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Your shampoo is in the mail

03-March-2005
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Your shampoo is in the mail

It is no secret that your local post office will soon be selling financial products and admission forms. But daily household items like hair oils, skin-care products, food products? What is a post office doing in that department?

The department of posts (DoP) is poised to tie up with a host of fast-moving consumer goods companies —in some cases, it has already tied up with companies —to offer the public all these and more.

For instance, the Kolkata-based Emami has entered into a distribution arrangement with the DoP to sell its products through post offices. A similar deal with Kodak India means the postal people will soon be selling the imaging company’s cameras and film rolls.

The list is expected to get longer. The DoP is in talks with Hindustan Lever, Godrej Consumer Products and Marico Industries on hawking their wares in post offices.

Hari Gupta, president (sales), JB Marketing & Finance, the distribution arm of Emami, said: “This is a unique venture. We are currently doing a pilot project with the DoP to sell our products in the Maharashtra circle. After the success of this partnership, we will use its pan-India distribution network."

The revenue arrangement with the DoP is similar to that of the company distributor’s margin, which is 5 per cent of the invoice price. Emami produces over 20 products, including Boroplus antiseptic cream, Navratna hair oil, Sona Chandi Chyawanprash, Mentho Plus pain balm, Fast Relief and Boroplus Prickly heat powder. “We are using this channel to penetrate rural areas for our products,” Gupta added.

What does the DoP get out of all this? Replies Adnan Ahmed, assistant post master general, business development, Maharashtra circle, “It is another revenue-generation business opportunity. Also, we want to utilise our network of post offices in the country."

Ahmed continues, “We are in dialogue with Hindustan Lever, Marico and Godrej to sell their products through our infrastructure.” A Hindustan Lever spokesperson refused to comment on the issue. The Rs 3,200-crore DoP has over 155,000 post offices across the country. Looks like another retail revolution is round the corner.

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