“We do not spend a lot of money on branding, to ensure that the prices of our products are commensurate with their real value when they reach customers.” Our story begins with that statement from CEO Trang Do, in explaining why quite a lot of Vietnamese consumers do not know about Tupperware, the brand of home equipment imported from the US. Even though its product prices are not cheap, Tupperware Vietnam still achieves impressive growth. Ms Trang Do shared stories surrounding the internationally-renowned brand with Việt Nam News.
Ms. Trang Do — General Director of Tupperware Vietnam
CEO Trang Do’s predestined opportunity to join Tupperware
As a senior staff member in the financial sector, why did you decide to join Tupperware in 2013?
Prior to joining Tupperware, I was aware of the brand as a consumer. In 2009, before I gave birth, my adoptive Singaporean mother sent me seven boxes of different things, all of which were plastic boxes, making me feel a little strange (laughs). After that, she simply told me that: “Not all plastics can be used with babies”. I then developed a habit of using these types of plastic containers to store food.
While using them became a habit, I didn’t really pay attention to the brand, as I only believed that they were good because they were foreign products. Later, I suddenly realised I had been using Tupperware for years without knowing it, after seeing recruitment information for the company in 2013 and noticing the similarities between their products and the containers I had at home (laughs). As a consumer with a great fondness for Tupperware products, I accepted the challenge of the new job, thinking that I would start from the beginning with the widespread development of Tupperware in the Vietnamese market.
As a consumer, you were very much satisfied with Tupperware products. From a professional perspective, however, how was the development potential of Tupperware in Vietnam at that time?
Compared to its nearly 75 years of development, Tupperware is a late market entrant in Vietnam. However, a new market also holds its own potential for growth. Especially in the current context, where in addition to good food people also pay more attention to eating safely for their health. These reasons helped me recognise the great potential Tupperware held in the Vietnamese market.
As a late market entrant in Vietnam, what business problems did you and company leaders face when developing the Tupperware brand?
Despite the enormous potential for product development, business efficiency was not high when we entered the market in 2013, as Tupperware only used a small distribution channel. After three years of research, Tupperware Vietnam standardised and expanded our distribution channels through authorised retail outlets, resulting in continuous growth ever since.
Sales at authorised Tupperware stores have increased 27 per cent on average each year over the last four years
How has Tupperware Vietnam changed its business strategy to bring its products closer to consumers?
Vietnamese people believe that “comfort is better than pride”. Therefore, we developed a network of distribution outlets in major cities to encourage them to invest in high-end products like Tupperware. These are vivid images, encouraging customers to directly experience our products and not merely relying on advertising with great compliments about the products (laughs).
Our current success lies in the collective strength and synergy between the employees at Tupperware Vietnam in particular and between Tupperware Vietnam and its retail partners in general. From the first store opening in October 2016, by the end of November 2020 we had 150 stores. Sales at these authorised stores grew 27 per cent on average each year for four consecutive years. Tupperware Vietnam’s revenue this year represents 82 per cent of the figure in the same period of 2019. Such results are a major source of pride for us.
What is the secret of Tupperware Vietnam regarding its steady growth, even in the context of COVID-19?
I have found that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped family members become closer to each other. In particular, our online orders increased sharply during the social distancing period. It seems that customers are paying greater attention to family meals, and buying Tupperware for food storage and processing is becoming more familiar.
A corner of a Tupperware store
“We say ‘no’ to any notion of increasing sales and profits while reducing product quality” (Trang Do - CEO of Tupperware Vietnam)
People often mention environmental protection issues with plastic items. How do these factors affect Tupperware, when most of your products use plastic?
Tupperware has considered protecting the health of individuals, families, and the earth as our mission from our very first days. Our products are therefore always aimed at long-term use, and at the same time are a cost-saving solution, ensuring optimal environmental protection. All Tupperware products are made from safe and non-toxic materials, helping to protect the health of your family. The product lifetime warranty is exactly how Tupperware protects the environment. We say “no” to any notion of increasing sales and profits while reducing product quality.
Are there any difficulties caused by high prices, which are the biggest barrier in Tupperware’s market share expansion strategy?
Tupperware is globally famous for high quality and expensive home equipment. In many countries, when products are widely consumed and have durable quality and aesthetic appeal, customers rarely need to buy replacements. Distributors sometimes have to wait for the next generation before they can expand their market share. Though the advantages of our products also pose challenges for our business, with new markets like Vietnam we still have considerable development opportunities. In particular, in recent years I have noted a new customer trend: they buy Tupperware products as a one-time investment for a lifetime, instead of spending a smaller amount on buying common household plastic products with a shorter lifetime and then replacing them numerous times.
Development of a dedicated product line, bringing new experiences to Vietnamese users
Looking back on a seven-year journey with a reputable brand, what do you think is the greatest success for yourself and Tupperware Vietnam?
After four years of continuous development, Tupperware products have become very popular in Vietnam. They are now found in kitchens, at schools, and in offices. Our customers can be old or young. Having 150 stores in 31 cities and provinces is an impressive result from Tupperware Vietnam’s four years of continuous effort. Even though we don’t spend a lot of money on branding, more and more people get to know Tupperware by word of mouth. Stories on social media about Tupperware being a secret to housework indicate just how successful Tupperware Vietnam has been.
Can you tell us more about Tupperware Vietnam’s upcoming plans?
I am planning to develop a separate product set for the Vietnamese market, to bring a new experience to consumers. Until now, we have only selected those products that are suitable for consumption habits in the domestic market, instead of distributing all Tupperware products. Tupperware Vietnam also gives top priority to the continued expansion of the product distribution chain, in both quantity and quality. Furthermore, we always put the internal business force of each store at the top for our business development in the Vietnamese market, similar to focusing on the quality of each product.