Sanjeev Patel, Managing Director of York – based outsourcing company CNG Business Services (CNGBS), has made a success out of something very obvious but ignored by most. If you want to target Asian owned businesses then studies show that tailored marketing can double sales! In his thirties, Sanjeev is a classic, dynamic entrepreneur.
More than 5% of the UK population have an ethnicity other than black or white, and of this 5%, 75% are from South Asia – mainly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This provides a lucrative, relatively untapped, market for suppliers who can access this sector. Step in CNGBS!
CNGBS now offers ethnic sales and marketing services from its Indian base in Mumbai.
Sanjeev Patel says, “Selectively marketing to particular demographics in society is big business and national brands are now realising the potential of supplementing their existing sales and marketing campaigns with targeted programmes focusing on ethnic-owned businesses. As our business has evolved from the retail space, we are ideally placed to assist suppliers in their campaigns as we know what a retailer expects and we understand how he thinks.”
The biggest hurdle is cultural and linguistic sensitivity. To succeed in this market, brands must use marketing strategies that encompass the cultural values and beliefs of the ethnic audience that is being targeted. Patel explains further; “It is only when customers are comfortable speaking to a supplier who they feel understands their beliefs that you have respect – which is necessary for confidence in and loyalty to the brand.”
CNGBS provides ethnic sales &marketing services for two types of clients; brands looking to reach ethnic owned retailers selling their products; and also for wholesalers who are searching for new retail customers while growing sales from their existing customers.
CNGBS helps brands more effectively reach into the independent retail sector where a large proportion of retailers are now ethnic owned, and by South Asians in particular – this includes newsagents, convenience stores, petrol stations, high street fashion and pharmacy sectors.
For example, CNGBS helps brands by directly contacting retailers to advise about special offers and new product launches, to carry out customer service calls, to ensure retailers know about any relevant new legislation, and to ensure they are aware of how best to merchandise a particular product. And the business has unique selling points. As CNGBS’s teams work 24/7, they are able to call late in the evening or early in the morning to ensure they reach the relevant decision makers, plus they are multilingual in all main South Asian languages so they can ensure their message is conveyed. Frequently, retail store owners come in early to open or late to shut the shop and are out for most of the day, so having a team that is flexible and capable enough to reach the target retailer is important.
For wholesalers catering to or wanting to cater to ethnic owned retailers, CNGBS provides a different range of solutions. The services include sales ordering and prospecting for new customers, which can be conducted remotely from CNGBS’s office in India. Many wholesalers provide CNGBS with target prices for the items they are selling plus minimum selling prices that an item can be sold for. This means that when the sales team speak to retailers, if they can give examples of items being sold for less, CNGBS has pricing flexibility to ensure a sale is made –even if it is at a lower margin. And a sale at a lower profit margin is better than no sale at all! The team regularly rings customers when there are special promotions or to clear wholesale stock which has a short shelf-life and thus needs to be cleared.
The sales team also prospects for new retailers in the wholesaler’s delivery area and finds new customers when a wholesaler is opening a new depot or looking to broaden its delivery postcodes. The process is seamless and as wholesalers provide electronic access to their ordering systems, all that is needed is to ensure that supplies are loaded from the depot onto the relevant delivery vans. Even the logistics can be supported remotely; sites can be called before the delivery van arrives so they are ready and waiting. It is a quick and easy way for wholesale businesses to acquire new customers.
Even the pricing which CNGBS charges wholesalers is unusual – they are able to price the service based on the volume of sales generated, so if no new sales are generated, there is nothing for the wholesaler to pay. This makes it very easy for wholesalers to use the services with no risk.
CNGBS’ client mix is broad and many prefer to use its services anonymously without letting the retailer knowing they are speaking to an outsourced third party. However, CNGBS’s clients include some very well-known brands like Payzone, one of the UK’s leading payment service providers and Toshiba, the photocopying giant.
As more suppliers look to target the ethnic segment, CNGBS is likely to be dominating behind the scenes, enabling these needs to be fulfilled!