Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Mood Consultant

Godrej , the furniture and security equipment company , has come up with a new initiative in its chain of (home and office furniture interior solution) stores,"Godrej Interio"

"The concept is called Mood Consulting ,whereby the store draws upon the emotional element within the shopper to help him ‘create the mood’, which translates into product selection.On entering the store, expert Lifespace Mood Consultants personally assist the shopper with several Moodspace tools to come closer to 'sensing' the eventual desired decor at the home", quotes Mr Shyam Motwani, Vice-President and Business Head, Godrej Lifespace


One quick visit to the nearest Interio store dispels the myth behind the concept and to confirm my beliefs : the concept is only a dream and never a reality.

The aesthetically decorated Interio store is a classic example of Indian retailing , which portrays clearly how several premium lifestyle stores in the country are being ruined and run in such pathetic condition due to a poor customer service despite its classy interior,ambience and design

The 10000+ sq.ft Godrej Interio store was run by just 2 store employees on a Saturday evening and was quite interested in filling their accounts and rather seemed quite oblivious to any help sought from the customers present. Upon enquiring for a computer furniture ,the store executive , visibly displeased from being disturbed in his work, after much deliberation,protruded a "fancy ,colorful" Godrej catalogue . He further added that they didnt have stock of any computer furniture and should choose only from the catalogue.
Apparently he seemed to fail to understand that the concept of retailing and the reason to build the entire store in the first place is to provide the shopper the "touch and feel" experience , rather than just browse a catalogue ,which one can see online itself.

During my exit , I'd noticed a rather strange ,large certificate hung on the wall , which read
"This certificate is to prove that all store executives of Godrej have been professionally trained to become "mood consultants" " .
When asked if that was true , the store executive with a smirk on his face replied "Yeah rite !"

Godrej might have taken the concept from the US / UK , but I presume they obviously didnt realize, "What works in the US doesnt necessarily work in India and vice versa"
Some people say , "certain things are much better if left in its original place" and it turns out to be very true in this case !

I rest my case !

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From Niche to Mass Market ? Where do u want to be?

In this media frenzied world , it is quite important for every brand to understand where it currently stands , what is its current positioning and where the brand should be seen according to its identity,values and characteristics
For example , A premium and an exclusive brand cannot afford to advertise in a mass market , which ultimately leads to several repercussions .
First it loses its target customers , the brand values are diluted and the core purpose of the brand and what it stands for is defeated.

This post is actually based on an interesting incident from the book, Accidental Branding I read recently read , and incidentally based on my previous post on Product Placement .

It talks about , how a small TV serial episode managed to change a niche and an exclusive brand into a mass market brand and led it into its major crash.
Seinfeld ,one of America's popular sitcoms , had a tie-in with J.Peterman ,a designer brand for a product placement in an episode

The scene goes like this :
[On rainy street at night]
Elaine: (sob sob) (bumps into man with an umbrella) …
I don't even know where I'm going.
Peterman: That's the best way to get someplace you've never been.
Elaine: yes, (sob) I suppose, …
Peterman: Have you been crying?
Elaine: Yes, (sob) you see this (sob) woman, this manicurist,…
Peterman: Oh no, that doesn’t matter now. That's a very nice jacket.
Elaine: Uh, (sob) thanks.
Peterman: Very soft, huge button flaps, cargo pockets, draw string waist, deep biswing vents in the back perfect for jumping into a gondola.
Elaine: How do you know all that?
Peterman: That's my coat.
Elaine: You mean..?
Peterman: Yes, I'm J. Peterman.

J.Peterman was an exclusive brand sold only through catalogues sent to a few selected people.People considered the brand to be a premium and far differentiated from other brands.
But after the episode , millions of them watched it and enquired about the J.Peterman brand of clothes. The "catalog only" model didn't work out anymore , and he was forced to sell retail.
The sales grew rapidly thus paving way for more expansion across the United States.

The expansion forced the J.Peterman brand to lose its "Exclusivity" tag and hence became a mass market brand . Incidentally for that episode, it was said Seinfeld and Peterman himself
wrote the script

He wrote the script for his own fall ! What an irony



Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Business Plan Workbook


The Business Plan Workbook: The Definitive Guide to Researching, Writing up and Presenting a Winning Plan
Publisher: Kogan Page | Pages: 416 | 2008-07-28 | ISBN 0749452315 | PDF | 2 MB

Written for entrepreneurs, executives, and students, The Business Plan Workbook is a guide to all aspects of business planning. Based on methodology developed at the Cranfield School of Management and using successful real-life business plans, The Business Plan Workbook brings together the process and procedures required to produce that persuasive plan. The case examples in this edition have been updated and include a cross-section of businesses at various stages in their development.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Indian Railways : Have they really embraced the Web ?

Indian Railways is one of the biggest organizations in the world and holds the record for the maximum no of employees employed under them. They have been quick to adopt changes, forecast demand in rail services and has managed to deliver constantly and moved on along with the times


Yet, their initiative to join the Internet bandwagon in providing Ticketing services and online information on trains may not be actually successful , compared to their forecasts and expectations.
The above failure is attributed to several reasons ,discussed below

  • IRCTC(Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) charges a service charge of Rs.40/- per ticket in case of Second Class and Sleeper Class tickets and Rs.60/- per ticket in case of tickets of other classes , for booking online.
The Rs.40 charge may not be a big deal ,but the concept of shelling out more to book online is frustrating , when we are actually saving transaction ,labour costs.Even the cost of printing the ticket is ours.

When all firms are encouraging their customers to perform transactions online , to save from overhead costs,employee costs,costs incurred in physical locations etc , IRCTC is charging more when one books online.

