Marketing Challenges for Parallel Marketer – Auto LPG retail in India.

Petroleum products have always been sold as the need-based products. You buy Petrol, Diesel, Auto LPG when you need it. With increasing number of stations, we don’t prefer to travel much for a liter of petrol or diesel or Auto LPG. A Simple rule was followed always, keep it visible and keep it available. 90’s saw the beginning of branded fuel and well branded fuel stations, Auto LPG stations in India.  We had premium petrol and Premium stations were offering services beyond the scope of just selling the fuel. The number of fuel stations, Auto LPG stations in India has grown sizably. And so has the marketing challenges for a Parallel marketer in Auto LPG retail n India.

auto LPG retail in iindia
marketing challenges in Auto LPG in India

Auto LPG is a different ball game due to its user base being different, More aware. A lot of stations came up with Auto LPG as an additional fuel in PSU network. Parallel marketers also strived hard and have a competitive network of Auto LPG stations today. The real change started when private players opened standalone Auto LPG stations in India. These stations did not have petrol or diesel, neither any supporting products like oil, battery or tyres to make some additional income.

As a parallel Marketer, challenges are different. Parallel marketers had no brand when they started. They had a Product which suited a certain type of vehicles and that was their USP. Established multinational brands with branding in some different product category enjoyed the advantage of branding. But the challenge of marketing always revolved around reaching the last customer within the cluster.

 

Let me narrate a situation, even if you are a CMD of a Petroleum company of say brand X and your vehicle needs fuel on road, you will choose the nearest fuel station. You will not care if its brand x or Y or Z. You would prefer a quick refill than the choice. Brands are important here but availability is even more important.

We faced 5 major Challenges while Marketing of Auto LPG

  • 1) Becoming a product seller to a brand

Auto LPG made brands like Go gas today. From a simple standalone product seller to crossing a network of 100 stations was a unique task. GoGas is the leading standalone chain of Auto LPG stations in India. Auto LPG stations today are making its presence felt with their unique product & services.

From Hanumangarh in Rajasthan to Satyamangala near Tamilnadu border, to Mangalore to Hyderabad, All Go Gas stations today are identified with its unique identity and branding experience.

  • 2) Service

We found out that service requirements of an Auto LPG customer are different than those of a Petrol Vehicle driver. With regular services, the addition of a technician’s kiosk at key stations can help solve customer queries better.

All complaints needed to be heard and solved. Each feedback is important. The sales process is the key area to stay in touch with the end user, as the time which customer spends at an Auto LPG station is less due to only a single product is on sale.

  • 3) Customer Requirements:

A major number of Auto LPG customers are Auto Rickshaws & LPG cars in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other parts of India. This was a simple yet amazing revelation that our Auto rickshaw customers were actually doing business with the fuel they purchased from us. They were actually investing every day and earning every day. They demanded service in less time, gave feedback on quality and were assertive about their needs from the brand.

Which meant we need to be always on our toes for our product & services. A Dry out day will mean the loss of customers. Customers will shift to a nearby location for the fuel. Availability needs to be managed at all the times, making it a

  • 4) Promotions
auto LPG retail in india
marketing challenges in Auto LPG in India

Promotions make an important part of Marketing. Can Auto LPG be actually marketed like any other product is the real question? Yes , it is actually possible. We can create and launch very successful promotion campaigns for Auto LPG user. A good Marketing campaign can get you a lot of happy customers.

  • 5) Our Limitations & challenges

Location is a Practical limitation. The number of stations against potential to sale ratio will always be ruled by the location of the station which is convenient to the customers. Look & facilities are a close second on the list.

But it is a challenge to work in the competitive environment, with a real pressure to retain the customer and drive volumes. Each day is a new day. Each company is competitive and wants a bigger piece of market share, which is actually good for the customers.

 

Our challenge is to be able to convert more and more people to Auto LPG. With only 3 models of factory-fitted LPG car models in Market, conversion has been a major task in the secondary market. Mostly unorganized, hence tapping the customers & convincing them to convert to Auto LPG has taken a back seat. Government support is needed to Push Auto LPG in this regards.

 

The major challenge is the Illegal filling of LPG. This remains the major hurdle at many locations and sadly is responsible for lower sales volume. Now with several measures taken up by the government, the solution is in sight and hopefully will have a real level playing field in auto LPG. 3 wheeler manufacturers are aggressively pushing their products, but the real boost will come with Auto LPG 2 wheelers. And 2 wheeler auto conversion is still struggling in the secondary market as no company fitted Auto LPG vehicle is available.

 

Auto LPG is a product which can’t be seen. physical verification is difficult. In a scheme, if I give you more then you can take that free fuel only if you have space in your tank. Even if you have space in the tank and you took free fuel under promotion from me, then you will not ride extra just because you got extra fuel.

 

It’s been more than a decade since the first standalone station by a parallel marketer was set up. The growth of Auto LPG is phenomenal in India. Today parallel marketers are leading with their standalone format. There are 2 parallel marketers who have more than 100 stations running today and they are having ambitious plans for future. The Future is promising.

