At our last Conversations on Social Marketing session Greg Cowal spoke about his company’s [GSP] efforts to assist Proctor and Gamble in reaching ‘the next billion’ – mostly poor women living in developing countries. In Mexico, where he is implementing the Golden Stores project, 620,000 changarros or ‘Mom & Pop’ grocery stores account for 65% of all purchases of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). The Wall Street Journal has described these ‘high frequency’ stores where the average customer shops at least 4-5 times a week as: Crammed with food and a hodgepodge of household items, these retailers serve as the pantries of the world’s poorest consumers for whom money and space are tight. P&G saw the need to penetrate this market segment with its products in a consistent way.
The project is part ethnographic research where the project staff live with these retail owners in their own homes for a month or more to get a deep understanding of their lives and how running a retail operation works (or doesn’t) for them. Next comes a store detailing and merchandising program that identifies highly visible shelf space and turns it into a P&G showcase of their brands. It is a staff intensive program that is largely managed through cell phones and GPS systems. Regular follow-up by staff and retailer education and support programs centered on running a more successful business round out their activities. It is a clear demonstration of how successfully marketing FMCG to consumers can ultimately depend on how well your brands are marketed to the retail owners (people critical to success) and at the point-of-purchase.
These shops are family owned and most members participate in one way or another – the opposite to this is where one member wants or needs to have an extra income.
They are not good at managing their income or budgets.
They live on a day to day basis.
A changarros' life span is 3 to 5 years.
The owners are not good at changes or modernization.
They do not trust or use banks.
The idea of someone coming into their store and changing their layout was - and still is - a work in progress.
In the end, what has been our major success has been the SERVICE provided to them.