Master of Business Administration
Faculty / School
Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)
Dr. Saima Husain
Committee Member 1
Dr. Saima Husain, Assistant Professor Business Administration - Academic Affairs, Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi
MBA Research Project
Abstract / Summary
Unilever, the market leader in the Frozen desserts and ice cream category with its brand Walls, has been facing a declining market share since the emergence of a competing brand called Omore, and additional alternatives in the market due to changing consumer preferences. The declining sales led to evaluation of innovative ideas to increase sales of Walls. The Customer Development department of Unilever is evaluating the possibility of moving away from the traditional pipeline model to a developing a platform model.
This model aims to develop a digital platform whereby the customer is connected to retailer through an independent delivery person. The proposed solution was to develop a direct to consumer mobile application which enabled the user to deliver impulse items to their doorstep within minutes. All three parties would coordinate on the Munchies mobile application to deliver a range of snacking options to the consumer’s home, for a minimal delivery fee. This business model would reduce dependence on the battery-operated trikes, which is an asset heavy investment for Unilever in the Walls consumer journey. To strengthen the business case, the consumer had a range of snacking items to choose from not just limited to the Unilever portfolio. Other items included Carbonated Soft Drinks, Chips, Biscuits, Sweets, etc.
Unilever Pakistan formed strategic partnerships with Venture Dive - to develop this app and do a pilot project with one of the ride-hailing services - Careem to use their riders as deliverymen.
Our project focused on prioritizing features according to importance, to shortlist retailers and service areas that would be part of the program, to develop a marketing strategy that appealed to the audience, and to test out logistics of the delivery, including testing packing materials.
Retailers were shortlisted as per the criteria decided, trained to use the Munchies application and were also provided devices to be used to accept and fulfil the orders. On the other hand, Careem riders were chosen as buddy and trained by Munchies team on how to accept and fulfill the orders. The Careem riders were handed a custom-made bag that would be used to deliver the orders placed on Munchies. The in-app collaterals were designed and made with the help of an external agency, and the catalogue of 1000+ snacking items was made by the Munchies team and uploaded on the App.
Once the App was operational it was open for testing and the testing was done in three phases. Testing results led to the change in the Munchies model. The repeated testing results led to the conclusion that delivery through only designated retailers was creating roadblocks. Retailers were difficult to find in the nearby locations as the App only identified retailers within the specified radius, or the retailers took too long to be located by the rider and thus increasing the ETA of delivery. As a result, retailer hubs were removed from the model and the rider was now free to purchase the goods from any store on the way to deliver it to customer’s doorstep. The revised model had a lower ETA, less steps to follow, less burden on the call center to answer queries and more autonomy to the rider to accept and deliver the order through any retailer as per his convenience.
It is recommended that going forward, Munchies should employ a project management tool to keep all stakeholders aligned, conduct an independent commissioned consumer testing to deicide the way forward, and charge a commission to other FMCG enterprises whose products are sold through Munchies Platform to make the app more financially feasible.
Shariq, M., Taj, M., Mirza, R., Shahid, S., & Puri, Z. R. (2019). New product development at Unilever - munchies (Unpublished graduate research project). Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan. Retrieved from https://ir.iba.edu.pk/research-projects-mba/218
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