy with the current brand that he was using as it was unsuccessful in doing away with the foul smell which stays back after alcohol consumption and how this has landed him into problems. He finally purchased the Perfora Mouthwash not because he was impressed with the better ingredients but in the hope of doing away with one of his life’s biggest problems.
Spending time within stores is actually relieving and fun. You would have already understood by now why is it fun. And here is why it's relieving - these stores save us from the scorching heat.
Also if you notice closely, some of them seem like a library of food and other daily use articles.
I call it a library not only because of its quietness but also because while walking through the aisles, the knowledge about the brands and new categories increases manifold. Since I am a foodie, although I work for a non-food brand, I spend most of my time in the aisles of the food brands (just kidding) and believe me this has made me more aware of the better brands and choices that are available out there.
The Magic Mix:
If I talk about myself, my love for retail is not only about these experiences but also about the strategies that the brands use to address the unique challenges that this channel poses. Retail, or any distribution channel for that matter, is a mix of sales and marketing. Getting to the right place and being visible to the right audience is what the sales function has to deliver on and making that audience convinced about the purchase decision is all about marketing.
For example, in Perfora’s case, since our products are those of daily needs and belong to the beauty (as in teeth whitening) & personal care category, getting placed in super marts, pharmacies and beauty stores makes sense. We are already there in the first two but still not in beauty stores because oral care, as a category, has not yet received the importance it deserves. Perfora will turn the tide here and we will become the first oral care brand to be available in beauty stores soon.
As far as purchases are concerned, it is all about targeting the right customer with the right product benefit and pricing. For example, targeting the home-makers is relevant for us as they are usually the decision makers for the daily need products. Also, if I had approached the man (mentioned earlier) with anything other than a mouthwash, he might not have been a Perfora customer today.
The End Note:
In essence, the retail world is very similar to the online world. Any store is just like an online marketplace where we showcase our products and highlight the product benefit based on the needs and persona of the customer. It is just that if you want to smell a perfume or taste a new flavour of your favourite snack before buying it, you will have to visit a store and not an online marketplace.
Retail in itself is a fun-filled and experiential world. With Perfora expanding reach to more stores and launching some very interesting products and flavours I can only imagine how exciting our retail journey is going to be.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this letter. If yes, please reply and let me know what else you would like to know about this world or stores we could explore to keep our products in and I will be more than happy to get back to you on it and yes, the next time you visit a store, please do not forget to look out for Perfora products.
Until next time,