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Does your cab Ride on Clean & Eco friendly fuel? Check before you book your cab

does your cab Ride on Clean & Eco friendly fuel? Check before you book your cab

Are you worried about Pollution in your city? Next time when you discuss the bad air quality of your city, rising pollution levels, traffic and other things, Think again. Chances are you could be one of the contributors for the same. What fuel do you use for your 2/ 3/ 4 wheeler? Are you using a clean fuel like CNG or Auto LPG for your car? Are you using an Auto rickshaw which runs on environment-friendly fuels like Auto LPG or CNG, Are you using a cab ride which runs on Clean fuels? Chances are that you are not noticing the point that fuels like diesel pollute and choosing eco-friendly fuels like CNG & Auto LPG can make a difference. Pollution is a reality which has knocked your door. Pollution is no longer only on streets. It is everywhere. We have seen in Delhi, Mumbai and also seen how

 

cab is convinient
convenience of cabs

Cab rides have become a routine in our country. Sometimes it is cheaper to travel by cab in my city than to ride my own car. Cabs have changed the normal & premium travelers use the public transport because of ease of use, great service, payment clarity, easy access and convenience. In a way, Cab has become a new premium public transport. Figures with over 2 lakh vehicles associated with a single cab service, the future opportunities are wide open here in India.  The only query is, are these cab services are using eco-friendly fuels? Or they are one more contributor to the vehicular pollution in India. Well, If such is the case then Mind you, my friends, that’s a big cost you are paying for your convenience. Have you checked if your favorite cab service provides a Green and clean ride? Have you wondered how much pollution your cab ride has caused to the city? Or you are not worried about that.

CNG car
CNG

The most commonly used vehicle for the cab is a diesel or Petrol vehicle. Mumbai & Delhi has cabs with CNG as a fuel due to easy availability of CNG. What about the rest of India? Especially in South India where Auto LPG network is the strongest and both Public sector & Parallel marketer are aggressively focusing on the Green fuel. Cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Mangalore have a very good density of Auto Drivers who use Auto LPG. In fact, Karnataka High court decision making it mandatory for auto drivers to use Auto LPG has triggered the green revolution in Bangalore & Karnataka. Such is the awareness of people in general in south India that Auto LPG is a way of life. Cabs using Auto LPG Can be a reality here.

Have you traveled in any Auto LPG cab till date? I doubt. Auto rickshaw in Karnataka, Tamilnadu , Telangana & Kolkata city run on Auto LPG due to the government measures. Auto drivers were the smart ones who converted to Auto LPG and saved 40% upfront on fuel costs. In other words their profits rose, earnings rose by 40% and technically they became the first crusaders of the green fuel in metros.

Let’s take cost of Fuel for a sample cab company with 2 lakh vehicles, in Consideration. If I take an average of 10 liters per vehicle for calculation basis, then daily 20 lakh liters of fuel either diesel or petrol is consumed by 2 lakh vehicles on everyday basis. Monthly approx. 500 lakh liters of fuel will produce enough CO2 and NOS to make air quality deteriorate. Not to forget that already lakhs of other diesel vehicles are on roads, spreading emissions. These figures are of 1 cab company. Repeat the calculation again for the next cab company. And repeat it third time for the unaccounted cabs running across the country.

Auto LPG is 40% cheaper than Petrol. Which means if average expenses of fuel consumed (20 lakh liters ) by a cab company in a month ( 25 working days) will be ( calculated @Rs70/-per liter) will be 350000000/-  I even can exactly say in words how much is it when i looked at it the first time. Now if Auto LPG is used, then this would have come down by Rs.1400000000/- Now think what foreign exchange you could have saved, besides riding the clean cab and contributing to clean Air. We have to import our petroleum products, considering a 40% saving can mean a lot. Business minded persons would understand what iam trying to say here. It is our own money with which we pay petroleum products, and we spend money on its consumption. If switching fuel could mean 40% saving, would you want to switch?

Let’s Take a Look at the CO2 emission per liter of diesel vehicle. http://www.ecoscore.be/en/info/ecoscore/co2 you will find the details of the emissions here.

 

Now the cab companies pass the bookings to the vehicle owners and who in turn deliver the passengers to their destinations. I’m not sure if Cab companies own the entire fleet of cabs. In such a case vehicle owner will have the choice of fuel for his profitable ride. Question is, are cab companies promoting vehicles with Eco friendly fuels or not? Is customer asking for a Green vehicle? Is cab company announcing that the ride which customer is booking is run on diesel or petrol? So far everyone is selling offers for business, hardly any action is seen on the emissions status of the vehicles.

Well, In India everything is okay, and even if it’s not okay, it’s still okay. I know that you are not going to convert to Auto LPG because you drive a premium car, neither you are going to convert the petrol vehicles of your company to Auto LPG, nor you are going to check if your cab driver has an ecofriendly vehicle. We will not do all this, and leave the work of protecting the air quality to government who in turn makes it mandatory only for Auto rickshaw drivers.

Sab Chalta hai.

Have a great day with emissions.

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