Retail has gone through several evolutionary phases and has always come out stronger. It will as long as the sector continues to move forward along the path of innovation, sustainability and growth. From the familiar bricks-and-mortar retail to the boundary-less e-commerce, each segment has managed to reinvent the shopping experience with strategies that broke the confines of convention, stayed true to customer needs, and changed the game in their categories. Each one of these steps have gone beyond creating a unique retail experience to engaging customers and turning competitors into mere imitators.
First, there was e-commerce – a term that delivered the world of travel, entertainment, bill payment and other services at your doorstep. Limited in application, e-commerce websites mostly centred on services that made the life easy. Then came Flipkart, and e-commerce was baptised. Suddenly, you could order any product from any corner of the country.
Flipkart changed the e-commerce game in India with its Big Billion Day. This event was marketed as the company’s attempt to reach an unprecedented $100 million Gross Merchandise Value in 24 hours, a sum which it reportedly ended up achieving in the first 10 hours itself from 1.5 million shoppers. This encouraged a larger migration of customers to the app. ‘Big Billion Day’ 2014 managed to inspire a line of similar promotions from its ardent competitors. Amazon India and Snapdeal too launched similar offers, fuelling an e-commerce war.
Food & Groceries
In India, there existed a sizeable segment, for which three words encompassed existence: roti, kapda, makan. Their frugal needs were met by local kirana stores and modern retail was beyond bounds and wallet. Big Bazaar tapped this huge segment by converting shopping for necessities into a family occasion. Sabse Saste 4 Din, a promotion that married value-for money with value-for-time – spent with family – was introduced during Republic Day and stretched over the weekend closest to it.
Big Bazaar introduced yet another sale on Independence Day – the Mahabachat Sale. This was followed up with similar activities on public holidays, such as Labour Day, Gandhi Jayanti and Christmas. Big Bazaar, in the process, supplanted a need with the enjoyment of a family day-out. Its strategy focused on increasing consumer and consumption, rather than a discounted event.
By catering to an under-penetrated market, it satisfied the needs of both brand and consumer. Consumers expanded their shopping list as they discovered value in new non-food categories such as fashion, electronics and home linen. On the other hand, this initiative allowed vendors or own-brand manufacturers to launch new products and trends, and for regional vendors to expand their base.
Creating Occasions to Spend
Every year, these initiatives have been refreshed with a new dimension. For example, what can be offered to ease the transition of a 10th standard school kid on the threshold of college? Or how can the monsoons be made more fun! Giving consumers an affordable reason to consume is what gives Big Bazaar a prominent share of customers’ mindspace. Sabse Saste 4 Din, along with the other public holiday initiatives, has delivered a consistent growth of 25 to 30 per cent. What is indeed a testimony to Big Bazaar’s innovativeness is that its advertising budgets too have reduced considerably, and word of mouth has taken over. According to the company, today, consumers have bookmarked these dates and a little nudge is all they need to remind them.