Monday, June 27, 2016

10-rupee auto ride in Bangalore & a surprising marketing strategy

I'm living in Bangalore for over eight years now.

Taking an auto ride remains as my last option till date because of unregulated fares and rude behaviors of auto drivers.

In spite of all that, last week I was really surprised to hear an auto driver charging just 10 rupees to cover an almost 2-kilometer distance, while the minimum fare is over 20 rupees.

Last weekend, I went for a metro train ride with three other family members. After enjoying the underground metro ride we got down at MG Road. The next plan was to do shopping at Commercial Street.

As it was raining, instead of a cab, we decided to take an auto rickshaw. We walked towards the MG Road auto stand. On seeing us, one of the auto drivers asked us, "Sir, Commercial Street?"

I said, "Yes".

To avoid conflict at a later stage, I asked the auto driver, "How much is the auto fare?"

He said, "10 rupees".

I thought I heard it wrong, I asked him once again.

He said, "Only 10 rupees, Sir."

Still, I was not convinced. My next thought was it might be a share auto. "Is it 10 rupees per person?"

"No sir. It is for four people. This is a marketing initiative. I will drop you at Roopam Textiles Showroom near Commercial Street. They have all kind of dress materials. You just have to visit the showroom. Even if you don't buy anything, no problem. We are employees of Roopam. You get the best quality dresses at a nominal price ," he explained.

We were very hungry. So, we wanted to eat first before shopping. We skipped that auto and decided to take another one.

But, all the available autos were from Roopam. We were left with no other option other than to visit Roopam Textiles Showroom.

Just by paying 10 rupees, we reached Roopam Textiles. The showroom guys were so clever. There were no separate entry and exit doors other than the lift that connects the parking basement to the other floors of the showroom. They make sure that you enter the Showroom.

We were dropped at the parking basement and one lift in-charge guy kept the lift doors open for us. One other clueless family was also there in the lift.

Though we had no plan to buy anything from that textile showroom, we ended up buying a dress.
Most of the customers in that showroom were families and seven to eight autos were fleeing to and fro Commercial Street and MG Road.

Even though it is an attempt to increase sales by persuading people, the innovation in attracting customers with the cheapest auto fare is really impressive.

Footnote: Dress materials are slightly overpriced.

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