During the just concluded Karnataka election where every conscious citizen voted, there were surely a lot of learnings. We saw booths every 500 mtrs,, well equipped, having people to guide the voters, security personnel etc. to ensure that the voter cast his/her voted. Seeing the smooth functioning of the voting process a friend of mine who is into retail stated ”if a ballot box can reach every village in India so that every citizen can vote, why cannot a product reach to every village to a customer who wishes to buy it”
This actually made me think. The election commissioner needs to plan till the last mile for the ballot box to reach. There needs to be a means of transport both for the humans as well as the ballot box. The Commission also needs to ensure that every citizen eligible to vote is aware of his/her right. If an Election Commission a government department can do it why for profit based company do it? Even today there are thousands of villages which do not have access to basic products. The FMCG companies have not been able to reach them.
Remember a colleague stating that whenever he went to his home town he had to travel 2 villages to buy basic groceries. He says the whole village buys their basic needs during the weekly market (Haat). A haat serves as a trading venue for local people in rural areas. It provides as major marketing platform for many FMCG brands .So a household need to plan for it needs well in advance. Incase they run out of stock in between then they need to travel far off to buy it. Why is that the FMCG companies have not reached these villages inspite of there being a demand for it?
These villages struggle to get their basic needs fulfilled, so getting their aspirational needs fulfilled is a dream. This is where the online platform have an advantage. If they can work on their logistics so that their products reach every pin code in the country then sky is the limit for their growth. Few companies are trying to merge the gaps with the use of technology. The villager with a help of a shopkeeper can place an order for an aspirational product (e.g., latest mobile, jewelry, sport kits, apparels etc.) the company dispatches the order to the shopkeeper from where the customer can collect the products. Here the shop keeper acts as a mediator for the online platform and the customer and acts as a trust factor for both the parties in the transaction.
Yet another interesting factor during the election was receiving a slip in our letterbox with all the details in aiding in the voting process. The slip had all the details along with the name, number, booth number, route map to the voting booth etc. this helped in easing the process of voting. One of the reason many people do not vote as they are not aware of the booth in which their name is enrolled, hence they need to do booth hopping, going through each individual pages to identify their name etc. the slip provided by the political party really helped. Now one may or may not vote for the party which provided the slip, but it definitely helped in ensuring that the voter cast his vote.
Similarly the retailers and the brand need to educate the customer in different categories, build awareness, aid in the buying process etc. The final decision lies with the customer if he/she buys from the brand or the retailor just like a well aware voter cast his vote.