Citibank actually introduced a scheme called "Suvidha" where it charged customers around Rs.150 evertyime they came to the bank to do a transaction and not online.
Similarly private airlines such as Jet or Kingfisher offers a far better deal online rather than booking directly in an office.
Railways has to understand that , when one books online it actually means , less crowd in booking offices, considerable less human resource required and subsequently cost per passenger comes down considerably which thereby increases profits

  • Failure to integrate their reservation site and booking site. People usually log into southernrailways.org or www.indianrail.gov.in to check for availability and IRCTC.co.in separately to book the tickets . Indian Railways must integrate the sites , and provide an option for booking a ticket and linking back to the IRCTC website directly in that same page ,if the corresponding ticket is available. They may be two different departments / entities in the organization , yet it is a must to bring them together to increase traffic
  • The southern railway and the Indian Railways website looks like a horrible mess ,with huge banner ads and matrimonial ads (even airline ads, which is a direct competition) and makes it look like a cheaply hosted website run by a small firm , and definitely not look like that of a 5000 crore turnover Govt Organization
  • Server capcity and traffic handling capability of the Indian Railways website is extremely poor , with the server going offline several times a week . 40 % of the time , it shows a network or a database error.
  • The "search for Information " process to search train names, schedules or timings can be quite a difficult task for novice users. Only those people who are aware of the "string and substring search" concepts , and actually knows the mechanism of the search may find their required information . If the whole string is entered with a slightly different spelling , it shows an error or "No records found" msg, to indicate No such train exists ,and does not offer any alternative trains or suggest some other info .
  • Their "Spot your Train" feature, which indicates the exact position of any currently running training across South India is a brilliant concept (similar to the "track your flight feature in International flights"). Yet it has failed quite considerably with less support , and poor marketing . In a quick dipstick survey it was found that 90 % was unaware of any such feature in the Southern railway website.

If they could eliminate these errors ,and channelise their resources ,byr providing other services too, I guess they can reap in huge success and even convert some of the air travellers ,including foreign tourists to rail travel.

Probably they have to position their service offering , not as "just a train journey" but as an "experience" to savour

P.S - The last line was actually inspired from a true incident . The last time i travelled in a Shatabdi Express , the TTE actually loudly greeted all their passengers , like an air hostess and went and wished everyone a nice journey, personally

Monday, November 10, 2008

"The Bond" Marketing

The recently released "Quantum of Solace" has been touted as the "the next golden age of Bond movies" , with a fast paced ,realistic and a much "humane" movie . Starting from where it left, it has certainly accepted to be a far better movie compared to Casino Royale , with Daniel Craig delivering a powerful performance in the movie with his solid fist fights and chase sequences.

Yet, the movie seems to be missing on a load of factors , the usual Bond fan might expect to see.
For starters , the soundtrack of the movie ,"Another way to die", by Alicia Keyes is a major letdown , especially for a "Bond song" .Who could ever forget the 007 song composed by Moby for all those Pierce Brosnan movies ?

The next major factor that might affect the movie is the "In-film" Product Placement.
Product Placement esp in films , TV serials and games has been on a considerable rise the past years , with more corporate tie-ups and sponsorship deals between the production houses and the corporate companies and media agencies.

A product placement is a type of marketing/advertising , where corporate companies make a deal with the producers ,to make sure their brand /product advertisement appears on the movie in an indirect way , and follows a non disclosure policy

Some of the recent examples for Product placements that I have observed include :

Lage Raho Munnabhai (Hindi)- WorldSpace Radio
Life in a Metro(Hindi) - Shaadi.com
Fashion(Hindi) - Several fashion brands including Vogue,Lakme etc.
Chandramukhi (Tamil) - Tata Indicom

Hollywood :
Cast Away - Fed Ex
Devil Wears Prada - Vogue,Cosmopolitan, Star Bucks etc.
Minorty Report - GAP, Coca Cola
The Island - Microsoft
I-Robot - Converse

A James Bond movie particularly is quite renowned for introducing a whole new range of car models from famous brands , esp from the likes of BMW , Aston Martin, Volkswagen,Ford etc
This movie has certainly ain't been spared , with a whole new range of product placements throughout the movie . The audience were more tuned in identifying the brand names in cars,cell phones, alcohol,laptops,watches etc, rather than being absorbed in the thrilling chases and fights.

According to IMDB , the product placements and brand integrations for this movie include :
  • Aston Martin DBS,Alfa Romeo and the Ford Motor Company including vehicle makes Volvo, Range Rover, and the new Ka
  • Smirnoff Vodka, Bollinger Champagne,Heineken Pilsener Beer
  • Sony Electronics & Sony Ericsson cell phones including the Titanium Silver Edition C902 Cyber-shot Phone;
  • Virgin Atlantic Airlines
  • Omega SA Watches, James Bond wears the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M; Swatch etc..

I'm sure its a dream run for marketers and advertisers for their brands to be featured in a James Bond movie,which will be watched by millions of people across the world , but when it comes to the average moviegoer , I guess they'd prefer to watch an "original" movie rather than a "sponsored" brand movie.

So next time , in a movie ,the hero drinks a "Starbucks" coffee rather than just a coffee , you know what it is !

Thursday, November 06, 2008

To Change or Not to Change !

To Change or Not to Change !

We belong to a society , which has managed to build a closed surrounding, that resists change in any form. We desist moving into a new city or neighborhood , desist moving away from familiar groups ,desist moving into a new job or workplace,desist coming out of our personal space,afraid of breaking open the wall we have built all these years & fear of meeting someone for the first time and try including them in our group . We are cast into a particular form and shape and want to stay in that state eternally, meanwhile shaping others too in the process.
We expect people to behave in a particular fashion with us , and mold them according to our likes and dislikes.


We hate and despise new rules and legislation brought out in our society, schools, colleges, workplace and the country itself. We do not like someone to dictate terms on how do we do things.We want to do it in the same way we have been doing all along. We take a considerable time in adapting ourself to a particular habitat and its tough to force upon ourselves a new change , even if its meant for the positive side.How many times you have given this quizzical look , when your friends remark , "you have changed" , and retaliate saying "Definitely No". What better pride can you display than to say "I havent changed a bit. I'm just the same"

Dr.Meredith , in Grey's Anatomy says "

Change. We don't like it. We fear it, but we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. It hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn't is lying, but here's the truth sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh, sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is everything.


This new "change" eventually raises a lot of questions to question the validity of change and do we really need to change?
How often do we find ourselves in a situation asking the inevitable "IF ? " question .
"If I did that , If I had said that, If i had known that information, If I had told him the truth , If I hadnt done that , If I had managed to reach in time " , the list is endless.Only to later realize , "If" is just nothing but a two letter word for futility.You cant do anything about.
If one has to change ,it has to be for the future and not for what he has been in the past.

As Sidney Sheldon quotes " Future is like clay. It has to be molded day by day. Past is like a bedrock stone.It is immutable"

Even travelers and globe trotters , who has seen most parts of the world , actually discover life and find solace only in their own homes, no matter where it is or how small it is .
They may need a break , yet find their own feet only within the confines of their little home.

