Retail calm over chaos, never mind the extra penny

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.

A survey by the apparel design and merchandising department of the National Institute of Design (NID), shows that when it comes to being consumer-friendly, Indian retail stores still have a long way to go. 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.

Now I had earlier commented on the 'organised chaos' concept adopted by Big Bazaar stores, though I believe its got more to do with maximising space utilisation. The efficiencies thus gained are then passed on the buyer as lower prices. But this tactic has not cut not much ice with many buyers, including me. Today I prefer Spar hypermarket over Big Bazaar. Better stacked shelves, cleaner quieter stores with helpful staff appeal to me. I am not so sure about prices, though I believe Spar is competitive with its prices. 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.

I am tempted to believe that many a shoppers are coming my way. As the retail landscape changes, now its about better retail experiences along with bargain prices. Shoppers ain't ready to sacrifice the former for the latter.

Big Bazaar, listenin' ?


SG said…
Hi Prof. Ray,

I think while we might argue that Indian retail does not give us convenience and experience is not at its best, do Indian customers really want it?

From haats to fairs to weekly markets to kirana stores, all of them are far from clean and offer far from satisfactory customer experience.

We as academicians might argue that if we give good service et al to customers, they will be happy and all that. But will that work here?

I might be wrong but would want to know your perspective on this.

Raneeth Reghu said…
There could be a long debate on as to whether who qualifies as the Indian customer whose readiness stage we talk about...
Maybe there are many people who would prefer BIG Bazaar for the rupee saved... But there are lots like Prof. Ray who would rather buy peacefully at Spar than pay less for the din at BB. There could also be a case of people thinking that malls like SPAR are very high priced compared to BB and hence skip the store.. Could be possible...

But generally speaking the Indian Customer too would like to be pampered if he doesnt have to part with too much..

In other words he would manage with a lighter pocket as long as he doesnt have a heavier heart!!! But definitely not the other way round!!
Karthik Murali said…
i had a much similar harrowing experience in the recently opened new branch in Big Bazaar , Chennai..

I guess ,until now Big Bazaar has almost maintained a monopoly in the hyper market industry in Chennai and several other cities.

Yet with all the inefficiencies and problems , Big Bazaar simply doesnt care , as however it mite be , the masses come ..

One actually can see a similar queue in the weekends like how they line up in front of the Apple store to get the IPhone

like how they say in the movie Field of Dreams ,"If u build it ,they will come "

I have also quoted a part of ur article in my post sir
Ray Titus said…
Karthik, thanks for the quote,

Plus, will review your earlier post as soon as I can, please bear...

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