India?s New Retailers

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In a dry and dusty fair in Osmanabad, a small town tucked away in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, a thousand women have just spoken. Their verdict is loud and clear. CANDY RED.

Consumer durables firm Godrej & Boyce is parading several colours of its new breakthrough product, ChotuKool, a nano refrigerator. A few fluorescent colours come first. The women vote this out with a cacophonous show of hands. They know what they want. Candy Red.

They did more than choose the colour of the fridge. They helped Godrej conceive and design the product. Then, from September 2008, when the first prototype of ChotuKool was unveiled to them, they began working with executives from Godrej & Boyce to ‘co-create’ it. The ChotuKool is like no other fridge. It does not have a compressor. It runs on a battery. Utensils and bottles need to be loaded into this 43-litre cool box from the top. It weighs only 7.8 kg and costs only Rs 3,200. And, of course, it is Candy Red in colour.

Over a hundred ChotuKools are being tried and tested in Osmanabad district. It is to the refrigerator segment what the Tata Nano is to the car market…only it’s a lot more innovative. ChotuKool, the product, is itself an innovation. The way it was co-created with village women, through several rounds of alterations based on their feedback, is another innovation. And the manner in which it will be distributed, sold and serviced is even more innovative

Source: Outlook Business (link opens in a new window)