New Unilever Lab to Simulate Small Indian Stores
In Mumbai, consumer goods giant Unilever has set up its first Indian Customer Insight and Innovation Centre to study how consumers shop for FMCG products.
Unilever already has six such centres located elsewhere in the world. The new one, based in the Hindustan Unilever HQ at Andheri, will be used by several group companies to gain a more general understanding of shopping in developing and emerging markets, both general stores and retail chains.
The centre will use simulated retail environments of both types; eyetracking technology; and heat-mapping to show what captures consumers’ attention. Results will feed into packaging design, new product testing and promotion.
Quoted on www.indiatimes.com , VP Customer Development Punit Misra says the centre will address developing and emerging markets where traditional trade is important: ‘We have been doing consumer marketing forever where the basic premise is consumers are truly the same.’ He concedes that these smaller stores pose special challenges for the company: ‘General trade is a bit tricky - how do you disseminate a repeatable model to five lakh family grocers? So we do the creation, the testing, the learning and the models, and then our execution teams on the field convert them into ready-to-use kits which they can take to the retailers.’
Analysts say Unilever’s sales through millions of India’s local kirana stores are subject to increasing competition from rivals like P&G - they estimate the former sells through more than 7.2m retail outlets and the latter through around 5.6m.