Indian Railways has been working tirelessly during the Lockdown to ensure that India wins this battle against COVID and we decided to create a small video thanking them for their selfless service.
While we were researching the facts for this video, we stumbled upon the huge infrastructure that Indian Railways has created in order to be self-sufficient.
With this infrastructure and news of privatization doing rounds (source: Economic Times), we think it would be interesting to see the implications of this for brands & industries.
In one of the biggest moves towards Privatisation, Indian Railways partnered with Amazon in Oct-2019 to facilitate faster, effective and secure transportation of e-commerce packages with future plans of optimised freight movement solutions- a first in the e-commerce industry.
What does Indian Railways have that brands can leverage?
- A large loyal customer base who interact with it multiple times a year if not more regularly
- A captive audience who uses the train services to move from one place to another
- Connectivity to the most remote locations of India, irrespective of the terrain
- Largest employee base in India that is extremely proud to work for the Indian Railways
- Prominent Sports Personalities who are recruited by the Indian Railways
- Fully owned subsidiaries that work on:
- Metals & metallurgy:
- Own plants to manufacture the locomotives
- Own production of spare parts
- Tailoring & textile:
- Own subsidiaries creating their own linen
- A platoon of tailors producing & repairing of uniforms across genders & body-types
- Food & beverages:
- Own brands of water (Rail Neera)
- Own canteens for the production of food
- Own supply chain for sourcing raw materials
- Distribution network across each station and each platform
- Metals & metallurgy:
- The Indian Railways also has a lot of lands that they own whether for railway tracks or for repair sheds or for railway colonies for their workers
How can brands leverage this?
Logistics & Supply Chain:
- Logistics is generally the biggest pain point for any FMCG brand, especially the smaller ones. So if you are starting out or are in your nascent stages of expansion, consider using the existing logistics of Indian Railways to ensure that your product is available in every city, every village, every town.
- Strike a deal with the railways to use their on-station counters to sell your products & gain visibility
- Tie-up with food delivery partners and ensure that the customers who are travelling by train can get your products delivered to them at their seats
- Railtel is a vast network of telecom services for the railways. They provide free internet on stations and also provide VPN services. Using the network to promote the brand is something that should be looked at more carefully now and should become part of the media spends actively.
- With RailTel also comes the opportunity to introduce social commerce – consumers who are on the train, with nothing else to do, will spend time shopping! Sell your brands online by tying up with RailTel! Think “Delivery at Destination” as a model with Amazon already working closely with Indian Railways.
- Just like the post-office, Indian Railways can engage their large network of stations with clerical staff and offices to provide exemplary services.
- Think of using this network to help your consumers go digital. All you need is to station a few employees on each station with mobile phones. These employees can help consumers to start digital banking, buy insurance online or even buy products through eCommerce.
- Right from mobile phone recharge to refilling wallets like PayTM or even getting the KYC done, the services one can provide through Railway networks are limitless.
- Yes, it’s controversial but it’s also true. Indian Railway is sitting on a gold-mine of data – where are people traveling from, where are they traveling to, what are the foods they order, how much do they like spending on their train tickets, how often do they travel with their families, preferred mode of transaction, how much in advance do they plan their journey, who all they travel with, what are the kind of internet consumption behaviour while travelling; the list is endless
- Using this data, brands can create their customer personas and market to them in a more targeted fashion. Adding a layer of socio-cultural insights will only make this exercise richer.