• Do you remember that one evening in November 2016 when all the news channels were swamped with rumours of shortage in supply of the essential commodity salt? Expecting the prices to reach a ‘crazy high’, it led to a frenzy in various parts of the country with 9000 kg of salt ordered on the Grofers app from Delhi alone. Yes, demonetization was still a few days away, hence we didn’t quite realize the implications of an evening news.

    But what we do realize is that survival of individuals is at risk if there is no grocery market available to them. In order to comprehend different needs of different individuals, we analyze their buying patterns which helps us strategize on how to improve consumer experience (internally) and write a blog about few of the fascinating insights (externally). Wild Times, I know.

     So where else to start, but by looking at Patanjali – and how it has become what we call, the Zara of grocery shopping!

    10 years ago, there was neither a Patanjali nor a Zara in India. Today, most of us have heard about the growth story of Patanjali and are also very much aware of the ‘Baba’ effect in our own homes which once used to keep products of Head & Shoulders, Pears, Maggi and other top FMCG brands in the country.

     Why the comparison with Zara?

    • Both have a huge product range and are quick in reacting to consumer needs (remember the launch of Patanjali noodles immediately post the Maggi fiasco in June last year?)
    • Both have a loyal fan base (the health conscious and the fashion lovers respectively)
    • Both have established themselves as brands that provide value for money
    • Half of the people reading this post love Zara
    • Patanjali is soon launching its own apparel line so jeans for jeans comparison?

    Having said that, there are certain key distinguishing factors because of which Patanjali has been grinning like a whale, and we have been lining up for their products.

    You name it, they keep it

    From a Herbal Henna to a toothbrush, there are around 300 products that Patanjali manufactures to make sure that our lives are centered around them. It is already the Genghis Khan of Staples and is steadily spreading its dominance in other categories like Personal Care, Home Care, Dairy, Snacks, Beverages and even Chocolates (link).

    Patanjali hair care products have surpassed famous brands like Sunsilk and Pantene in terms of sales on Grofers (Dove, you are next!).

     dove 2

    What surprises us, even more, is the Facial Care category. The brouhaha over face-washes has taken the brand to the numero uno position, leaving behind the likes of Fair & Lovely and Himalaya. Who could predict this change? Not even Rajan.

     The Health Benefit Proposal

    Patanjali Giloy and Amla Juices (also called as ‘amrit’ by Baba), lift the spirits of at least 3000 Grofers users every month and make them pursue a healthier life. They have also re-introduced a lot of products which were earlier basking under the monopoly of Sadar Bazaar and other local markets. These products include Amla Murabba, Anardana Churan, Tulsi Panchang Juice, Badaam Pak, Hing Goli and many more. Not to forget the Godhan Ark which is refined cow’s urine to be consumed by humans.

    Their marketing team ensures to promote the ‘swadeshi’ products in every campaign and ours keeps a banner reserved just for them (on app and website) throughout the year. Two very adamant sets of people.


    The Pricing Game

    In case of ghee, Patanjali’s ‘most trending’ product, the cow-ghee, is priced much higher than Amul and Nandini. Yet, it sells as much as Amul which has been around for eternity now (fine, 70 years). Why? It’s a “pure desi ghee” so who would dare mind the price! Here’s pictorial proof from our website:

    Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 2.07.38 PM

    At the same time, if Kellogg’s is selling 250 gm flakes at Rs 91, Patanjali Flakes are available for Rs 85. The aggression on the price front is also visible in categories like detergents (vis a vis Surf) and dishwashing bars (vis a vis Vim). This act of balanced power helps Patanjali feature in 20% of our orders every day.

    Men love it too!

    As an outsider to the fraternity, I have witnessed a lot of Marvel vs DC conflicts but when it comes to buying affordable personal care to look handsome, data suggest that Patanjali Shampoos, conditioners and soaps are a big hit amongst men. One out of every 10 of them has bought those beautifying face washes. Also, who can forget Dant Kanti? 27% of the men buy this product as opposed to 20% of women.

    Yes, finally someone heard them. And since it has become an omnipresent brand when it comes to gender, no wonder patanjali’ is the most searched word on our app!

    Control freaks of the supply chain

    If you meet anyone from our content, inventory management or buying team, the brand they are all in love with (attached, dependent and scared of) is Patanjali. It needs a minimum order size of Rs 1,00,000 for delivery to a merchant in a metro city and doesn’t let you give discounts on any of their products on any platform.

    Worth the swag? Totally. Their distribution cycle is so controlled that the delivery happens within 3 days with an average fill rate of 80%. That kind of fill rate in retail sector is like getting to access youtube in a corporate office.

    Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 4.05.13 PMFrom Delhi to Chennai, Baba rules

    Human behavior is typical across geographies (hat tip to Abhay Deol in ZNMD) but you, like me, would still expect the southern cities of the country to have not fallen for the flag bearers of Ayurveda and naturopathy. Well, both of us are ridiculously wrong. Patanjali has the same GMV share in Chennai as it has in Delhi. At the same time, Hyderabad has a higher consumption of the celebrated Patanjali ‘whole wheat atta’ than Ahmedabad.

    The brand has achieved all of this in 10 years. To give you context, HUL started in 1933 and Amul in 1946. A start-up done right, right? Today, it is the second most popular brand on our platform after the home-grown brand ‘Best Value’.

    In a nutshell, the empire of the fastest growing FMCG in India is ready to face any kind of winter. Before you think any further, no, we haven’t been paid by Patanjali to write. It’s just that the brand is too cosmic to not write about.

     What do we do now? Honestly, nothing better than to think that it’s we who have led Patanjali towards success by letting them become a part of our lives (that’s the only way to not be jealous of Baba at the moment) and continue the ordering spree at Grofers!

    Liked this bit? Stay tuned for the next one – “Has India really become health conscious?”


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