Shopping Behaviour



Even my own grocery shopping trips are interesting enough for me to write about. This Sunday we went shopping for groceries to the Big Bazaar outlet at Koramangala (Bangalore). The very thought of standing in a long queue at the check out counter makes me sweat whenever I think of visiting this store. Thankfully this day was a bit different with a smaller crowd at the store.

Big Bazaar tries to recreate the 'bazaar' environment inside the store with announcements of offers on products, bells being run to catch people's attention and so on. It truly sounds like a bazaar. That was all right with me. But my wife reacted differently to this, wanting a quieter environment to shop in. Our li'l son (all of 6 months old) was actually lapping in all the sights and sounds safely tucked in a baby harness.

What was interesting to note was when we reached a counter selling rice, dals and other pulses. The scene recreated the kirana store concept where a customer could check out the various displays and prices of the stocked pulses. These were stocked in various bins. Once a customer chose what he/she wanted, the counter person would weigh the required amount, pack it into plastic covers, stick a price label on to it. I found this way of buying all right unlike my wife who did not want to buy this way. She said she preferred pre-packaged commodities that were easy to take off the shelf, read the package, and decide on whether to take it or not. She balked at the idea of having to choose a particular brand of rice, decide the quantity, ask the counter person to weigh the same, package and price-label it. In fact she is very comfortable buying pre-packaged commodities from a store like Food World, which is a competitor to Big Bazaar.

Now the format that Big Bazaar propagates is definitely working for the moment. But there is possibility that it may alienate customers who prefer quieter avenues of shopping where they would not have to 'exert' in the act of purchase.

Reminds me of something my boss at work ( while I worked for a top Retail company in the Middle East ) said, 'Do not give the consumer too many choices. In fact decide for him and tell him what you give is what he wants. That way he readily accepts what is given. Plus it does not leave him confused'.

Guess what,..... that does work !

Comments

Jo said…
Well my incidence is quiet a lot similar to what your experience says about Big-Bazaar ..... Usually I do avoid visiting the store b'coz of a lonnnnnng queue for billing. Besides this even I was shocked at the kind of selling they were doing on the 2nd floor in there apparel section .... people were shouting (Sale , Sale , Sale .... buy 2 get 1 free , buy 3 get 2 free ....)like crazy as we come across the scene in some down market .... this was actually not appealing to me , coz in these kind of organized stores we usually do not expect these kind of things .... so I dont think that will work , coz personally I do not think the people over there felt any comfort in that scene , rather they just wanted to run out from that section ...
Ray Titus said…
Well Jo....,

That does throw up quite an opportunity for a large format retailer to come up with a mix that can match or even 'top' the array of SKUs at Big Bazaar, the prices and add an 'orderly' environment to that...voila...you have a 'winner'!

Any takers ?
Little U said…
Large Kirana shop format, encouraging the customers to pick commodities from a large array of beans might be creating comfort in terms of 'choice' but it kills the purpose of an organised retail store.
Guess what are the key factors for many customers to visit Big Bazaar...
wider choice, and
'packed commodity'
Jo said…
Although this is the model which is followed in order to replicate the general marketing pattern of shopping (Street Shopping) but definitely it will have an adverse impact on the buyers of the organised format and I firmly believe that it will not have any positive impact on the target segment of Big Bazaar ....
Anzy said…
well i personally feel that today the retailers are coming up with ideas where they can create a perfect blend of Traditional as well as Modern ways of shopping.... even this kind of format gives buyer an opportunity to have a feel of the product that is present in that package, which most of the Indian Buyers prefer to.... and moreover it makes the environment lively out there
Ray Titus said…
Little U, Jo, Anzy....

Interesting comments...
What is important to note is the the role atmospherics play in a retail store, especially a grocery retail store. I remember a study by one of my students, which found that when it comes to formats like Big Bazaar, customers do not bother as much about the store atmosphere as product mix and even more importantly, prices.

But then again, all evaluations are relative...how about a store with great atmospherics, great array of products and very low prices...Wal Mart for example, would that not score over the Big Bazaars of the world ?
Reminds me of Al Ries and Jack Trout's trick, "If you can't convince the consumer, confuse him"

Agreed it might work against us, but buying in a competitors' space also gives us prospective business in the future. The shooper has to shop later and other shoppers will shop for the product somewhere or the other. Could be our store as well.

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