CategoriesMarketing Sales

Cocoguru is now available at Reliance SMART Stores

Reliance Smart Puttur

We are extremely pleased to announce that Cocoguru coconut oil is now available at Reliance Retail Smart Stores! This Navarathri has been truly auspicious, Godess Durga has showered her blessings on us. For a small local player like us, it is a big breakthrough. Result of building the brand for so many years that Reliance has chosen Cocoguru among plethora of coconut oil brands.

Cocoguru is unique coconut oil brand in coastal Karnataka

  • to have a website explaining all the details about the product and the company
  • to have a major presence in e-commerce platforms like Amazon, flipkart and Meesho
  • to be run by a team of professionals in an organized way
  • to make roasted coconut oil for cooking use
  • to focus on automation and technology in operations
  • to provide purity and quality over lower price
  • to maintain hygiene and cleanliness in workplace and thick vegetation in campus
  • to provide ESI, PF, Health and Accident insurance to employees

When we started Cocoguru coconut oil, many of our well wishers casually asked if the product is available in super market chains like More, Big Bazaar, Reliance Fresh etc. It is embarassing to say No, but got away with a few lame excuses that they ask for low price, take long time for payments. 12 years back, we explored to place our coconut oil in super markets at Bengaluru. We learnt that we were no where near to placing it there.

What it takes to get into Modern Trade
The super markets have limited shelf space to keep a variety of brands for a product. They should optimise that space by keeping only a couple of brands that is most demanded. Note that is the most demanded, not the least priced or having the best trade terms. Consumers come and pick the brands they like and less likely the brands the stores push. So a brand makes into the super market shelf, when they are most liked. And that is hard and has no short-cuts. To be liked by consumers, the product should be of good quality at affordable price, have attractive strong packaging consistently.

Challenges for local brands in large supermarket chains
The trade terms for suppliers are highly one-sided and fully in favour of the retailer. Only way for small local brands is to fully agree to it. The super markets ask for a hefty listing fees, display rent, deposit to sell products and long credit periods. This can be financially daunting to the brand.

How did Reliance take interest in Cocoguru?
Reliance opened its Smart Store at Puttur. It started with a bang because of their aggressive pricing, wide assortment and convenience. Cocoguru is a highly popular brand at Puttur and it was not available there. Everyday there used to be many enquiries for Cocoguru at Reliance. Many used to buy all grocery items from Reliance and buy coconut oil from outside wherever Cocoguru was available. The store manager repeatedly informed the centralised purchase manager. We pitched them a couple of times. But they were content with the 2 brands they were keeping. One is a national brand, but not favoured in this region, priced at a premium. Other is a local brand, priced very low, unprofessional in dealings, poor on quality, irregular in supply. So market need and gaps with existing suppliers made Reliance look at Cocoguru.

Wholesale vs Super Market
Many a times, brands go all the way to please the wholesalers to buy in bulk. But at Cocoguru, we look to please the consumers. Consumers demand for Cocoguru and retailer is left with no option but to stock our product. Our biggest buyer is not any wholesaler, but a standalone super market here at Puttur. At super market, consumers can freely pick the product they like without much influence from the retailer.

So, Cocoguru being available at Reliance Smart is a win-win situation for local consumers, brand Cocoguru and Reliance Retail. This should be the first of many more placements at bigger supermarket chains. Cocoguru should soon be available at and consumers will be able to get door delivery in local area at much lower costs compared to Amazon and Flipkart.

CategoriesMarketing Pricing

How do we set MRP?

Normally it is no big deal to set a MRP (Maximum Retail Price). All the battle is fought between competitors on the wholesale price. MRP is only a maximum, retailers can sell at any rate below it. Set it as a little high so that retailers can sell at any price they desire. It is only about printing on the package. There is no obvious consequence. Taxes are only on selling price not on MRP. But, we at Cocoguru look beyond the obvious, beyond only the retailer’s interest. That is in the interest of consumers. Retailers may sell at any price they desire, but there is a paying consumer. Manufacturer may sell to wholesaler or retailer, but brand ultimately sells to consumer. Brand must not leave too much of flexibility to retailer to dictate their price to consumer, it must be limited.

Retailer’s interest
  • Higher margins – That is the reasons retailer does business or sells a product. He looks to maximise his returns on his efforts i.e. sale.
  • Flexibility to set price – Not all consumers are same, they buy different quantities and need different levels of services. Retailers also have differing levels of sales and cost of operations. To manage this, retailer should be able to get suitable margins by selling at his desired prices.
  • Give discount to consumers – Retailers like to woo consumers through discounts but without giving up on their profit margins.
  • Pay commissions – There are many spice shops in tourist areas like Dharmastala and Subramanya. The shops rely on tourist operators to bring customers to their shop. In return the driver demands commission from the spice shop for the transaction done. The margins from the transaction should sufficiently cover this commission and still the spice shop be left with handsome margin.
  • Not be guilty – Retailer looks for additional margins without being guilty himself. If consumer complains about high price, he can always point to MRP set by manufacturer and pass the buck.

There is nothing wrong with protecting retailers interest as long as it doesn’t exploit consumers, does’t hurt the brand and his own reputation.