The line from Wayne's world summarises everything : We Fear Change

Yet , the same "Change" interestingly has been responsible in deciding whos the most powerful man in the world.
Barack Obama ,the first black president of the United States has successfully shown,what "Change" can do - to win a presidency , by assuring people , that Change is good, and it is there in the offing !

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ma Man !


Is there a single Ferrari fan on earth who wouldnt have shed a sympathetic tear for Massa ?

Who in the world would have thought , that the F1 championship title would have been decided in the last corner in the last lap of the final race of the season , which actually leads us to the question, Who was the best man of the race ?

Was it Felipe Massa who drove an impeccable race , leading it from start to finish. Or is it Lewis Hamilton , who stole a championship , with the help of Timo Glock, who "incidentally" had a Tire Temperature problem causing him to slow down and give way to Lewis .

Was it the man who pounded his heart with his fist,lifted the trophy and showed the thumbs up to the millions of Ferrari Fans across the world , when he knew he lost a championship by one point or the man who claimed his maiden championship with a defiant aggression and domination.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Cloud Battle - Windows Azure

Microsoft has released a new "cloud" computing service , where the data and the application will be stored in the giant data centers across the world , and not in the user's system
The chief aim of the software is to allow developers to build new applications which will live on the internet, rather than on their own computers , so that it can be accessed anywhere, from any device.

"Cloud Computing"


Several companies with massive data centers "rent" their space to other businesses who wants to build rapidly growing online applications without needing to invest in more servers,when the traffic expands
For personal users , their data and many of the applications they use could be stored online "in the cloud, which can be accessed from anywhere across the globe

Interestingly , Amazon and Google has already been in the cloud computing business, where they rent out their data centers for developing online applications for social networking sites, mobile phones, and E-Commerce transactions
Amazon created the model with its "Elastic Cloud Service" , while Google quickly adopted it and created a whole different suite of programs for online advertising and search. One of the notable applications was Google Docs, where people can create Spreadsheets and Documents online and store it in the Google server , which can be accessed anywhere anytime.

Microsoft was quoted saying
"Our customers still want to be able to choose to have their software offline, on their own computers, as well as online in the web cloud"

"We believe deeply in on-premises software and we believe deeply in this new world of software in the cloud," said Ray Ozzie.

Several critics and investors been constantly criticizing Microsoft for its failure to embrace the internet when it actually exploded, when companies like Google and Yahoo rose to fame and reaped billions in profits .
Will this be a new strategic paradigm shift for Microsoft to fight the competition and can they succeed? Lets wait and watch !

Source : Microsoft

Monday, October 27, 2008

Personalised Car Registrations

Personalised Car Registrations

Ever wondered having a fancy number , with a stylish number plate for ur car ? Browsed countless designs and yet returned unsatisfied?

With this motto of offering a personalised service in providing number plates, Northumbria Numbers was established in 1995 in the Border County of Northumberland also known as "The Secret Kingdom" .Northumbria Numbers offers the best service in the Cherished Numbers business , with a massive selection of private number plates .

One can search for ageless car registrations, prefix type personalised number plates and current style number plates and design it according to his car and type .One can also choose from Car Manufacturer number plates, Personal number plates and Professional number plates .
These Personalised number plates come at a wide variety of styles and price ranges.
So go ahead and choose one now !

Friday, October 24, 2008

Microsoft beats profits forecast


US software giant Microsoft has posted profits and sales figures well above analysts' expectations.

The firm made a $4.37bn profit during the first three months of its financial year, up from $4.29bn a year ago, while turnover rose 9% to $15.06bn.

Finance boss Chris Liddell said Microsoft had demonstrated the strength and diversity of its business model "in a challenging economic environment".

However, the company also warned that during the next three months it was unlikely to meet the estimates of Wall Street analysts because of the economic slowdown.

(Source : BBC)

Retail in India : Is it still taken for granted ?

The Indian nation might be in the progressive shift from being a developing nation to a developed nation but the state of retailing has never shown even the slightest change of improvement.

With investors and retailers predicting that India is steadily increasing on the organized retail sector (which currently owns only 5 % of the total market) , the facts and the reality actually proves the contrary

  • Lack of parking space (even for hypermarkets ) - Did they even plan one while building it?
  • Edible products that has crossed the expiry date
  • Domination of cheap store brands , with the major preferred brands (of superior quality) not even in the visibility zone ,or worst case not available
  • A complete disarray of product arrangement and a pile of garbage strewn across the floors
  • Torn, faded and worn out dresses due to old stock
  • Nonexistent customer service or worse rude and smirk replies
  • Poor Lighting facilities , difficulties in navigation across the store
and the list is endless


Organized retailing is not about opening a string of 100 supermarkets across the country.
Its about running at least one store very efficiently
Its not about boasting a 10000+ footfall every week . Its about a single buyer being satisfied with his shopping inside the store
It's not about opening a store in every area in the city. Its about making the people come again frequently, a factor that drives them towards the store

A recent visit to Subhiksha supermarket , made me experience all the above.
Employees on a verbal fight with each other , non availability of any snacks(including biscuits)
soft drinks and milk products and several other products, bill counter person refusing to accept money ,because she doesn't have change(can u believe that it happens in a supermarket ? )

As far as a premium fashion/apparel store is concerned(for eg.Pantaloons, lifestyle,Globus ) , we don't need a person to stand behind us to get the right size dress.
We need a person who can suggest a style of dress that suits our personality. The role of "Shopping Advisor / Assistant" is virtually nonexistent in any of the stores

The above idea was basically inspired from three sources :
1 - www.cdshirts.com : The talk to us column which contains the "I need help to find me a shirt" link , which identifies the user's taste and personality and suggests a couple of designs that can go well with the person
2 - Jennifer Anistons Role in F.R.I.E.N.D.S , where she is a shopping advisor in Ralph & Lauren
3. www.jcrew.com

No wonder people prefer the flea market than these "superficial stores" . The hassle in bargaining in a flea market is much less compared to the horrible store experience in these organized retail stores

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nouveau Riche

Nouveau Riche

Contrary to my previous article on the financial meltdown, and people losing huge amounts of money, I have tried to write about a new concept called the Nouveau riche

