Marketing SHG products differently

NEW STRATEGY: Members of SHGs have set up stalls to market their wares in a new initiative.

NEW STRATEGY: Members of SHGs have set up stalls to market their wares in a new initiative.  

S.S Kavitha

MADURAI: You cannot miss them when you walk along the main roads of Madurai. You will not mistake them for the temporary stalls put up by financial institutions to sell vehicle and housing loans. They can be easily identified by their bright red canopy.

In the place of salesgirls who speak English, you have ordinary women who speak a familiar language.

The products they sell are much needed ones.

These sales personnel do not intrude on your privacy, trying to sell something you do not require. They sell products made by women.

"To tap the export market for self-help group products, this is the first step," says Mahalir Thittam Joint Director and Project Officer, S.M. Prabakaran, while supervising the stalls displayed by self-help groups at DRO Colony.

He points out that the difficulty faced by SHGs is marketing their products and to make the dream of having a good market for their products come true, the Mahalir Thittam, Madurai, has come out with an innovative idea of erecting temporary stalls at places targeting members of the salaried-class and tourists. The Government has sanctioned Rs.33 lakhs for the marketing of SHG products.

Twenty-two groups have erected 11 stalls displaying bags, napkins, snacks, terracota items, dolls, cotton saris, jewels etc. on New Natham Road. They have netted Rs.45,000 in the past four days since Friday.

"We chose this area to display stalls with household articles targeting salaried class during the first week of the month," says Mr. Prabakaran. The Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women provides the tent and lunch for SHG members.

As part of its sales promotion activities, the Mahalir Thittam has shifted its strategy from indirect to direct marketing.

To attract more customers, the SHG members also distribute key chains as compliments.

So far, SHG members have pitched tent at Tirumalai Naick Mahal, Meenakshi Amman Temple and Periyar Bus Stand. From Wednesday, they would begin their sale at Anna Nagar.

This strategy is to be extended to taluk headquarters and villages also.

Being a pioneer project, the Project Officer is confident that Madurai would take credit for being the first district to initiate a new marketing strategy for SHGs, who are struggling to sell their products all through the year.

The new technique of reaching to the doorsteps of people has earned around Rs.5000 for S. Susila of Vaikkam Periyar Nagar.

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