Consumer’s interest
  • Low price – Obviously, but the reason for stating this explicitly and in the beginning is that the brand must consider this fact while setting MRP. Lesser the MRP, lesser is the price at which consumer gets the product.
  • Discount – Consumer feels happy with the retailer when he gets the product at significant discount to MRP. Consumers should be mature enough here to look at absolute price at which he gets than the discount on MRP.
  • Consistent prices – Price range in which he gets the product should not vary too much depending on the place and shop from where he buys
Challenges to brand
  • Price fluctuation – Cost of raw materials keep changing especially when they are commodities. This results in changes in wholesale prices and MRPs. To better serve the market, every player in the supply chain needs to maintain some stock. Changes in MRPs creates confusion in the stock supplied and billing rate.
  • Variations in nature of market – Different markets have different consumption pattern and cost of retail operations and hence the cost of supply
  • Favour retailers – To a brand consumer is the end, but retailers are required to reach the consumer. If retailers are not satisfied, they will only supply to those consumers who ask for the brand and sell whatever brand he likes to others. When the brand doesn’t enjoy sufficient pull, brand can ill afford to ignore retailers.
  • Different MRPs – Coconut oil is used for cooking in coastal Karnataka, so per capita consumption is more. Cost of retail operations are low as the towns are of smaller size. Cost of supply is also low as they are closer to our factory. So, we have kept a lower MRP here. Price sensitivity is very high. Coconut oil is used only for hair and skin in rest of Karnataka, so per capita consumption is low. Cost of retail operations are high in big cities like Bengaluru due to high rentals. Cost of supply is high as they are far away from factory. So, we have a higher MRP there. Price sensitivity is lower.
  • Minimum mark up Cocoguru is no ordinary manufacturer, we are a brand that care for the consumers. So, we look to protect interests of consumers even at the cost of being not too favourable to retailers. So, we keep a tight MRP that is a maximum of 25% mark up to wholesale price.
CategoriesCoconut Oil Marketing

Saurav Ganguly, heart attack, endorsement of a cooking oil product

Saurav Ganguly, the price of Kolkata, former Indian test cricket captain, was responsible for building Indian cricket from the abyss of 2000 to what it is today. The post is not about cricket, but about the cooking oil he endorsed, his mild heart attack, trolling by individuals on social media.
It is unfortunate that our idol had a heart attack and as we had prayed, he has recovered quickly after Angioplasty. The moment news broke out about his heart attack, people remembered the product/brand he endorsed. The fortune brand refined rice bran oil marketed by Adani Wilmar, advertised by agency Oglivy and Mather that claims the oil to be heart healthy. Why did he get heart attack despite being a sports person at highest level and at a young age of 48?

At one level, it is unfair to target Saurav Ganguly or the brand Fortune for his present health status. Brand only claims that the oil is good for heart and never claims that no matter what you do, you will never get heart attack. Saurav on his part, despite following a healthy lifestyle had to get a heart attack. I promote coconut oil for cooking and hair but I am bald and I am not necessarily the healthiest. So, coconut oil or the brand Cocoguru is not responsible for it. But for that we need to think fairly, which doesn’t happen in the emotional world of advertising.

Should Saurav Ganguly promote the product/brand?
Saurav Ganguly has worked hard as a professional cricketer to achieve success he has and rise to be a nationally adored celebrity. He has borne the cost of being a celebrity also. It is only wise he uses his reach to commercially encash on his popularity. But people are only questioning his responsibility in choosing the products he has endorsed. I believe he must personally use it, must have done some basic research and liked it before endorsing it to others. I know Harsha Bhogle for one does the due diligence before endorsing a brand. A few cricketers like Hashim Amla don’t sport Castle Lager logo on their shirt though it is their national sponsor as it is a liquor brand. With financial commitments it is easy to endorse brands that pay the most. Sportsmen are also under the pressure to make money fast as they have limited time appeal mostly in their playing days when they are playing well.

Should the brand select Saurav Ganguly for the campaign?
The campaign is about being healthy even after crossing 40 years of age and Ganguly is a correct choice for it as he is an icon for all people across the country who are of that generation. But the brand’s advertising agency must have worked with Ganguly to find out if he really is a user of the product, does the product really promote heart health? For any long term relationship to work, deal must work fairly both ways.

Risk of having a personality endorse a brand
Nobody would have anticipated Ganguly suffering from heart attack, so the brand must be excused for not covering this risk. There have been backlashes in the past for celebrities taking political positions like Amir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Swara Bhasker etc and users have boycotted the products they have endorsed. Celebrities are humans after all and have their right to opinion and expression, but it runs the risk of their followers liking it or not. Using celebrities gives brands immediate benefits of reach and liking, but it also carries its risk.

Is there any logic, head or heart in promoting refined oils as healthy?
The low cost of refined oil gives its marketers the wide mass market for consumption and hence the marketing budget to spend enticing the users to switch to it. Refined oils may be devoid of impurities like free fatty acids, bad odour, extra colour, solid particles and moisture. But why did the oil have impurities in the first place? Because they were inferior grade oils that were made acceptable through refining. Crude, raw, filtered, cold pressed oils are extracted from superior grade oil seeds and ready of consumption as it is, without having to undergo refining. But they are expensive because such oil seeds are expensive. Crude oils are healthy but their manufacturers don’t have the marketing muscle to promote it to masses. Masses can’t afford it either. Masses usually succumb to dubious claims by advertisers especially if it comes from a celebrity.