Sending a Raakhi to the brother staying overseas has never been easier. TNT, the multinational express distribution company, is offering a customised Rakshabandhan pack this year, wherein a sister can send all the ingredients of the ceremony - rice, kumkum and Raakhi, complete with a scroll to write a message, all packed in an ornate box - to her brother. The experience is… well 'almost' complete, but for the sister.
"This special service is an extension of the company's philosophy to go beyond the customer's expectation," remarks Ajay Kaul, country sales & marketing director, TNT India, subsidiary of Amsterdam-based TNT Post Group (TPG). TNT forayed into the Indian express distribution market in January 1994. Headquartered in Bangalore, TNT India currently has branches in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai and depots in Pune, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana, Moradabad, Kochi, Agra, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Jaipur and Hyderabad.
TNT is aggressively promoting the Rakshabandhan initiative. Through websites like sitagita.com, beauty parlours and by organising activities in women's colleges, the company hopes to create awareness about the new package. Kaul admits that since Raakhi is not a national festival, the 'hungama' is bound to be restricted to the northern states. Nonetheless, the company will also target cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Calcutta and Ahmedabad. A customer in any of these cities can request for the consignment to be picked up from her house itself.
And to make life easier for the anxious brothers and sisters, the company plans to take recourse to the Net. It is offering customers an easy-to-use tracking service called the Web Tracker through its site tnt.com. This facility allows the customer to track the progress of his/her consignment on a real-time basis. In case the customer does not have access to the Net, he/she can find out the whereabouts of the parcel by sending an SMS to TNT.
The Rakshabandhan initiative comes close on the heels of another interesting initiative by the company - the Scholar pack. Interesting because it aims to 'educate' students on issues like foreign exchange, visa and travel services. For this purpose, the company plans to forge strategic alliances with companies engaged in these services. The idea is to explain the nitty gritty of these issues through roadshows, cultural activities and events in cyber cafes.
Kaul says both these packages were tried out last year, albeit on a smaller scale. But the response was encouraging. "To give you an idea, last year 1,500 Raakhi packs and 15,000 Scholar packs were bought. And this year we expect the figures to double." Kaul estimates that the company's latest initiatives would add another 1.5 per cent to the total revenue the company hopes to generate next year.
To put things into perspective, TNT currently commands 22 per cent of the Rs 425-crore express distribution market in India. While in the last four years the market has grown by 8-10 per cent, TNT has grown at a steady clip, by 38 per cent. "Today TNT is the second largest player in the industry, the first being DHL," claims Kaul. The other big players in this sector are Elbee, AirFreight and Blue Dart.
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