Coca-Cola schools rural retailers in business


We reported on how Pepsi recently threw an IPL party for its farmers. This week, it is Coca Cola that decided to tap into its large rural retailer network and train them in with the skills, tools and techniques required to succeed in India’s constantly changing retail scenario under their Parivartan program.

Launched in association with Bengal Beverages Pvt. Ltd., the conglomerate launched ‘University of Wheels’, a capability-building initiative that provides training to rural retailers such as kirana shops on business aspects such as Shop Management, Stock Management, Customer Management and Financial Management. The bus was inaugurated at Kolkata’s Taj Bengal Hotel in the presence of 15 retailers, Coca-Cola associates and the media.

In an official statement issued by the company, S.R. Goenka, Chairman and MD, Bengal Beverages Pvt.Ltd. said, “Parivartan is a great initiative that Coca-Cola University began in 2007. I personally visited the bus when I was in Punjab and I spoke with the retailers there as well. They were very happy with the trainings and spoke highly of the impact Parivartan had had on their lives. That is when I decided to bring this unique concept to West Bengal. We have worked with Coca-Cola University to make the mobile customized bus for retailers in West Bengal. We have developed content and materials in Bengali and the training is also conducted in Bengali. I hope more and more retailers participate and make use of these free trainings.”

Since 2013, the Coca-Cola University on Wheels has trained more than 6600 retailers including 600 women retailers. Meaning positive change, the Parivartan initiative has already trained more than 2,05,000 retailers with over 5,800 training sessions since its launch in 2007. This year, it is aiming to empower approximately 15,000 retailers in West Bengal alone, including 3000 women.

The mobile-classroom bus has been specially designed for training purposes and includes a screen, projector, audio–visual set-up and customized seats for enhanced learning. Participants are taught simple but effective techniques for enhanced sales efficiency and development like how to handle customers at the shop, how to manage stocks and inventory effectively, what makes a shop more appealing to customers, how to manage finances etc. Advanced sessions on Parivartan include merchandising, pre-selling, environment and hygiene conservation etc.

Dr. R.C Datta, Director- Coca-Cola University said “We started “Parivartan” with the first training session held in December 2007 in Agra. Since then, we have taken the initiative to several areas and reached out to over 2 lakh retailers. It gives us great pleasure to bring the program to West Bengal today.

“Training methods under “Parivartan” are specifically adopted keeping the participants in mind. We take a multimedia-training approach in the classrooms, using videos, text and trainers. Each retailer who completes the program receives a Certificate of Completion from the Coca-Cola University. We have received a lot of positive feedback on this initiative and we hope to continue to empower more and more retailers in the coming years”.

Parivartan is also a part of The Coca-Cola Company’s global 5by20 program that aims to economically empower 5 million women by the year 2020. Under 5by20, Parivartan has been extended to women retailers in an effort to build their capabilities and hence, improve their livelihood.

Coke’s move is a clear sign of the company’s intent to concentrate on Tier 2 and 3 cities as part of its renewed rural strategy. Apart from setting up these retail schools, the company is also giving away a Coca-Cola ‘Certified Retailer’ certificate to everyone that completes the program.

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Activation bengal coca-cola rural

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