Nouveau Riche is a term of reference used by the already rich to describe people who had the capacity to become rich by actually working for it rather than by patronage and inheritance.
This term also refers to the fact that the concerned individual was previously of a lower socioeconomic rank, and such wealth has given him the means for the acquisition of luxuries that were previously unobtainable with his income.
The world has seen millions of these kinds of people, who have got something in them, to achieve their dreams and passions, with a ingenious business ideas and made billions in the process
Some of these billionaires include the greats like SAM MOORE WALTON, CARLOS SLIM HELU, RICHARD BRANSON, DAVID PACKARD etc

Considering the example of Sam Walton, the founder of the world’s biggest retail Mart, Wal Mart.
Starting as a small retail store, he has now built a huge empire of hypermarkets across the world.
On the other hand, Richard Branson has a different story. Beginning with a student newspaper at age 17 and a record label to which he signed the Sex Pistols in his mid-20s, Branson has built the Virgin Group into an international conglomerate of some 350 companies, many of them still tiny but all of them combining for more than $8 billion a year in sales
When asked about his business ideas , Branson quotes
"The conventional wisdom is you should specialize in what you know and never stray from that, but no other brand has become a way-of-life brand the way Virgin has. And it wasn't us setting out to become a way-of-life brand, it was me continually being interested in learning new things. We've got people all over the world who are coming up with great new ideas, and trying them doesn't actually cost us a lot relative to the overall size of the group." So they try. In the process Virgin has developed a business method that Branson calls "branded venture capital," whereby he starts and manages all manner of new companies under the Virgin name while partners provide most of the investment.
describes in detail dozens of such entrepreneurs who made it to the big. The Nouveau Riche in the list is so comprehensive and has managed to cover almost every single billionaire across the world from almost every country . It is really worthwhile and enlightening to have a quick read over it

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trace Your Money - Or was there one in the first place?

Trace Your Money - Or was there one in the first place?

A very interesting article I came across in the net , when I tried to figure out what actually happened to the billions of dollars the multinationals held , which they seemed to "lose" in a matter of days. Even the financial institutions and major banks shut down because of lack of funds .So where did this money go?

The answer was simple : There was no money in the first place ..

Here's the article :

Robert Shiller, an economist at Yale, puts it bluntly: The notion that you lose a pile of money whenever the stock market tanks is a "fallacy." He says the price of a stock has never been the same thing as money - it's simply the "best guess" of what the stock is worth.

"It's in people's minds," Shiller explains. "We're just recording a measure of what people think the stock market is worth. What the people who are willing to trade today - who are very, very few people - are actually trading at. So we're just extrapolating that and thinking, well, maybe that's what everyone thinks it's worth."

Shiller uses the example of an appraiser who values a house at $350,000, a week after saying it was worth $400,000.

"In a sense, $50,000 just disappeared when he said that," he said. "But it's all in the mind."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joy of Flying with the King of Good TImes

Just hours after my last post on embracing your competition , arch rivals Kingfisher and Jet Airways has announced that they will form a Code Sharing Agreement and a Joint Alliance.

(Just exactly like what "The Waking Life" propagates - Many people from different parts of the world come up with a similar thought flow at the same time - a thought process that travels across the world into minds, and strikes up a corresponding design)


With a steep rising prices in aviation fuel, the global financial meltdown and the sharp decline in the airline traffic , both Kingfisher and Jet Airways has come to realize that it is not sustainable to run the airline business in the long run, by competing against each other, after suffering a loss of $988 million between each other.

In fact , they have done the opposite. They embraced each other with a mutual agreement for both national and International flights and also sharing expenses in buying aviation fuel, despite retaining their individual brand identities.
Vijay Mallya himself has come out in the open , joining hands with Naresh Goel and proclaims that Jet Airways is a brilliant airline and vice-versa

This agreement leads to better seat utilization ,joint fuel management,crew sharing,optimization of flight routes and schedules and flight frequency and reduction in operating expense for both

With the current deal , the two companies now control 4 of the top airlines in the industry(namely Jet Airways ,Kingfisher, Sahara(Jet Lite) & Air Deccan (Kingfisher Red) )
and thereby easily have a combined market share of more than 60 % ,and with a intended strategy to increase the prices , its just a matter of time ,for the profits to come rolling in

P.S. I had actually assumed that embracing your competition was mainly advantageous in the retail sector. But it turns out , its true in any vertical or industry,as evident from the current post.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Embrace your neighbourhood

Embrace your neighbourhood

With the onset of Dussehra, Navratri and Diwali season, I decided to pick up a few apparels from the recently opened "Style One" store in Adyar , Chennai.
(note the stress on "Pick up" ,to denote the fact that Men still don't like to shop !)

After the purchase , I headed off directly to the nearby Sangeetha restaurant for dinner,where I noticed a strange thing. Almost 50 % of the people there had a Style One Bag or an Odyssey bag (the neighborhood apparel and book stores respectively) , which made me wonder , why wasn't this phenomenon converted into an opportunity . It was so obvious , that everyone failed to see it.

The phenomenon described here is not limited to the above locality alone. It happens everywhere ,across the world. How often ,being a restaurateur or a coffee shop owner , you have noticed people walking in with loads of shopping bags after purchasing from the nearest apparel store ? And have you done anything about it to keep the trend going ?

It's time that these restaurants or coffee shops located near the market place to embrace these shops and strike up deals , whereby these shoppers are given discount coupons or special offers in these restaurants/coffee pubs whenever they shop from these nearby stores for a certain amount

This acts as a win-win situation for the restaurants , the retail stores and the shoppers too (who anyways end up in the local deli for a quick bite. For the restaurants it directs more "targeted customers" to their place even during the lean hours , offering discount coupons for purchases acts as an added advantage to the retail store , and for the shopper its a mix of both

Offering a discount at a restaurants or a coffee shop is literally unheard thus giving a unique value added advantage to them.

For example, a Starbucks or a KFC or a Pizza Hut can tie up with multiple retail stores in different areas and offer specialized discounts . For each of the various outlets, they should have a corresponding retail tie up , who offers Starbucks discount coupons for every purchase.
The retail store can be a book store or an apparel store or even an accessory store.
All that matters is , whether the target profile of the retail store matches to that of the restaurant/coffee pub, and in most cases it does .


Exploring this opportunity might pose another serious question ? Can a retailer embrace another competitive store in the same street/locality?

