Ajaita Shah

Founder and CEO
Frontier Markets

Ajaita Shah says:

For anyone who has been to India, this article points out a tenet of society so basic that it may be overlooked. Using urban family members (who presumably have expendable income, and are savvy enough to recognize the benefits of alternative-energy products) to distribute to the rural BoP would, in theory, significantly decrease distribution, advertising, and marketing costs. And, potentially, these family members who receive the products would be likely to tell their neighbors about their new aspirational amenity, and they in turn would tell their sons or daughters to pick up another from the city.

The potential problems come in education and servicing. Without proper knowledge of the products, the end-users may not treat or operate solar equipment adequately, and it will therefore be likely to malfunction. If such breakage happens, who will be there to fix the problem in the rural village? Moreover, unless the benefits of clean energy are well-explained, they may not be seen as truly valuable, at least in an aspirational sense.
In Reference To:

Family Roots: An alternative distribution network to the rural BoP | ThinkChange India

Article Excerpt: "If the spotlight for selling BoP-focused consumer products shifted to the urbanite with rural roots, maybe the strong family distribution networks would take care of the rest."

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