Winning brands have always had availability as their strongest underpinning. Brands that have come closer to the consumer and the consumption occasion via exploring Innovative adjacencies; alternate channels; pack sizes, formats and breakthrough availability solutions ended up expanding the category and become market leaders.
Coke comes across as a natural first example – with their quest to place the product within the arms reach of the consumer. It’s hard to think of a place where you won’t find Coke – maybe hardware stores!
Another adage is the one involving Beer and Nappies at one of the major retail chains in the US. Consumer analytics showed that shoppers buying Nappies would also end up buying Beer. It made the retail chain display beer in the baby products aisle and saw its sales jump north. The observation was that in households with new born babies; fathers usually ended up being the shoppers for family staples at super markets and had to tone down their visits to pubs due to chores at home. This meant they picked up beer while grocery shopping for in home consumption to substitute the pub visits.
In India; where 7 million small stores serve a billion consumers with 25% of them earning less than a dollar a day; the winning brands have their sachet avatar which is essentially a 2 cent pack affordable to most consumers hence available at most retail outlets. All leading global brands from Tide to Clinic Plus to Head and shoulders are available in 2 to 3 cent packs and Coke is available in a 5 cent pack.
The most impactful format that comes to mind is that of pre-paid phone cards; which simply catapulted the sale of mobile phone SIM cards. It was hassle free, anywhere, on the spot mobile activation for the consumer; with advance payment for the service provider. It’s an extremely good solution to sell phone connection to anyone and everyone, anywhere and everywhere with upfront advance payment to the service provider. Contrast that to post paid connections; which meant verification for the subscriber’s address proof and ability to pay up; need to make a visit to the phone company office to initiate the account and the effort needed by the service provider to realize monthly payments.