While consumers in big cities are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping malls, towns in the hinterland are still waiting for the retail revolution to unfold. Envisaging the immense business potential in such smaller towns, Kishore Biyani’s Future Group is looking at repositioning its Aadhaar outlets, which it bought from Godrej last year, to offer a wholesome shopping mall experience.
The top retailer has launched a pilot project at Shrirampur in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra for this. Christened Aadhaar Shopping Mall, the Shrirampur outlet opened for business in mid-June 2009.
In addition to the regular agro-products, the store houses brands like Fashion@Big Bazaar, Big Bazaar Best Deals, Koryo and House of Godrej. According to Saurabh Chadha, CEO, Aadhaar Retailing Ltd (a division of Pantaloon Retail), the initiative has already led to doubling of sales.
“The customers were treating us like a mall, but the store was not positioned that way. So, we have positioned this in line with the small town customers’ expectations of a shopping mall. Changes have already been made in terms of the looks of the store, communication line, offerings and interiors of the store,” Chadha said.
The company will decide in 3-6 months on extending the new format to all the existing 62 Aadhaar stores in the country. With this new positioning, the company is trying to create a perception of an urban goods provider in rural markets.
Keeping the nature of markets in mind, the company is deploying a different marketing mix. It would reach out to customers more directly using communication tools such as rallies, auto advertising and banners.
Details on the size of the stores and investments for the repositioning exercise could not be ascertained. While Aadhaar Retail is currently operational in 62 towns, the company plans to add another 38 locations taking the total to 100 towns by March 2010.
Last year, Future Group picked up 70 per cent stake in Godrej Aadhaar. The stake was bought for an undisclosed amount by Future Ventures.