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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Riding a CNG for better reasons: Part 2

Incase you haven’t read the Part 1, here it is.

The first idea that comes to my mind is regarding mobile top-ups. All our mobile operators have successfully managed to increase their retailer network by collaborating with small shop owners in urban and rural Bangladesh. That way the retailers have another way of increased income through flexiloads, i-topups etc. Why not include the CNG walas in this scheme? If you are having an important conversation while on the move in a CNG and suddenly run out of credit, you can simply get it flexi-loaded from an affiliated CNG wala. That way you don’t have to disrupt your journey, look for an approved retailer and then top up your credit. This will also create commission based income for the CNG walas. However one counter argument to this idea is that, first the traffic jams in Dhaka are so notorious and choked that you can easily decide to get out of the CNG, get a flexiload and come back to your vehicle still finding it to be inching amidst the mindless traffic in the city. Female passengers might not be very inclined to give their mobile numbers to flexi-loader CNG walas due to fear of mobile abuse. Nevertheless, its just an idea worth considering.

The second idea in this line is up for charities/NGOs. Say an NGO decides to partner with a CNG owners committee which has say 500 drivers. The NGOs will be allowed to put promotional/motivational advertisements inside the CNGs urging passengers to donate by sending text to a certain shortcode. Incase someone does donate, a portion of that could be shared with the prompting CNG wala. Assuming that they themselves comprise as an important target audience for delivering of any social message related with say maternal or child health, AIDS, primary education etc. they can become advocates for not only the cause, but can play a role in motivating, urging passengers to donate for the issue. Albeit they have their financial incentives embedded in this model, but atleast it will be meant to serve better purposes. The NGO will need to take service from an intermediary mobile service provider to take care of the mobile based donation, rules regulations etc. according to BTRC rules. More on mobile donations, mobile marketing in later posts.

The third idea relates to urban retailing powered with mobile technologies and the CNG walas. Consider the following scenarios.

1.You get into a CNG asking it to take you to Banani 11. The CNG wala agrees and also checks that he is affiliated with Rosh (Sweet shop) and also to ‘Shada Kalo’ (Clother retailer) in the same area.

2.CNG wala informs you that incase you want to make a purchase from Rosh or Shada Kalo, he can offer you 5% discount provided he sends you a text with the timestamp and his unique ID, and you have to make the purchase within 30 minutes and present the SMS at the counter to staff.

3.You agree to the offer and receive the text from him. So you have his phone number, the time stamp and his ID and your countdown to purchase starts!

4.You decide to make a purchase from Rosh (buy sweets) within 30 minutes of the validity of that token and present the SMS at the counter. You can forward the same SMS to 10 of your friends and if they make purchase within that timeframe from the same retailer in the same process, they get the same discounts or same special offers.

5.Staff at Rosh checks the timestamp, the ID and the number and offers you 10% discount.

6.Staff asks you to forward the SMS to their number and that information of purchase/discount gets stored into the service providers database. Rosh shares 5% of the purchase with the service provider who in turn gives 2.5% to the CNG wala. Either this can be credited as air time or the CNG wala may be allowed to redeem the accumulated commission from the service provider who may be managing more than one interested retailers.

Why would a passenger be interested?
Discounts. There is no question of lengthy loyalty to be shown to the retailer, its all based on the fact that a passenger just happens to be in the same location as the retailer, a good enough reason to turn into a consumer and make the purchase, may be an impulse one.

Why would a CNG wala be interested?
Commission. They will have one more reason to ferry passengers to their destinations, hoping that incase the passengers make any purchase from any of the subscribed retailers in that area, his chances of earning some commissions on the passengers purchase are kept alive.

Why would a retailer be interested?
The possibility of getting more footprints in the premises, more purchases from new and old customers with a ‘location and timestamp’ catch in-built. The fact that the SMS tokens will be short-lived will be re-assuring to the retailer that quick sales take place.

Certainly this is a very naïve attempt to conceptualise the idea of location based retail marketing involving the cabbies, in case of Bangladesh, who make a major portion of the urban poor. While the west is still playing with innovative location based loyalty services through mobile such as Foursquare, we can still attempt to bank on what already exists in the country, no matter how basic and simple it is, as sending and receiving SMS and facilitating sales. I have mentioned earlier about the possibility of introducing location based services which will be extremely important and revolutionary from a retail marketing perspective in Bangladesh. Until that gets materialized, we can still ride and drive a CNG for better reasons, while Liton can continue his amorous adventures and still make a discounted purchase, all by riding his favourite public transport in Dhaka city.


BApPI said...

Interesting, innovative and very much possible to implement your idea. Other day, i was on a CNG, as usual, the driver asked 'sir, 20 taka barai dieyn' Since, I didn't want to be late in office, I had to agree unwillingly. Once i got it, I asked what the Value addition I am getting for paying the extra amount. Since, we both are living in dhaka, the living expense ratio is same for both of us. The driver was intelligent he said, he is providing a fan for my comfort. Actually, that CNG had a small Fan, which was in fact a relief from scorching heat. Though, half way the fan stopped working due to some technical glitch. But, I really appreciated his response.

HasanHabib said...

This is a motivational site. I am too much inspired by this post. I shall refer it to my community.

Freelance Bangladesh