At the ‘Regional Retailers Conclave’, held on Day 2 of India Retail Forum 2010, retailers shared views on a variety of topics, including franchising, looking beyond one’s comfort zone and building rapport with the customer, among other things.
The conclave was attended by Dinesh Talera, MD, Mysore Saree Udyog; Manohar Chatlani, MD, Favourite Shop, Bangalore; Sushanto Dey, MD, Sreeleathers, Kolkata; Darpan Kapoor, director, Kapsons, Chandigarh; Samir Sahni, joint MD, Ritu Wears, Delhi; Shambhav Chauhan, executive director, Suprimo Fashions, Ahmedabad; and Bhagirath Jalan, director, Jalans, Banaras, among others.
“Retail is no more about selling, it’s about managing people. Building a showroom is not a big deal in today’s world. When a regional retailer touches the double-digit mark, he should start expanding across the country. After managing at least 10 stores, he must start looking for bigger markets outside his zone,” Kapoor said.
Justifying his reasons for franchising, Dey said, “A regional retailer understands the taste of the consumer of that region very well. That is why we prefer franchising in new markets. If I have to go to north or south, I have to understand the market mechanism of that area very well.”
Driving home the point of regional retail, Chatlani emphasised, “Even within South India, there are a lot of differences. For example, green is very popular in Hyderabad, but it doesn’t do well in Bangalore. Even within Bangalore, if a product is doing well at Forum Mall, it may not do well at Mantri Square mall.”
Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive – Lifestyle at Reliance Retail Ltd, felt that regional retailers laid a lot of stress on the in flow of cash, whereas national retailers emphasised more on store management. The reason for this, he explained, was the fact that the owner of a regional retail store can visit his store everyday, but a national retailer can’t do so. “A regional retailer should pay more attention to customer experience and store management,” he reiterated.
Another interesting dimension was added by Talera, who said discounts were no longer the parameter for attracting footfalls. “Many regional retailers do so, but it’s not the correct way to grow. Customers should be given value for money and that is the only way to build a very good rapport with customers,” he observed.
Meanwhile, in the ‘Retail IT Conclave’, service providers talked about the role of IT in growing the retail market along with tool such as barcoding and RFID technology. Data synchronisation system, which connects the front-end with the back-end, formed the crux of the debate. “Usually, retailers depend on forecast for buying or replenishing their stocks. These forecasts are not always correct. IT can aid retailers in checking consumer buying patterns and align his merchandise accordingly,” said Kumar Vembu, founder and CEO, GoFrugal Technologies. He added the use of technology can even help reduce attrition. “With the help of technology, you are doing everything hypothetically. You don’t have to listen to your boss,” he exclaimed.
Presenting an interesting take on technology, Rajkiran Kanagala Head, BD, TCI Supply Chain Solutions, said, “There are technologies that can help in figuring out the authentication of a product. People in India are scared of technology as they feel it will snatch away a great number of jobs. But technology is not here to take away your job. It is here to aid you. Queue busting is a problem in retail and one needs to understand that it can’t be tackled without proper RFID system and bar coding system.”
– IndiaRetailing Bureau