A recent article from The Financial Times reports that Levi Strauss & Co will begin offering its jeans on an installment plan to Indian consumers.
The idea of having to use a lay-away plan to pay for jeans may seem a bit unreal to people in the United States. However, as the article shows the Indian middle class has been able to buy many pricey consumer goods due to installment plans that are being offered to the growing middle class.
Now when it comes to Levis many rural Indian’s view it as a status symbol. The FT quotes Suhel Seth, managing partner of Counselage: “For guys in a village, a pair of Levi’s jeans is arrival and it marks a certain sense of equality with urban India.”
Even here in the United States, many stores like Kmart and 99 Cents stores, (yes you read that right) are setting up Lay-Away plans.
In this story there are some great marketing lessons we can take away. First, it is important to note the emotional value that the Levis represents to this consumer group. This is very powerful because these jeans are not being purchased simply for their utility but for what they socially represent. Is there any way that we can create the same emotional appeal for our products and services.
Secondly, when credit markets tighten all businesses need to find a way to help their customer buy from them. This may mean adjusting the way that customers pay for the products and services. In some cases this may be done by allowing customers to use more than one credit card or maybe setting up our own Lay-Away program.
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