The answer is Yes. According to Al Ries and Laura Ries , it actually leads to expansion of the category . As per the 22 Immutable laws of branding , Law of Fellowship quotes ,
"The best way to build a brand is to welcome other brands"
The best place for a second place brand must be in the opposite of the leading brand store, in the same street .When the top brands of the same category lie in the same area, the area becomes more popular for that particular category and more targeted traffic comes in .
People who were displeased with the competitive store might walk in and end up buying in your store , which wouldnt have happened in the first case
Rather than being a destination driven store,having low traffic or walkins , it gets converted to a category specific store in a related area ,which also leads to a far better conversion rate(Conversion rate = no of people who actually buy / total walk ins)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Do you know what you want?

Do you know what you want?

I just happened to watch a beautiful movie called P.S. I Love you and was quite amazed by it
Never for a minute thought it to be so beautiful and emotional about love .
What really struck me in the movie was a particular scene , where Daniel asks "What do women want ?" and Hillary Swank replies "
This is a sacred secret. Here it goes -
We have no idea what we want."

It's not only true for every women in the planet , but for every consumer. Until you give them something to try out and experience it , they may never be able to exactly articulate what they need.

So how does focus group discussions help ? They help in extracting cues.To identify the gap between their needs and the currently available product. It does not necessarily translate to what exactly they need in a product.

For example , When you ask them what do u need in a new food product to be launched , they might reply good quality , cheap , healthy ingredients , etc
But ultimately the only food they end up buying is the tastier one or the one which has a better packaging design and looks good.

Therefore building a product based on a consumers choice and preference may be suicidal sometimes. The same holds in differentiation. There are a million ways to differentiate. Probably one can come out with a blue colored ketchup ,or a circular shaped T.V or worlds thinnest laptop, which doesnt even have a DVD player.
So whats the use ? Do I benefit with a new variant or different color ? Of course not !

Differentiation for the sake of differentiation is a pretty useless thing.When Coke came out with the New Coke , it bombed in the market. Sometimes it is attributed to the "resistance to change" by the people . But the key factor is , the product has failed to satisfy any unrequited need .
This is where the Walkman succeeded. It answered the need for music on the move

So remember , differentiation maybe important , but whats more important is constantly searching for cues to develop the "most needed" product and not the "most wanted" product !

Blue Ketchup anyone ?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Singapore Grand Prix – A Race Review

As the five red lights illuminated, there was a gleaming smile across Bernie Eccelstone's face . With the stunning success of the Singapore Grand Prix, the whole world witnessed a spectacular event next only to the Beijing Olympics reassuring a secure future for Formula One, despite the threats of a rebel grand prix series . Fernando Alonso pulled off a surprise win and emerged as victor, from a 15th place start, despite cribbing about the circuit, and the difficulties in overtaking in the street circuit, during the post qualifying round of interviews.


(Pic taken by me in Dec 2006)

Singapore

An extremely beautiful travel destination and a central hub for several connecting flights, Singapore is one of those rare cities, which mixes business and pleasure in a perfect blend and gives a memorable experience for anyone who goes there even for a day. Singapore has come a long way down, in making sure the race was conducted in the best possible way , with awesome lighting effects , excellent road conditions and wonderful organization creating several records in the process.


The Start


With a clean start by the top three of F1, it was bound to be a predictable race with the near impossibility of overtaking in the Anti-Clockwise Singapore street circuit. But with the retirement of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, the sport has become anything but predictable. Pole Positions in qualifying has literally become meaningless with almost every team (except Force India of course. lol..) having a fair chance to win the race or at least a podium finish despite their starting position.


With the crash of Nelson Piquet Junior, it was the turn of the inevitable safety car to lead the race, as the huge leads built up by the Ferraris and McLaren came crashing down.


Despite all the glitz and glamour, it was a bad day for Ferrari and its million fans across the world. Ferrari's chance of a championship victory, with Felipe Massa on the lead, was almost doomed, after a horrific pit stop incident, when one of the pit crew failed to take the fuel pump from Massa's car, meanwhile Felipe was given the green signal to go.


Adding fuel to the fire, the steward handed him a "Drive thru" penalty, further inhibiting his chances to finish in the top 8 .The problems didn't just stop there .Kimi Raikkonen driving a near perfect race , was forced to wait behind Massa in the Pit stop, while the safety car circled the circuit as the debris of Nelson Piquet Junior's Renault was picked up . It was further followed by a 150 mile crash by the Finn and his chances of qualifying to the top three were also over.


The woes for Ferrari continue for the nth time, with several pit stop problems, engine failures, signaling problem, mismatch in communication (as evident from the fact that Kimi and Massa came in the pits at the same time) and so on.


As far as Lewis Hamilton is concerned, yeah I do admit you're a rival to me and I must hate you, just as the way I hate Arsenal, while supporting Manchester United.But I have to give it to you.You're simply terrific, aggressive and determined to the max even in a car like McLaren!


Hope to see several F1 races there in the future , though with a modified circuit and track conditions.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Make hay while sun shines but Make ur sale when it Rains

Make hay while sun shines but Make ur sale when it Rains

Have you ever wondered how to prevent a major dampening in sales especially when it pours heavily or during a rough weather climate ? Or given up , after being frustrated and attributed the problem to external factors - "The Nature"
It's just not you but it's the same across the world

People do tend to stay indoors in a bad weather and refuse to go out and shop

An insight already picked up by the "Restaurant and Pizza Chains" who suddenly came up with a free home delivery service , to cover up for those canceled lunch and dinner dates or meetings

So what do you do ,if you have a retail store.How do you make the guy sitting on the couch enjoying the weather, come out , travel in that rain ,snow or blizzard and walk into your store and buy something?

Simple. Offer a "Customized Day" sale !
To be more precise , introduce a "Rain Day Sale" - Offer a 25 % flat discount sale or a free gift ,on any rainy day ,applicable throughout the year . Be it the rare downpour in the hot summer or the monsoon rains in Winter ,the rule still applies .

The level of customization is endless in this. It can be anything from a "Snow Day sale" to a
"1st of the month day sale"
Apart from converting a major calamity into an opportunity , it also gives the store a distinguishable advantage from the others
The store thus gets a strong association with the word rain in the minds of the customer and hence increases the top of the mind recall



So remember , the next time it need not be only the umbrella guy who makes the most when it rains.It can be even you !

