Friday, October 24, 2008

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
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1 comments:

Soniya Gupta said...

I completely disagree with ur interpretation of these small things affecting the entire indian retail growth/change in organized retail as such.. Thou these small things do make a lot of difference in retail, u shud understand the fact that the indian retail industry is in the stage of learning and thse kind of problems will continue to exist until we are completely expert in this field..Its still a trial and error situation for most retailers.. We shud not neglect the positives of the organized retail growth.. For example, Future Group serving almost all the different target markets with such diversified yet concentrated retail formats is something which only an Indian Retailer can understand and implement..!!