Redesigning the shop cart to meet customers' needs
Context In 2009 Sakaramenta was founded with the mission of facilitating transport in Malawi. The first successful product, the ‘Care Cart’ is a bicycle ambulance, designed to help provide medical care in rural areas without hospitals. Hoping to replicate the success of the Care Cart Sakaramenta introduced a new range of carts to their portfolio, including one for shopping, water and sanitation. However, sales traction was slower than expected.
The big question Why has the sale of new products been slow to take off and how can Sakaramenta adapt in order to generate demand?
Approach Marketing for Impact (previously Route67) conducted a mix of qualitative interviews and focus group discussions with the relevant stakeholders, including business men and bicycle taxis. During a multi-day workshop, observations of the research were analysed, translated into insights and and presented in a meeting with company management as well as a report.
Key research questions focused on getting an understanding of:
Customers’ current behavior and their likes / dislikes including costs
Perceived benefits and disadvantages of a bicycle cart (non-users)
Experienced benefits and disadvantages of a bicycle cart (users)
Quality assessment done by potential customers
Result In total, the research identified five potential opportunities for Sakaramenta, focused on either product development or marketing activation. One of the major insights of the research was that customers evaluate the price of a cart based on the materials it is constructed of. For example, if the local materials were used for the body, the willingness to pay was generally lower. However, for elements that were critical to the functioning of the cart, such as tyres, customers desired local materials to ensure availability of spare parts. One prominent recommendation implemented by Sarakamenta was to increase the price of the carts whilst giving the carts a makeover, adding flashy paint jobs and decorations. 6 months after the consultation, sales of this particular product tripled.