Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grand Kerala shopping festival: How can we improve it?

The grand Kerala shopping festival is a recent initiative by the government of Kerala to create a second shopping season in Kerala. There is an existing shopping season during Onam season when companies flood the market with discounts and offers. Now the government is trying to create another during the Christmas season to boost the economy. The Kerala economy has a great dependency on the service sector and consumer market. So the concept of boosting economy with a shopping festival is good, in fact brilliant. But just announcing gifts and mega prize for the shopping alone won’t do the trick. As a keralite I think we have to do more to improve this concept and make it really useful for both consumers and the entire economy.

I would like to make some suggestions on the same:-

1.       Promote Electronic currency:-     

      We can use this season to promote electronic cards (credit or debit) for shopping. May be government can give some tax cut for using cards for shopping above say 10000 Rupees (or it could be any other method). Promoting the use of cards among consumers will bring more transparency in billing and reduce the flow of fake currency. It may not show direct impact but still, over years we can make more and more transfers through the bank accounts and I believe it will help to bring many advantages to the economy.

2.       Make it more entertaining:-              

      As the name shopping festival suggests it should be moulded into a festival environment. It should not just end with prizes; we will have to bring in more entertainment value. The treasure hunt game is conducted successfully in many Kerala colleges along with some tech fests to make it entertaining. We can take some inspiration from them. Say if we can design a statewide treasure hunt event with participation of shopping malls and public that would be interesting. And we can bring in more cultural events along with this to make people more active.

3.       Conduct some international events:-                                                                                                             

       We can plan some international events in connection with shopping festival.  We are conducting many film festivals, schedule it along this period .Such an event can bring in more tourists and media attention. Remember the effect we had when the Argentina football team toured India. So there are a number of options in this area.

4.       Change the prize model:-                                                                                                                                                                    

       Our ultimate aim is to increase economic activity in the state. So prize given for such an event should help the process. Now instead of directly giving gold or money, gave shopping cards with specific amounts as a prize. They will have to spend it on retail purchase and we will get a chain effect directly on the economy.

5.     Promote Kerala’s own business models:-                                                                                                  

     Kerala has a unique business model in gold loan and selling sector also financial products like chities are also a feature of Kerala. Ensure the growth of companies in such unique sectors. Already some Kerala based gold loan companies have attained national and international attention. Government should frame policies to help them to increase the growth. Growth of Kerala based companies will help youngsters to build a better career.

6.       Make use of internet resources for promotion:-                                                                                           

      Social networking sites and other online resources can be used to increase the awareness of  this initiative among youth. Kerala has gotten a high rate of literacy and great presence in online communities. Online promotion doesn’t require large amounts of money. So we can get a low cost advertisement for the festival.

7.     Participate educational institutes and other organization:-                                                                 
      Kerala has got some premium institutes like IIM-K.  If we can bring in their management skills to this event, it will be great. It will provide a great exposure for faculty and students of IIM-K and at the same time it can help state government to bring in some professional management brains to the event. During the workshop conducted for ministers by IIM-K, they said they were looking forward to provide more useful services to the state. Also they  have become trend setter among IIM’s  by reducing fees and increasing number of women students. So I believe they will be happy to take  this challenge.

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