Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cosmetic Changes in a Product



Direct consumer contact through setting-up small exclusive stalls in front of malls is an idea which is picking up in the country. In the last few months I have seen many of them in front of the various malls which i have visited across the country. Yesterday I did decide to go into a stall/ exhibition organized by Godrej for the home appliances division. Actually this was my second visit in the first visit none of the people in the stall had any interest in speaking to me , but this time atleast on of the sales guys came up to me to show the appliances. The exhibition as specifically to promote the "Eon" range of home appliances. I was shown all the variety which was there, my interest was in the "Eon" fridge range. My first question - as would be of any consumer was 'what is new in this fridge versus the old versions you have?'. I was told that it had more vents than the older fridge so provided better cooling, for second advantage was i was shown some clips which were put on the freezer, and was told that they could be used to hang poly-packs. The third was that in the frisge there was more space for bottles and one could store 2.5 liter bottles. The seperators were made of plastic and warranty and other stuff. I was expeting the saleman to come up with some thing more about the product, when he brought out a book and asked me to give my name and address.I gave hime my card and went on to watch the movie which was about to start.

But later on reflecting on the experience two things struck me as odd, one was a minor one, on the use of having such stalls in the first place, when you don't have staff or have staff which is inadequately trained to explain the benefits of a new product to a consumer.I though with all the money going in for creating a sub-brand Godrej must be having some thing up its sleeve to corner more market share, I decided to a Google to find out about the product features, and all the information I could get was what the salesman had told me at the stall.I went to the company website to find out more about the new range , but there also couldn't get any additional information. This brings us to the second and more important point, do companies like Godrej expect to attract customers through such cosmetic changes to a product. For me as a consumer I couldn't see even a single compelling reason why I should go and buy the 'Eon" range.

PS: When i opened one of the refrigerators in the stall i found it was stuffed with promotional material, of which i was not given any. How much would it cost for the company to keep the fridge running during the time the stall, runs, and give a chance to the consumer to experience the product in its running condition.

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