Damodar Mall, the well-known retail expert and now CEO at Reliance Value Retail, has finally launched his book, Supermarketwala- Secrets to winning consumer India. The book is a treasure house of insights, anecdotes and facts about the Indian retail story. Here are 12 insights from the book that really get us thinking.
1. The time spent in a store, and therefore the money, is highest when two women shop together, followed by a woman alone, then a woman and a man, and finally, a man alone!
2. A huge challenge to Kirana stores is coming from the most unexpected quarters, and for a reason that was supposed to be their strength. Young women, or the new daughters-in-law, to be precise, who don’t like the over familiarity of the Kirana store.
3. Uniforms mean different things to different people. Thus, while a younger generation might see in uniformed guards a symbol of order and attention, but an older generation might see it as a sign of not being trusted. Supermarkets need to take care of both these customer types.
4. People behave better in malls. The larger sizes, uniformed attendants, and polite service seem to have an affect that small shops cannot.
5. The rule of queues in India. Any place more than an elbow length will always be breached or filled in India. In any queue. Try it to prove it.
6. Social shopping is getting bigger.The new shopper relies heavily on what she sees other people trying, buying or even eying, to make her own purchase decisions.
7. Repeat brand purchases are no more a foregone conclusion. Supermarkets and their self- service mode means that people can try more brands. Not give the fixed list to the neighbourhood storewala. Brands need to work harder to retain these customers, or win a swayamvar each time a customer walks in!
8. Thanda matlab, bassi! Indians love their food fresh, and it would be a rare housewife who would cook food to last more than a day.
9. As refrigerator sizes increase, it is changing consumer habits too. The extra large freezer has led to larger purchases of a lot of produce, though noticeably, not vegetables, which have to be fresh! (refer point no. 8)
10. While the white collared professional prefers the look and feel of his peer group, for the businessman, lacking easy markers like designation, company and a corporate office, it is a far more challenging task to show he has ‘arrived’. Thus the push for more customised purchases.
11. Local QSR retailers of ‘Indian’ fast food have the global players to thank for raising the price points on meals. Without Mcdonald’s or a Pizza Hut, we would never have had people people willing to pay Rs 100 and more for Idli’s and Pao Bhaji.
12. Women shopkeepers will change the world. With customers taking care of their needs themselves in self service formats, retailing is no longer the exacting profession it was. Plus, with hypermarkets becoming a single stop shop for small retailers, women can step in now.