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    “Recession is not permanent, but the India story is!”

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    What makes shops successful? A question perhaps which tops the list of queries for any retailers before he sits down to make his business plan. Providing food for thought for this question saw the beginning of the second day of the 1st session at IFF 2009. Karl and Marcus Schwitzke, Schwitzke and Partner, Germany shared a detailed presentation giving 10 top key business types including trendsetter, expert, entrepreneur, stylist, convenient, insider, exclusive, discounter and complex. Each one of the above, according to Schwitzke, had its own merits and catered to a distinctive target audience. The speakers attending the session highlighted the importance of marrying each and every aspect of the store – from the location, to the design of the store to the right product mix to make way for a successful shopping centre / shop.

    An obvious question that comes to mind post the query on — What makes shops successful is — How to maximize profit and drive results? In a fantastic presentation, Sian Hession, an international retail consultant aptly mentioned the key attributes that need to be kept in mind include brand clarity, understanding the target group, distinctive product, strong management team and inspiring motivational leadership. The attributes as shared by Hession were drawn from the success story of the brand – Coast. Hession too reiterated the fact on the importance of understanding the customer and more importantly her attitude to fashion. She further went on to emphasise on the importance of having an e-commerce website for the brand and also developing a right communication channel for the brand. According to Hession, recruitment of the right work force too occupies a lot of importance and three key questions to be kept in mind before hiring and firing the staff were – who’s good enough and hungry for success, who’s good enough but not hungry for success and lastly, who is neither of the above?

    Summarising key highlights of the fundamentals to be kept in mind for maximizing profit; Hession concluded her presentation sharing the following points:

    · Fundamentals and brand values need to be place

    · Live the vision and values of the brand

    · Have a clear understanding of the customers

    · Focus on the product

    · Wage a war on the competitors every single day

    · Control cash

    · Build really successful teams

    Suggesting a formula to survive the time of economic slowdown, of the fame mentioned that, “In times like this, the best is to swim against the tide.” He went on to share how opened three stores in last one month and each above 10,000 square feet. According to Hirani, “Recession is not permanent, but India story is.” Sharing ’s take on the topic of discussion with regards to maximising profit, Arun Gupta, CTO, said, “Customers will shop as long as they see value. To make people shop more, we have undertaken an exhaustive training for the front end staff and we are also very minutely putting all our research in place with regards to consumer behaviour.”

    — Zainab Morbiwala, Mumbai Bureau