Growing at a compounded annual rate of 30 per cent, Tupperware is a leading kitchenware brand in India and is completely into direct selling; it started its operations in 1996. The way the brand has charted out its success path is unique. Asha Gupta, MD, Tupperware India shares some novel business strategies that made Tupperware feature among India’s top 3 per cent of brands across all categories and segments (as rated by Superbrands), with Varun Jain. The kitchenware market worth was estimated to be over Rs 12 billion in 2008 and had seen a 12 per cent annual rise from what it was in 2003.
Direct selling over retailing
Tupperware products are very unique and need to be demonstrated to the end user before being sold. We promote via direct selling salesforce, who perform home demonstrations to groups of people and sell to end consumers. This helps the user to get optimal performance from our products. We also offer advice and tips on food preparation, storage and organisation to our users. All this can be best done in the comfortable setting of a home rather than in retail.
Our business model is similar to that of franchising, in the sense that we create business leaders whom we call distributors in every city or town, we are in. They are the ones who appoint salesforce and train them to success duly supported by the company. This model is easily replicable everywhere.
A different marketing strategy
The concept of having Tupperware parties, where Indian women(agents of Tupperware) share recipes, cooking advice and health tips while meeting a prospective agent, is a different approach to marketing as well as distribution. The strategy has been instrumental in the success of Tupperware.
Tupperware can be accredited to have changed the habits of many Indian households, as they switched from their traditional metal food containers to the plastic ones that catered to the local food habits.
A clear agenda with customised offerings
Tupperware was always very clear about what it wanted while entering the Indian shores. Our expertise lay in the kitchenware products globally and that is what we brought in here along with lots of innovation and a heavyweight brand-name backing.
We researched the market and learnt the aspiration level of the Indian middle-class consumers. They aspire to buy/wear/use a brand if it comes at an affordable price. And this is what we did, priced the Tupperware products at a slightly premium range backed with lifetime warranty and solid quality. And today the result is for all of us to see as the Indian middle class household swears by the product.
At Tupperware, we have an all-women salesforce. There are 40000 sales force and 80 distributors. This has been a conscious decision with a view of empowering women with a career opportunity, which they can pursue with flexibility. A women only business model in an Indian concept has found social acceptance and this is evidenced by the level of comfort that family members have in letting the lady of the house pursue a business opportunity in a safe setting. Further, given the category of our products, women are the key decision makers and influencers of purchase. As such we find women take to selling our products and our kitchen solutions with ease as it is second nature to them.
Every year the number of these women are recognised and rewarded for their significant achievements in selling these world class products. Rewards and recognition are at the very core of a direct selling business. It is the glue that keeps salesforce connected and motivated. Achievement of sales targets, penetrating new markets etc are criteria for qualification for incentives and trips. Our compensation plan offers rich graded rewards for sales performance with attractive incentives which is shared by the company with our distributors.
While generically in our product category, there is competition in retail, when we consider functionality and price segment, we are unique. The recent initiatives of promoting our brand through alternate media have been to supplement the word of mouth generated by consumers and more importantly to connect consumers to our Tupperware Salesforce rapidly. We offer a value-for-money product, which is backed by a life-time warranty. Consumers who buy Tupperware see this value and continue to choose us despite the premium price. In the long run, we see ourselves becoming a brand of choice for every middle-class home. This way, we will displace the lower-priced competition that currently exists in our market.
The network starts when
Any woman who wants to be a part of the Tupperware family, contacts our distributor who is in closest proximity to where she lives and attends the business opportunity presentation by the distributor. Subsequently, she is served a starter kit( the cost of the starter kit is Rs 686, which includes the product the lady can sell) and free training to help her kick-start a successful career.