Ever noticed how products have different units of measurement according to the focus country, or languages when in the case of appliances and software powering them or plug specifications and voltage requirements? These are pretty standard modifications made for countries to enable the products to gain a local edge.
Not so in Pakistan though where typically we see imported products either designed for the middle east market or for the oriental one. Completely ignoring the fact that they are being sold in a country, which neither speaks Arabic or Chinese and has a 180 million population representing a huge market for any appliance or electronics manufacturer.
Commonly referred to as retail strategy, such modifications are not present if the inflow of goods is mostly driven by commercial importers operating at a cottage level outside the net of any brand stipulation or ethics. Driven by market demand most of these importers have their shops in appliance markets all over Pakistan and thus sell direct to the consumers ignoring any strategy or effective marketing methodology.
For a largely uneducated population with high voltage fluctuation as well as cooking and appliance needs different from western societies it usually tends to translate into disaster of both culinary and efficiency in the households day to day operations.
Our market has seemingly started to react to this inefficiency as well and is demanding a more localised version of goods as displayed by some of the recent offerings by companies from mainland china. First to adapt even before appliances, have been smart phones who have fallen in cost and come with urdu menus now to allow middle class Pakistanis to own and to be able to operate them. Local mobile companies like q mobile have played a large role in this and so its no surprise that the same mentality is now seeping into the appliance sector as well.
A prime example of the changing landscape is Sabro which makes heating and air conditioning systems and has been tailoring them for affordability and utility to make this tech accessible just like in the mobile phone scenario.
Once we get effective local companies gaining market share it doesn’t take the international companies time to realize what they need to do and then you see a surge In much needed customisation. A recent example of this is the Haier series of refrigerators and deep freezers, which give, extended cooling times even during load shedding which sometimes stretches for hours in this country to keep perishables safe and fresh inside them.
As our market grows for these companies and displays the large volumes of buying it has the capability to, more and more companies will be attracted to this sector and this will increase competition and lead to products of a better quality as well as more localised Pakistan versions of everything we know. Which in turn will lead to an increase in ease of use and brand loyalty by customers. Shouldn’t be too long before everything is labeled in the proper national and regional languages either to enable even the urban rural divide which is significant in this country to be crossed with convenience. This is the world of 2014 dear readers and a market which changes according to its customers unique needs is the only kind of market that is going to sustain itself in the long run.