“Why do we fear pricing products?” This is the one of many questions that came up recently. Here is some background: That ring belonged on my finger. I am at a local crafts and organic foodstuff fair in Lahore with a friend when this sparkly jewellery catches my eye. There are a couple of people milling about behind the counter, but no price on the ring. “Price Kidher Hai?” – “Where’s the price?” I ask in that general direction. It’s a very busy stall, lots of potential buyers asking, tugging, expecting the wares – so it’s no surprise I don’t hear back until my interest is lost and I remember having a similar ring back home. As we drift away towards the home-made cupcakes stand, the jewellery seller calls out ” Rs. 850 or your best offer!”. SIGH! This was all too little
and too late!
Here, for the benefit for all future and past merchants, cardinal rules for selling at a fair:
Rule #1: Please, oh, please don’t make ask you!
As a casual consumer strolling through a pop-up shop, I am here to enjoy myself. Make it easy for me to purchase your product or services. Please, oh, please don’t make me ask you! That is such a chore and I am fearing a whole haggling situation, oftentimes I’d rather check out another shop/stall than struggle to get your attention.
Rule #2 : Price It
Have a set price written clearly. The final price. No haggling. This is not a street side bazaar.
Rule #3: Win the Wallet
“Win the Wallet” by lumping together the best-sellers with the slow-moving items – Offer ‘Buy 2 and Get 1 free’ on your mini-notebooks crafted from hand-pressed paper. Use Social Networks for your advantage AND offer a juicy discount to new customers- ” Refer our Facebook page to 10 friends and Check-in on Facebook – Get 20% on your current purchase”
Rule#4: Show Me What’s Special
When you have a unique or lesser-known product, you must educate the consumer. MUST. Record a small demo video with your cell phone and play it on a laptop at the stall on loop. Announce live demos every hour at the fair and make sure to include people who are watching in the demonstration. If you want me to buy the latest innovation in organic honey – garlic-flavored- give me a taste!
Tell me what you think – Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of preparation by sellers at local fairs?
Living on the internet, as the most of us do, we are used to brands coining new terms in hopes that they become trends on Twitter. The latest effort in the Pakistani Twitterverse is the phrase #techmela by the folks at Google.
The Google-powered “Techmela” ( technology bazaar ) is being advertised as the biggest online technology shopping festival with exclusive partnership with Daraz.pk as the site hosting the sale.
On the surface, it seems like the Public Relations team was sleeping on the job with the slow spread of the announcement of the “biggest” shopping event. Aside from the few tech-celebs cut-and-pasting a press release, there was little to go by on what differentiates this online sale from the thousands of products being sold to Pakistanis everyday.
As for the assumption that this particular Google-backed and Telenor-backed event is some sort of technological Messiah for the fledgling E-Commerce domain in Pakistan – I seriously doubt it.
Granted, when you throw in money by the way Telenor and Google, things will happen. I have to ask though – How is exclusively supporting one vendor when there are thousands of individual small business people in Pakistan selling their products and services online have any positive outcome on the adoption of e-commerce? This is nothing but a purely commercial event being touted as a social development.
If you are Google Pakistan, Telenor and any other stakeholder seriously invested in E-Commerce, listen up! The success of the E-commerce domain in Pakistan requires the following scenarios to be considered.
- If online users are not purchasing products, it is not because there aren’t the right products or even the right discounts being offered. The number one barrier to purchasing online is the inaccessibility to e-banking or mobile banking solutions – especially for unemployed women.
- Another reason that online users are not purchasing online is that even if they do select a product, the e-commerce vendor ( here I am referring to a small business person, not a Kaymu or Daraz) has little to no access to payment solutions such as door-to-door credit/debit card payment solutions. One example would be Monet’s Swipe2Pay mobile point-of-sale service, which can be a viable solution but they are bit vague on how to go about offering their services to small businesses at this moment in time. Such a solution would erase the anxiety that small business face when trying to sell wares to a distant location when Cash on Delivery is simply not an option.
Until the small business persons/merchants are empowered to sell their wares and receive payment from across the nation, the E-commerce domain will continue to be monopolised by the few and the connected.
As for the Google Techmela? IMHO, it is an amateurish attempt at capitalising on the earnest efforts of the tech and banking industry to bridge the gaps in the e-commerce domain.