began his entrepreneurial quest in the year 2002 by launching his own company by the name Multifoods as a proprietorship concern. The company was engaged in the distribution of agro commodities from APMC Market in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Having grown from that profile, the MMF Group today comprises Manoj Multifoods Pvt. Ltd., Direct2U Retail Pvt. Ltd. and Indirect2U Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Satia is pioneer in successfully conceptualising and executing BOGO [Buy One Get One Free] offers in highly commoditised rice industry. He is also credited with a major initiative of successfully launching a 10Kg pack size of a regional variety of rice, under the brand name Allora Kolam Rice.
As managing director of Direct2U Supermarket in Navi Mumbai, set up just over two years ago, Satia pioneered yet another business model with the objective of offering customers from neighbouring catchments the convenience of buying high quality products under food and FMCG categories.
Moving rapidly, he has already unveiled an e-commerce platform as his company adapts to the new realities of food retailing in India.
[“FMCG companies and brand owners still do not understand the importance of NMT/ standalone formats. They treat NMTs as traditional mom-n-pop outlets. And this is biggest challenge.”]
“Our supermarket at Nerul is located in the up market locality of Palm Beach Road. It is fairly cosmopolitan in character, and the families are mostly nuclear. The especially promising category is gourmet foods, which we introduced in our store earlier this year,” he says.
With sales of Rs 3,000 per square feet of retail space, Direct2U offers cart schemes based on ticket size. “At present we are running cart schemes at two levels: Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000,” Satia informs.
According to Satia, the Neighborhood Modern Retail [NMT] format will be playing a significant role in the years to come. “The big retail chains are interested in big ticket sizes. The smaller ticket sizes are just not feasible for them because of their higher operating costs. On the other hand, kirana and mom-n-pop stores are upgrading themselves to NMT / standalone store status,” he notes.
“Having said that, sadly, manufacturers/ FMCG companies and brand owners still do not understand the importance of NMT/ standalone formats. They treat NMTs as traditional mom-n-pop outlets. And this is biggest challenge for any NMT,” he points out.”
“I enjoy being in retail because it means being close to the consumer and this throws up many opportunities to closely study consumer behaviour and get first-hand feedback. Secondly, retailing in the world’s biggest consumer market — which is highly diverse and fragmented — is always very challenging,” he says.
To Satia, the biggest business challenges stem from grabbing and leveraging newer opportunities thrown up by the Indian market almost on daily basis.
So what does he make of the fast mutating retail landscape in India? “Well, in the past five years, many new formats and concepts have been conceived, but I believe only a few will actually sustain successfully. Among the online marketplace models, Bigbasket.com looks like a winner.”
By Nupur Chakraborty