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Browser Wars : An Inside Look

The battle for the "browser" space has certainly heated up , with Software giants Google and Microsoft unleashing the "next generation" browsers with advanced features.

Here's a small comparison of the three top browers 



                 Pic Source : firefoxfacts.com

  1. Mozilla Firefox

  • Close to a 20 % market share , Firefox has been touted as the best browser ever to be released.
  • Offers something for every kind of user , both for the geeky and the normal users
  • First browser to introduce tabbed browsing , which totally revolutionized the way one    surfed the internet
  • First Browser to incorporate a  separate download box to manage all the downloads
  • Anti Phishing features, advanced encryption and security features
  • A drag and drop feature for bookmarking websites
  • Comparitively faster browsing and download ,w.r. Internet Explorer
  • Providing access to several sites ,that was actually blocked due to java script errors in    Internet Explorer ( My blog didnt open in IE , for one week due to a coding/script error)
  • An addon website from Firefox , for users to add any number of desired addons to their browser according to their taste,preferences and surfing

Top Add On features of Firefox
  • A search box to search directly in Google, Yahoo,Wiki and more importantly IMDB
  • Interclue  : A great add on feature ,to have a snapshot of the link we are about to click
  • An  PDF reader addon to directly open Pdf links
  • Customizable themes for the browser display
  • Spell Checker (quite an useful tool while blogging and composing mails)
  • Provides support for a wide variety of file formats such as Flash, XML,DHTML,ASPX etc..
  • Foxy Tunes - Complete control of any media content playing in the system, without swithcing windows
  • Check4Change - Automatically checks for a periodic change in website links and alerts the user when there are any updates or changes (Checking option can vary from 5 seconds to more than several hours)


Disadvantages : 

  • It takes comparitively longer time to load
  • It occupies a huge amount of Memory Usage ( little difficult for old and slow systems to work on )
  • When the browser crashes sometimes , the entire list of bookmarks saved is deleted (Has happened more than five times , losing important set of website and download links)

2. Google Chrome 

  • A browser from the most reliable ,innovative and trusted company in the world,Google
  • Provides option to directly import bookmarks from Internet Explorer
  • Extremely fast to load
  • Also provides tabbed browsing
  • Option to browse anonymously , without leaving a trace and no recording of history  by the incognito option
  • Recently closed tabs viewing option
  • Displaying the most viewed links,recent bookmarks and searches in the homepage (Extremely useful)
  • A simple and uncomplicated interface to work on
  • Inspecting sites and analyzing their code ( kinda cool for all those geeks out there )
  • Direct search in google in the address bar

Disadvantages :

  • The first thing that strikes you is that , theres nothing new to this ,compared to Firefox
  • Still in the beta version (you might never know when it can crash)
  • Inability to add "Add Ons" ,Themes etc
  • Errors during download and download buttons being disabled sometimes
  • Lack of drag and drop bookmarks option 


3. Internet Explorer 8 

  • In - Private Browsing  - Browsign the web without saving your history (similar to the incognito option in Google Chrome. U can create a totally new session to browse anonymously)
  • Web Slice option - Alerting users for any updates in bookmarked and selected websites
  • Much enhanced tabbed browsing than all its previous version
  • Integrated  address bar to also search in bookmarks,history,Feeds and stored websites
  • A sleek design
  • A far sigh of relief and enhaned browsing for Internet Explorer Users( definitely not for a Firefox guy)

Disadvantages

- Windows Genunine Check program before installation
( It allows you to install Internet Explorer only after confirming one is running a genuine copie of Windows in the system)
A major drawback , especially in a country like India ,where more than half the systems are running in a "Cracked" version of Windows XP , be it offices , schools, colleges or personal PC's
Thus it adds to the "Switching costs" and a complex Installation process



Disclaimer : This post is writtten based on my personal experience in using all three browsers since their release , and have evaluated the pro's and cons with the corresponding surfing experience

Like always , perceptions differ and one may have a completely different view and preference. The choice is yours :)

A fact to ponder about : Google has released a statement , that it will still continue to fund Mozilla for the development of Firefox .

Monday, September 01, 2008

Would anyone care if ur brand goes out of existence ?

A recent tragedy, just across my street ,makes me wonder what that actually meant to a lot of people.

Saravana Stores , a huge retailer in T.Nagar Chennai , caught a major fire early in the morning due to a short circuit . (One of the reasons I was perturbed was not because of the actual fire but due to the fact that , the whole area was kinda choked with police vehicles,fire engines ,road blocks and so on.)


It may not mean a lot to me , if Saravana Stores goes out of business the next day.
But it sure well raises quite an eyebrow and a concern to their target segment - The masses

It doesnt have any loyalty offers. They dont have frequent discount sales.They do not offer the best customer service or the "ultimate shopping experience" or the best quality products.
Despite all of that , they have managed to build a massive empire , as one of the biggest stores in Chennai offering everything from furnitures to clothes to jewelry
Not exactly defined as a hypermarket though , they have managed to create the impression of selling their products at the cheapest price ever possible.
Something what Wal-mart in the US has also achieved quite considerably

What these brands has successfully built upon over the past years , is a clearly defined target segment , a unique positioning and a hardcore loyal following and more importantly , an emotional bonding

One of the most definitive success factors for a brands to become sustainable over time is for people to have a emotional bonding and a unique position in their mind about the brand.

This is one of the same reasons which points out where Big Bazaar is failing.
Despite being a massive crowd puller , Big Bazaar has failed in creating a emotional bond over its customers.As long its the only hypermarket in town people would keep going to it. With the most horrible shopping experiences , poor services, and bad product qualities ,zero parking space Big Bazaar offers everything which you dont need in a hypermarket of that size

When Wal Mart ,Tesco or Spars comes in , I guess its jus a matter of time before people dump the Big B for the latter

And coming back to my main theme :

What brands would make me feel a lot if it goes out of business tom ?
1) Microsoft - I am totally addicted to its operating system and its Office Suite .
2) The Hindu - Not a day goes by without reading the Hindu
3) Google - A consistent solution provider for all my questions.
4) Philips - The best ever quality ,long lasting ,assured electronics company

None of the competing brands can ever replace these from my life.Cos they managed to create an emotional attachment , which possibly a Times of India ,or a Sony or as a matter of fact, Apple has completely failed to do so (Atleast for me !)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

China halts even the Rains

China halts even the Rains

Experts agree that the recently concluded Beijing Olympics was one of the spectacular and finest Olympics ever conducted. China had poured in billions of dollars for the different events by building world class stadiums ,sports arenas and also for the opening and closing ceremonies

But what lies unknown is the fact , China had actually taken the next giant leap in achieving the impossible - To control the nature !

