Project Everest

Channels

[CHANNELS] : Fuel Fiji July 2019

Lean phase: Channels 

 Aim:
This post outlines the channels that have been explored - headmen, sales agents, Natasha and retailers -  and the effectiveness of each of these channels. The primary archetypes that the Fuel project aims to reach through these channels are; those who value the use of firewood as fuel, those who value the portability of the stoves and those who value convenience.

Channels:

Headmen collecting EOIs; By using village headmen as a lead generation for the Buka Stove, PEV is able to provide the solution to more villagers while not in country.  This channel satisfies the awareness phase. The archetypes targeted by this channel are those who value the use of firewood as fuel, those who value the portability of the stoves and those who value convenience. Headmen were provided with EOI sheets upon signing MOU’s in week three of July 2019, they will send a photo of the new contacts to the Project Buka facebook page or to Eugina’s Whatsapp, every two weeks or the team may have to contact them when in country to arrange a time to collect the EOI sheet. They will also contact Natasha, our cook, to inform her of the number of people wishing to purchase a stove and to arrange a time to make that transaction at her market stall in Sigatoka. The customers that can be accessed through this channel can vary between the population of a single small village, to the population of an entire district. This depends on the influence of this particular headman and their geographical location.  Due to time constraints placed on the experiment no expressions of interest were generated by the two village headmen involved. Consequently this channel will be explored more in December as they collect the results from the experiment that is to be run in the months between July and December. This data can be found in the performance tracker and the Headmen spreadsheet. A similar system was tested for Sales Agents, it is a system that could be easily implemented in other regions or countries with little to no alteration.

Loaning Headmen stoves to sell; This enables villagers to have extended exposure to the Buka Stove. Through this, villagers are able to assess whether the Buka Stove is a viable solution for them.  This channel satisfies the awareness and evaluation phases. The archetypes targeted by this channel are those who value the use of firewood as fuel, those who value the portability of the stoves and those who value convenience. The Headmen of Cuvu Tore and Namada villages were loaned three stoves each in week three of the July project. And the Headmen of Votualalai was loaned one stove. The following week the team collected the payment for any stoves that were sold or the remaining stoves. The customers that can be accessed through this channel can vary between the population of a single small village, to the population of an entire district. This depends on the influence of this particular headman and their geographical location. One stove out of three was sold in Namada, but none were sold in the other two villages. Two of the three headmen involved expressed that the loaning system was effective in generating interest for the stove. This was because the community members were able to see and test the stove themselves. These headmen mentioned that they would be interested in loaning the stoves again later in the year, potentially for a longer period of time. This data can be found in the performance tracker and the Headmen spreadsheet. This is a system that could be implemented in villages across Fiji, depending on our relationships with those villages and their accessibility.

Sales agents collecting EOIs; Sales agents in Fiji are able to target PEV’s customer segment throughout the year and are readily available to submit EOIs. This channel is in the awareness phase.  The archetypes targeted by this channel are those who value the use of firewood as fuel, those who value the portability of the stoves and those who value convenience.  The current sales agents attended a workshop in week three of July 2019, where they were provided with EOI sheets upon signing MOU’s. They will send a photo of any new contacts to the Project Buka facebook page or to Eugina’s Whatsapp, every two weeks or when the sheet is full. They will also contact Natasha, our cook, to inform her of the number of people wishing to purchase a stove and to arrange a time to make that transaction at her market stall in Sigatoka. Five EOIs were collected during the time frame of this experiment however no sales were made from these prior to the conclusion of the project. Some issues were encountered in regards to submitting photos of the EOIs through facebook. These issues resulted from lack of mobile data and lack of access to a smartphone. This data can be found in the sales agent performance tracker and the question sheet.  This system could be used across the country, however at this stage customers must be able to access Sigatoka markets to collect the stoves and sales agents must be easily contactable.

Retailers;This sales channel allows for ease of purchase, as potential customers can purchase the stove while doing their shopping and running other errands. This channel satisfies the evaluation, purchase and delivery phases. Furthermore, this distribution channel would target potential buyers who value convenience. In order for retailers to be successful channels, PEV has established relationships with Shop 2 Save and B.L Naidu. These retailers are able to sell the Buka Stove on behalf of PEV. Furthermore, Shop 2 Save and BL Naidu have both been given spreadsheets to track purchases of the stove. PEV Trekkers have also distributed posters within these stores and around the Sigatoka area which advertise the Buka Stove and detail where it can be purchased. Through this channel, PEV is able to access customers whilst we are not in Fiji. In the follow up, it was found that many posters were taken down which limited the effectiveness of the lead generation activities and for that to translate to stove sales. The placement of the stoves also had a significant effect on sales. For example in Shop 2 Save, there was no price tag on the stoves and they were placed at the back of the store. It was noted that it was important to analyse retailer activity over successive months rather than the single week in July where no sales were made. Additionally, lead generation activities can be expanded to ensure permanent display of the posters and active engagement with locals. Finally, It would be ideal to collect more retailers to stock the stove to validate this as a feasible channel and would be inclined to stock more stoves. 

PEV; PEV remains an important distribution channel as it supplies stoves to sales agents and retailers who then sell the stoves on to customers.  PEV satisfies the awareness, evaluation, delivery and post-purchase phases. This is evident in that since PEV is the business responsible for making, supplying and distributing the stoves, it must be across all phases of purchasing. For these reasons, all customer archetypes are accessible through this channel, throughout the year. The business reaches their customer archetypes by building rapport with villagers and their headman, as well as retailers and other local Fijians. As well as this, PEV contacts the people that have expressed interest through any of the above channels to build value for the stoves and ensure customer satisfaction in the product and the services provided. 


Natasha; Natasha will take the stoves to her market stall and sell these stoves to  customers on behalf of PEV when not in country. Through this, our customer segment will be readily provided with stoves throughout the year. By using Natasha as a distribution channel the purchase and delivery phases are satisfied. In addition to this, Natasha would target all archetypes, as all sales of the Buka Stove will be carried out by her. This will be achieved by either supplying her with stoves or by giving her a key to access the Town House where  stoves will be stored while PEV isn’t in country. In addition to this, Natasha will contact PEV to inform how many stoves she needs based on the number of orders she receives. Once a sales agent has collected a stove from Natasha at the Sigatoka Markets, she will collect the payment of 90 FJD, of which 85 FJD will be transferred to PEV. As well as this, Natasha will collect the names and numbers of customers who have purchased a stove in order for PEV to cross check with the sales agents’ EOI sheets. Whilst customers and sales agents are yet to use Natasha as a channel for the Buka Stove, she will be highly accessible. This is evident in that she works at the Sigatoka Markets, which is in close proximity to many surrounding villages. This is a system that can be considered more in the future. As the relationships between the sales agents and PEV grows, some sales agents such as Anna who also has a market stall, could act as distributors on behalf of PEV.

Next steps:
The Headmen collecting EOI and sales agent experiments will be run in the months between July and December. The data from these experiments will need to be collected and assessed in order to validate the Headmen, sales agents and Natasha channels. Furthermore, more lead generation activities will need to be conducted for the retailers channel in order for it to be validated. 

Once these channels have been validated, further work is required on the key metrics, unfair advantage, cost structure and revenue streams. Customer segment requires further investigation into the details of the customer archetypes. Details of this can be found in the Customer Segment black label post

Eugenia Muñoz 6 months ago

Status label added: Channels

Reply 0