Most studies in this area have used some of other type of models including simulation. They have used data from manufacturers as well as retailers. Most of these studies focus on the adoption by large retailers. The studies related to small retailers are limited and those relating to BoP retailers are scanty. Sixty retailers serving this population were selected. The cities in India possess mixed habitation. The customers belonging to different socio- economic strata live in the same locality. They also tend to buy from the same retailers. This is much more pronounced in food and grocery where Kiranas dominate. The share of new format self-service stores is still very low. The stores, therefore, were selected carefully so that these largely served the BoP customers.
The purpose of the study was to develop a theory about the brand adoption behaviour of retailers serving the bottom of the pyramid market. Moreover, in order to ensure all possible existing themes were captured, the study was specifically designed to be open- ended. A discussion guide was prepared that contained broad questions about how BoP retailers adopted brands.
Villages in 4 districts of the Indian state of Gujarat were selected to represent the BoP customers. In-depth interviews were conducted with 60 retailers from 28 villages belonging to these districts. These retailers were a suitable group because they served a population, which did not have high-income sources. Majority of the people in the villages worked in the agriculture sector and some others worked as daily labourers in nearby Talukas1. Moreover, the population of these villages had no or limited access to basic facilities likes healthcare, education and sanitation. Therefore, as per the definition of BoP by IFC, most of the findings reflected the existence of BoP population in these villages. The survey was conducted in villages where the population ranged from 834 to 30871. The population of only 3 villages were in excess of 5000. A total of 7 retailers were covered from these 3 villages but these retailers were located in the peripheral areas and away from main the village, where these retailers sold goods only to BoP consumers, primarily contractual labourers at construction sites. Some of the villages had primary schools. The population of some of the villages had access to a clinic in the village, while others were required to visit the nearest Taluka for medical help. All the 60 shopkeepers who were interviewed were males. The average size of the store was approximately 100 square feet with the smallest store measuring about 30 square feet and the largest measuring about 250 square feet in size. Each village had multiple shops which were generally located in different parts of the village and served a faintly distinct area. The villages did not have defined areas like markets, roads, and parks. In most of the cases the shops were located with the villagers’ residences.
The retailers sold a wide range of products, FMCG, cereals, vegetables, footwear, stationery, tobacco products, electronic items and mobile recharge coupons. Majority of the income of these retailers came from processed and raw food items. Some of them also sold electronic goods like batteries and torches and flashlights.
All the interviews were conducted in person and at the retailer’s shop mostly in the afternoon when they were to participate in the discussion. The retailers were interviewed only if they gave their consent to be a part of the study and those who were reluctant were not interviewed. The retailers were informed that the objective of the study was to understand how retailers decide which brands to select or reject and the reasoning behind such a decision. No systematic differences in the quality of data or in the substance of interviews conducted in different ways was detected. Wherever required they were asked to cite examples and cases to bring out the dimensions. The average length of interviews was 24 minutes, the longest one lasting for 88 minutes. The interviews were audio-recorded and they yielded about 400 pages of transcript.
|Number of samples||Village||Taluka||District||Population2|
* Population of these villages was taken as mentioned by the retailers2 Data taken from Census 2011, Government of India (Ministry of Home Affairs) – http://censusindia.gov.in/PopulationFinder/Population_Finder.aspx [Accessed on 13th March, 2014]
Table 1: List of villages covered in the study