Rains and thunderstorms had threatened the closing ceremony in the Beijing Olympics.Yet ,China remained unflustered by it , and went ahead in firing rain dispersal rockets from the ground and huge planes to cover a large area
Around 241 rocket shells were fired in nine rounds from Beijin,Tianjin and Hebei to disperse the rain clouds ,
It is also believed that around 1000 rain dispersal rockets were fired for the opening ceremony

It just goes to show the advancement of technology and the power man has gained in these centuries , and a force that makes nature fear him

The concept of weather and climate control by man , as discussed in novels like Are you Afraid of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon and State of Fear by Michael Crichton
are almost becoming a reality .

If man conquering the moon was the first giant leap, then in my view controlling the nature comes a close second !

Next is what ?

Friday, August 22, 2008

IPhone : Too expensive for a Laggard market


The IPhone has arrived in a grandeur style in India with a hefty price tag of 30 k and 36 k for the two variants

The customer base in India , is basically dominant in the Late Majority and Laggards segment. The percentage of the Early Adopters and Innovators is a tiny one , and doesn't stand any comparison with the norms in UK,US & China.

( The Innovators are those who purchase the product at the beginning of the life cycle. They are not afraid of trying new products that suit their lifestyle.
Early adopters are those who are usually opinion leaders and naturally adopt products after the innovators )

The long queue of people waiting the entire night in US,UK to grab a copy of the IPhone (initially priced at $399 and $499) was clearly missing in India.
Reports suggest not more than a handful of people waited to grab the first set of phones .

Was it because of the innumerable "missing features" ?
No
The compatibility ,operator or operation issues ? No

There was only one obvious reason : The IPhone was way too expensive, even to those Innovators , who usually doesnt mind paying a price premium on products . The IPhone has joined in the list of yet another set of brilliantly designed products that failed because of the price tag.

[The Ford Fusion is a prime example and tops the above list. A wonderful car , perfect for the Indian roads, bombed in the market when people found out it was simply too expensive for 6 Lakhs]

Irrespective of its sleek design , 3 G,Gps,music player,touch screen etc, IPhone still faces a major threat from existing players like Nokia ,Sony and Samsung who offers more advanced features for just Rs.20000

Apple must have realised from their huge mistake of slashing the phone's prices by more than $ 100-150 after the first week, instantly causing irreparable damage of lost trust and faith from its early adopters.The people who stood all night along to buy the phone felt cheated at the price reduction ,though Apple gave them back talktime vouchers for the equal amount.The day is not quite far for Apple to make the same mistake here.

After talking to several people who already own the IPhone (bought from the US) ,a typical reply is "I can tell u 10 reasons why you should buy the phone. But I can also tell u 20 reasons why you shouldnt buy the IPhone

It's also quite clear that the phone is completely suited for the Indian scenario.
Peope can download songs only through the ITunes software (ur usual cut and paste stuff for normal multimedia phones doesnt work here )

A common pasttime for all Indian cell users is forwarding messages.
The innumerable "send this message to 10 people" sms's throughout the night is not possible in an IPhone.

You cannot share your pics with others through bluetooth

The phone comes only with a Vodafone or Airtel connection

Only Apple can change the battery

You drop it once and its gone ! Dead !

and the list goes on

Will you buy it ??

Monday, August 18, 2008

Design & Packaging :"Squeezing the right way ahead"

Design & Packaging :"Squeezing the right way ahead"

The key success for most brands has come from their way of identifying the customer needs and more importantly the their level of understanding and cognizance of the way their product is being used (not even considering the scenario of whether being used in the intended way)

History points out to several thousands of brilliant innovative products that is now down in the dumps, because the brands failed to understand how it was actually perceived or people find it complex enough to understand how to actually use it ,that they opt in for a simpler product.

A sparkling idea , from, HUL, the FMCG giants (once in a blue moon they do come up with smart ideas, believe me!) has questioned the entire long history of the way “Jams” were being packaged, designed and marketed .

After decades of research, Kisan Jam (a market leader in the “Jam” category in India), another radiant brand in the HUL portfolio, has realized that children, the main target segment for jams, are finding it difficult to take the jam out of the wide yet narrow necked bottle. Most of the spoons in the household do not go into the bottle and knives have to be used to take a scoop of jam. Obviously knives are a dangerous product to be used by small kids. Added to that ,the bottles are expensive, and is of no use to the customer after its finished.

Kisan Jams has now introduced the latest “Jam Squeeze”, where the product is packaged in the form of a tube, where all one needs to do is to squeeze the jam onto the plate or directly in the bread.
(They also have tied up with Disney to print several cartoon characters in the tubes to target young kids)
Simple, yet brilliant isn’t it?
Another prime example is Microsoft Vista. Microsoft spends thousands of dollars in understand the way users browse the interface and perform several operations. One thing, they largely found was Windows XP users found it difficult in searching for files in their computer using the find files option. Either it took a lot of time to search or it was complicated and most of the time the search returned with no results. People then migrated and installed the Google Desktop software which basically indexed the entire system, and with a press of few letters, all related files corresponding to the letters were displayed.

Vista, was immediately incorporated with an Indexing service in their start menu itself, that saved several minutes for users trying to find their old files
Another important change in Vista was their packaging. Windows XP earlier was released as a professional and Home edition.(99 % of the users ended up using the professional version only)

Vista is now packaged and sold in several variants such as Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Business. Their user segment clearly identified, targeted and positioned.Any advanced user might actually realize all these are the same. The only difference between a Premium and a Business is that in Premium, you get to play those small games like Chess, Pinball etc and while in a business you can’t.
But if one actually probes through the settings, one can find the same features in the Add Windows Components in the Control Panel. Be it a Fax Service in Vista Premium or a chess game in Vista Business, the customization is always available.
Yet people have a completely different perception for each of these variants.

