Yakult – Executing The Perfect Serve!

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Yakult and their unique selling proposition (USP). The Yakult ladies, you see them everywhere, but why are they like magnets and what makes them different?

One time when I was studying the local market place in Seoul, South-Korea I came upon a business concept which I found to be very interesting. After being in the market place for some time I noticed several times nicely dressed ladies in light-brown customs carrying strange trolleys and you would see them almost in every street. The ladies interested me because I especially noticed they represented something that was very different, unique and special from what could be seen in a normal market. I started asking questions and was told these were the Yakult sales ladies. I also noticed when the Yakult ladies were mentioned –it was done with a great respect.

The purpose with my market visit was not to study Yakult however this was something I had to understand. The Yakult sales ladies could be seen everywhere and their presence would pull you curiously towards them like a magnet.

The Yakult brand is known as fermented milk product containing lactic acid bacteria that helps maintaining a natural balance of the intestinal flora as a part of a healthy diet system. Yakult is a health drink and the sales and marketing systems are designed and developed to reflect the brand perceived values –and the strategic marketing intends.

Yakult is not selling their brand to retail stores, only directly to homes, work-places, offices and schools. Focusing on these sales channels Yakult has achieved 44 percent market share in the fresh diary segment. Furthermore, the Yakult sales team consists of about 11400 direct and indirect sales employees selling through 499 sales agents branches. The Yakult brand name seams powerful enough to justify a stand alone direct sales system where the brand cannot be bought in retail stores in Korea. The concept means that Yakult fully manages their price points and they are not under the price pressure from retail constantly pressuring down the prices. Their sales operation is also invisible to the trade whereas they do not sell through retail stores.

Yakult executing the perfect serve

Yakult is a health drink and the sales and marketing systems are designed and developed to reflect the brand perceived values.

Yakult operates the right size product carriers and flexible cooling box sizes. They have the right selling tools in place to execute the perfect Yakult serve i.e. brand product, plastic bags, litter bin, lockers and white gloves to emphasize their product is unique quality health drink. The service details distinct them from their competitors, which makes them unique, different and special.

Observing the Yakult presence in the market place the first thing noticed is the sales representatives are extremely well trained and nicely equipped to execute the perfect serve. The ladies are wearing smart uniforms presenting the Yakult logo at the right places and the uniforms include hats, white shoes and white gloves. Their product carriers are practically designed in great detail to add “unique, special and different” values to the experience when buying from them. All the great details aim at one thing and that is to execute the perfect Yakult serve.

Studying the Yakult business concept confirmed to me that the cornerstone value of every sales business is about making clear for the sales force how their Company brands and services should be presented at the point-of-purchase. The reason for Yakult success is through their strong brand values and their massive focus at the point-of-purchase.

The Yakult sales ladies represent natural healthy diet, kindness, trust and quality as being unique, different and special. They are respected and act as diplomats being welcomed to enter any office building which are operating the highest security standards, when other sales companies are strictly prohibited to enter. Just imagine the respect and brand values they have built in the market. The whole concept is designed in greatest detail and even the Yakult sales ladies themselves behave in the same manner. They are; elegant, stylish, friendly and middle age.

Over time Yakult has crated habits for the people in their sales area being regularly served with a health drink that strengthens their consumers digestive system. The peoples life in the area have improved and they will continue to buy again-and-again, some people buy daily others three times per week and other more seldom. The service system is designed at root level and the systems strength encourages new customers to buy and current customers to buy more often and in more quantities and at higher prices. This is yet another example of a successful business concept that capitalizes on the value of their brands –and in every aspect they fully leverage their Company’s organizational systems strengths.

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