As of 2019 estimates, over 65 percent of India’s population lives in rural parts of the country. These customers should be a focus for companies that do business in India, as their purchasing power continues to grow substantially each year. By 2025, it is estimated that the consumer market in rural Indian consumers will increase to $100 million (up from $12 million in 2016).
Part of this growth is due to increased manufacturing jobs moving into rural India. As more jobs move in, fewer people have to leave if they want to find reliable work that pays them at least a living wage. Another significant factor is the recent telecommunications advancements that have brought internet access to rural India.
Here are three strategies for companies that want to tap into this new market to consider when planning ways to increase their use-base and provide even more value for customers living in rural India.
1. Offer localized services
Each Indian state is as large as a European country, and each rural village has its own unique challenges. Attempting to serve all of rural India as if it were one localized region will only result in failure. Companies that really want to serve customers in rural India need to take time to get to know different regions so they can deliver localized services.
For example, 999services.com offers air conditioning services for customers across India. The company utilizes a network of independent technicians who service homes in their specific regions. This localized approach allows the company to reach a broad customer base while still offering personalized service on a local level to meet the particular needs of people in every region it serves.
2. Gain trust through exceptional service and opportunities
Rural areas tend to be close-knit communities. It’s essential to build trust within these communities by providing exceptional customer service and delivering on promises. When rural customers know they can rely on and trust a particular brand to provide a product or service, they will be more likely to continue using that brand indefinitely.
The opposite is also true. Suppose one person has a terrible experience with a brand. In that case, there’s an excellent chance that the rural community will soon find out about it and collectively decide to do business elsewhere. There are fewer places to hide when working in rural areas than there are in urban centers.
One way to gain trust is by hiring locals to be part of the team. When a company can start operating in a rural area and provide a good living for people who live there, they add value to the entire community. 999services.com accomplishes this by working with macro entrepreneurs who serve as technicians within their local communities.
3. Develop a distribution channel
Navigating rural India can be challenging, especially for the more remote areas that are only accessible via two- or three-wheelers. It’s essential for businesses to thoroughly understand the available distribution channels for their products and services so they can meet the needs of their customers.For many companies, especially those unfamiliar with India, it’s a good idea to start in one state and then expand.
The opportunities for companies of all kinds to expand into the Indian market are exciting. Recent advances in technology are helping customers in rural India get access to the same great products and services as those who live in urban areas. Taking these three ideas into account when developing a strategy will benefit any company wishing to expand into the rural Indian market and provide value and support to the people who live there.