My proposition is that, brands do not need to change their product altogether, if their sales or growth comes down. All they need to do is to identify the actually product usage method, change their packaging accordingly in a way that is easy to use, visually appealing and effective of all

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Bazaar, Waking Life, & The Secret

I guess people are wondering what on earth the blog title meant. Well for starters, it’s an attempt to link three interesting phenomenon I encountered in the past few days.

The first thing was a trip to Big Bazaar in Pondy Bazaar (Chennai, India) , a big ,fat and an ugly store that seriously stirs up a strong thought inside me and reconsiders the pathetic state of organized retailing in India


The second thing is about two people, who had expressed an almost similar thought in their blogs at the same time I had planned to write on an analogous idea.
The third one is the connector. A common philosophy and a strange event that happens in one’s life, being described in two movies:

The Waking Life: A brilliant thought provoking movie on dreams and reality. One of the things the movie talked about was, when people from different parts of the world, totally unrelated to each other, come up with the same inventions or a comparable idea at the same time. It makes one wonder, whether there is a thought process that travels across the world into minds, and strikes up a corresponding design

The Secret: Not really delving into the “secret” of the Secret, this one is an interesting point made by the author. When you are thinking about someone, say an old friend, the next moment they either see you somewhere or call you. Likewise, when you randomly think about a particular idea or subject, you suddenly get to read about it in the paper or TV or a website .A similar thought flow in place in the system of the world.

The Big Bazaar visit: A couple of days after opening of its new store in Pondy Bazaar, I visited the store with a mix of anticipation .It happened to be a damp squib after all. Here is why:
  • A five story massive retail store with a parking space for two cars?
  • A chaotic baggage counter handled by one person, with 50 people handing off their baggage at the same time
  • A discount sale, where most of the products are faded or defective or broken. Shoes that have worn out, or jeans that was manufactured two years back
  • A grocery/household division floor with no trolleys or carry bags near the entrance.
  • Not a single employee seen helping out any customer .They were busy cleaning the shelves
  • Employee at the “TEA” section doesn’t know that there is a product called Black Tea being sold in their store. In fact I pointed out to her to three different brands of black tea sold in their store
  • Some of the eatables and ready to cook items being sold even after expiry (A Kitchens of India readymade product had a manufacturing date of June 2007 and an expiry date of June 2008)
  • A product having a price sticker of Rs.299 being billed as Rs.399. Upon enquiring they say, maybe the sticker is wrong.
  • Not accepting Sodexho passes which are meant for a retail store only.
And the list goes on.

Yet, people come in by the thousands daily, Irrespective of the quality of products being sold, irrespective of a lack of professional order to run the operations, irrespective of the lack of knowledge in the employees, people do awe at these big stores and come for the “Everyday low price “factor.

As evident from the fact that, there is a queue of people jus waiting to entering the store, on a weekend, as if they were dying to buy the newly released Apple IPhone

Do we call them ignorant, or do we begin to understand that retailing in India attaining to this level is itself a big achievement, and people have begun to accept mediocrity?


The Third Phenomenon

When I started pondering over this topic, two popular bloggers suddenly came up with a similar thought flow. Though completely unrelated or unknown to each other , the three of us have come up with a common thread and subject,at the same time –

The audacity and shoddy nature of the bigger brands or hotels and their failure to look into finer details of their service , with a proud confidence that irrespective of their service levels people will still keep coming .

The first one is Ms. Chinmayi , a celebrity blogger/singer writes about a harrowing experience at The Park Hotel in Chennai.

She says
“I am glad we chose a-la-carte cos, though this is ewwwwy there was a small cockroach running across the buffet counter. There was also one more thing that I wonder about. 601 actually allows diners to smoke. But are there probably rules that say that the smoking and non-smoking sections should be separate? If someone goes to an upscale restaurant, as much as they are entitled to the ambience, service and whatever else that is assumed, clean air is also one of the things if you ask me. Why should I breathe in someone else's cancerous air and also pay a premium for it?"


The other one is Professor Ray Titus who says :

“That organised retail store shopping in India is an experience akin to a nightmare is no secret. From dirty stores to poorly merchandised goods to indifferent retail personnel, the list is endless. Yet most retail stores seem to draw consumers as the other choice available is a bigger nightmare called kirana stores. Even some of the leading retail stores fail to take into account customers’ preferences, as they are yet to get down to the concept of ‘retail designing’. On parameters ranging from accessibility, location, window display, facade, staff, packaging, decorative & props, ambiance, and interiors, retail stores do not consider the likes and dislikes of their target consumers.
Even if it weren't, a rupee here or there wouldn't make much of a difference to me. I'd rather pay for retail calm than gain a rupee and face chaos that gets to me."



My theory is that everything is connected. Be it a poor service in a five star hotel, or a pathetic state a store like Big Bazaar is being operated , it all boils down to the inefficiencies and lack of discipline in the entire system , and consumers inability(or even laziness) to oppose them ,or even to question them which has caused a major disruption in the Indian Scenario .If brand “India” should no longer be known for its traffic, bad roads and defective or cheap products ( a similar image that China has completely moved away from in the last couple of years ) , it can be only done , when people begin to become disciplined and refuse to start accepting mediocrity, (for the huge prices we pay to these big brands) .

It’s just not with the people. The entire society has to transform completely, a one similar to the United States, where there is complete transparency in the legal and consumer forums, and the public has a far higher voice than the companies, as evident from the fact that even a small man can easily sue a major brand for millions of dollars, if one of the products fails.

The same thing, if it happens in India, the guy remarks ,just a piece of my bad luck or this is all I will get for what I paid.
This scenario is only till Big Bazaar maintaining almost a monopoly in the hyper market industry in India.
If the likes of Wal Mart, Target or any other International brands arrive into the Indian Retail scenario, its gonna be a rude awakening for the people and realize the international defined standards for the retailers and definitely a big fright for the existing players
(The same pinch and shock Indian Airlines got , when the Govt opened to several private players. Their incorrigible food,worst service being a public outcry ,with the likes of Jet Airways,Kingfisher or Paramount providing world class service and outclassing them in every aspect)

The day when the big brands are more conscious and redefine themselves in way which offers the same standard of service even to the smallest of their consumers, and starts improving themselves to prevent mistakes and therefore any subsequent law suits and damages by the consumer,

then my friend , I accept Indian Retailing is organized or to that matter India is really developed !