Hindustan Lever Ltd, which entered the water treatment market four months ago with the launch of its Pureit water purifier in the Chennai and Coimbatore markets, claims to have hit paydirt with this product. While senior HLL officials refused to confirm it, market sources say that the company may have already sold close to 40,000 units of the purifier.
Spurred by the success of its test-launch in a parched Chennai market, HLL plans to take Pureit to other cities in Tamil Nadu and also to Pondicherry.
Mr Dalip Sehgal, Executive Director (New Ventures and Marketing Services), HLL, said that the response to the product had been good and it was meeting targets from the time it was launched in early February.
Mr Sehgal said that Pureit was not positioned against other water purification devices as the market was large and presented a huge opportunity.
HLL's Pureit claims a revolutionary new technology to purify water as safe as boiled water without boiling, and without electricity or continuous tap water supply.
Priced at Rs 1,500, the purifier also claims to give water that is free of viruses and bacteria and can also remove pesticides that may be present in drinking water.
"The consumer proposition is that the purifier gives water as pure as boiled water," said Mr Sehgal.
Mr Sehgal said that as the product was an innovation, HLL decided to adopt a different route from conventional marketing tactics to sell Pureit. "It was important for customers to understand how Pureit works," he said.
As Pureit was a different kind of product the normal sales and distribution channel could not be used; nor could it be sold through white goods outlets. Instead, HLL set up what it calls Pureit Water Zones across Chennai city, which interested consumers could visit to see the unit being demonstrated.
Apart from mass media advertising, HLL also appointed a direct sales force, employed by a third party, to undertake door-to-door selling of the product and explain how the device works.
"We have around 200 people working the Chennai market," added Mr Sehgal.
Pureit works on a principle quite different from the purifiers available on the market, he explained.
A microfibre mesh first removes visible dirt while a carbon trap removes parasites and pesticides; a "germkill processor" then kills viruses and bacteria and lastly a "polisher" processes the water to make it clear and odourless.
The `germkill battery kit' can be replaced at a cost of Rs 250 and will process 1,500 litres of water.
HLL is rolling out the product across other cities of TN and later take it to other States.
"This product cuts across all SECs and is not targeted at any particular segment; anybody who wants safe drinking water could be our target," said Mr Sehgal.