Whilst devouring the leftover cake from last night’s party, I noticed, to my amusement, that the reason behind the celebratory food was the very container it was placed in! It was an event marking a year since Tupperware had managed to transform my mum, an extraordinary homemaker to a successful entrepreneur.
I owe that amazing cake to Tupperware’s unique distribution strategy, which worked out incredibly for the Indian audiences. The critical component of Place, when integrated with the other Ps of the marketing mix, constitute of the ultimate marketing formula.
Physical-Distribution Management caters to the movement of products through various channels of distribution (MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share.,2016). Jean-Jacques Lambin states the two roles of a marketer:
1.Organizing exchange through distribution
Distribution is crucial, as a mismanaged inventory might lead customers to move-on, leading to competitive losses, as, distribution accounts for 50% of selling price along with greatly contributing to customer-satisfaction (Multimedia Marketing, 2016)
Therefore, a decision on distribution can make-or-break the business. Thus, whilst making the decision, beginning with whether to opt for direct or indirect channel, a number of factors are to be taken under consideration.
Tupperware fundamentally incorporates the direct-selling approach. The channel follows intensive distribution, but surprisingly excludes the common retail-methods. The products are sold directly to the distributors, managers & dealers. Tupperware distributors aim on extensively training the customers themselves, and not employees, on dealership, thus expanding its sales force throughout. (Wikinvest.com, 2016).
The prime characteristic of Tupperware distribution is active involvement and empowerment of their customers for mutual benefits, as Tupperware India managing-director proudly says, “Dealers are our best type of advertising” (Mukherjee 2002).
Tupperware entered the Indian market in the year 1996, and since then, has gown exponentially. The promotion activities essentially involve parties, a brain-child of Brownie Wise, wherein women get-together and for the demonstration of the efficiency of Tupperware products along with sharing of recipes, health tips, snacks etc.(Singh & Shankar 2010).
This worked-out particularly well in India where majority of women are efficient homemakers, craving for a sense of independence from their largely parasitic lifestyle. Tupperware, by investing in this talent, instilled a sense of empowerment through flexible yet result-oriented business opportunities.
Furthermore, through these parties, they revamped the logistics, eliminating the distributor-costs completely. With todays integrated logistics, dealers place orders through a central-hub of Tupperware network, and factories then deliver directly to the host, i.e. a cost & time-efficient approach (Treacy 1995).
A modern pragmatic Indian desires a balance of brand reputation and quality with affordable prices. Through the strong global-strategy of uplifting the local talent, and increasing Brand-awareness, Tupperware has managed to replace the metal-oriented kitchenware in India to its high-quality, long-lasting, contemporary and culturally-adaptable plastic-kitchenware (Singh & Shankar 2010).
Push and pull system follows the movement of a product along the channel of distribution between the producers and consumers (Harrison 2003). When push-strategy involves pushing the product towards the customers for brand-awareness, pull-strategy involves encouraging the customers to seek out your brand actively.
Chandan Dang Singh, Chief Marketing-Officer, Tupperware-India mentions “Unlike most other sellers that rely on a push strategy to boost sales, Tupperware employs a judicious combination of push-and-pull strategies.” (Adgully.com, 2016)
Tupperware India runs a well-designed approach with incentives, benefits etc. to encourage their sales force. A dealer keeps a 25% of the earnings along with 20% off on any of the Tupperware products. Also, on enhanced-performances, they are promised additional privileges along with a generous 35% off on the new items introduced. (Watson 2012)
Tupperware India extensively exploits the print, digital media and television. Brochures are distributed in parties, adverts are printed in the leading women-centric magazines like Elle, Cosmopolitan, Femina etc. (Mukherjee 2002). It also collaborated with leading organizations like Samsung, P&G (Singh & Shankar 2010). The established brand name and the SheCanYouCan motivational campaign also contributed widely to consumer-attraction.
But unlike India, Tupperware’s unconventional distribution strategy wasn’t appreciated in some countries like China. Distribution strategies are highly subjective and China’s strict regulations, culture, along with the lack of space for parties, highly resisted the distribution, resulting into failure.(Mitra 2012).
Ironically, in USA, when Tupperware tried to enhance its sales through its biggest push into retail, it failed miserably. It involved invoking Tupperware-products at the retail-master, Target, with salespeople demonstrating the merchandise into the aisles. The easy availability and omnipresence led to a loss of interests and thus, a drop in sales (Brooks 2004).
Along with success, Tupperware also had its own share of problems in India. The increasing demand led to the illegal activities wherein the dealers sold the products through online sales & retail shops, which was strictly against the guidelines of IDSA (moneylife.in, 2013).
The above anecdotes highlight the potency of the right distribution-approach and that volatility of products is sensitive to the many factors involved in the process. There is no right/consistent answer! A correct understanding of the target-market along with commitment to consumer-satisfaction act as drivers for the right strategy.
As for my mum, this strategy was perfection, as her effortless aptitude of cooking, talking and maintaining an immaculate kitchen has gotten her a way to pamper her family even more!
Therefore, a big-big thumbs-up from the proud daughter!
Keep the cakes coming!!
Student Name- Saie Joshi
Mukherjee, R. (2002). ‘Dealers are our best form of advertising’. Available at: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2002-02-08/news/27340923_1_tupperware-india-tupperware-corporation-kanwar-bhutani
Multimedia Marketing. (2016). Distribution Channels – Multimedia Marketing. Available at: http://multimediamarketing.com/mkc/distributionchannels/
Wikinvest.com. (2016). III. DISTRIBUTION OF PRODUCTS for Tupperware (TUP). Available at: http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Tupperware_(TUP)/Distribution_Products
Adgully.com. (2016). In Conversation With | Innovation our strength: Tupperware’s Singh. Available at: http://www.adgully.com/in-conversation-with-innovation-our-strength-tupperware-s-singh-59506.html
Brooks, R. (2004). A Deal With Target Put Lid On Revival at Tupperware. WSJ. Available at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB107706271446632041
Mitra, S. (2016). Tupperware loses China focus to train eyes on India’s bulging middle. Available at: http://wap.business-standard.com/article/companies/tupperware-loses-china-focus-to-train-eyes-on-india-s-bulging-middle-112120200066_1.html
MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share. (2016). Physical Distribution Management PDM Definition | Marketing Dictionary | MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share. Available at: http://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/marketing-and-strategy-terms/7375-physical-distribution-management-pdm.html
Singh, A. & Shankar, S. (2016). Tupperware everywhere. Available at: http://bain.com/publications/articles/tupperware-everywhere.aspx
Watson, K. (2012). Tupperware Consultant FAQ’s. Available at: http://kiondrastupperware.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/tupperware-consultant-faqs.html?m=1
Treacy, M. (1995).The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose your customers, narrow your focus, Dominate your Market.
Moneylife.in. (2013).Tupperware India: When selling pressure starts burning network Available at: http://www.moneylife.in/search.html?q=tupperware