Monday, April 9, 2012

Weekly Markets - Rural way of life

The rural consumer looks forward to markets and fairs that are held on a regular basis in townships, all across the world. These weekly markets and fairs provide the marketer with an exceptional opportunity to access the rural consumer. This blog-post identifies the presence of a remarkable distribution system that is available to the rural dealer. An attempt is also made to understand their administration, type of traders, the location of stalls, and coverage of products that are available. 

Distribution to rural markets is different from urban markets for multiple reasons. One of the reasons is that the cost of reaching the outlets for rural markets is higher because of the geographical spread. There is also a difference as a result of the type of channels available to the marketer. A distinct feature of the rural markets is the presence of rural fairs and the mobile traders. These channels of distribution exist because of the value that rural markets derive from these institutions. The perspective is to not only understand the working of these institutions but as a result to also understand the value that they add to these markets. Their existence is, therefore, understood from a consumer perspective. 

African Rural market
Picture from an African Rural Market, showcasing importance of weekly and periodic markets
The periodic markets are an important part of the rural way of life. The importance of periodic markets is greater in the interior, less prosperous villages. In the more fertile tracts, permanently located shops are more important as outlets of goods. At least once in a week, people assemble at a particular place to buy and sell products. They may vary in intensity of their transactions depending on the season, but they seem to have a fairly stable periodicity. They serve the village in which it is located and also the surrounding villages. Each periodic market caters to the needs of a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 50 villages from where an average of 4,000 people comes to buy a range of daily necessities and services. 

Consumers and traders that are attending these markets do not add much importance to the population of the village in which the market is held. In their view, the importance of a market is based on the number of stalls it has, especially number of stalls selling urban consumer goods. 

On the other hand, the role of Fairs in marketing the rural goods in the cities is gaining recognition over a period of time. These Fairs have also helped the rural entrepreneurs to acquire competitive strength in the urban market. A large number of rural entrepreneurs had an opportunity to interact with the urban people and understand their taste so as to improve their production process.

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