On the second day of India Retail Forum 2014, an interesting session was held on the ‘Regional Retailers Spreading their wings – The Strategy of Growth’. The panelists of this pragmatic session were some of the successful regional retailers, those who have carved their niche in their respective regions and are now ready to take their businesses at national level. The enterprising regional retailers, those who given their valuable insights on what should be the strategy for growth for regional retailers were -B A Srinivasa, CEO, Viveks; L Subhash Chandra, MD, Sangeetha Mobiles; Manohar Chatlani, CEO and MD, Soch; Shamsher Singh Hura, Owner, JAS Group (All that Jazz); T P Pratap, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, QwikCilver ; CK Kumaravel, Co-Founder & CEO, Naturals; the session was moderated by Ankur Bisen.
In the era where it is possible to multiply your customer base and reach manifold through technology and digital medium channels, investors keen to fund promising and well-established businesses which have earned a reputation in their respective regions – what are the Regional Retailers thinking. What is their approach to grow, in inculcating the same values they have into the succeeding new-generation members ready to carry forward the family business, how are they drawing a stable business model to survive the next 10 years in the era of heavily growing competition, and what is their vision forward for Retail in 2030. Hear the famed Regional Retailers share their unique strategies and insights.
Bisen started the session by asking the most imperative question that ‘ what is the perspective of a regional retailer towards modern retailing’.
Answering this Srinivasa, said: “Since regional retailers have their roots very strong roots where they operate, they have provided great service experience. Providing Experience provides customer retention.”
Bisen asked Shamsher and Kumaravel, that how they have built their respective brands in their respective regions.
Shamsher said: ” I wanted to fill the gap in the market by providing that service experience which nobody had filled. I wanted to create a differentiator to the larger retailers.”
Answering the same question, Kumaravel, said: ” I wanted to be a self employed. Wanted to be the No.1 store in India in Salon business. We have committed more mistakes than others so we are better prepared. India is a trust deficient country, yet I was successful in building up trust among the franchisee which led to multiple job creation as well.”
Talking on the e-commerce, which is currently the most important issue that the retail industry is facing, Subhas Chandra, said: ” Well it has affected us negatively. But Brick and Motor won’t cease to exit. As you see only 12-14% of the overall transaction is done online, and the online market is yet to evolve. Sangeeta has to supply to various ecommerce markets. If I don’t then others will share the cake.”
Talking on the issue of e-commerce, Manohar, said: “A regional retailer can take the advantage of its look and feel factor especially in apparels and compete with the online players by giving a better service experience.”
Whereas, Samsher was of the opinion that online and brick and mortar formats will co-exists with one another. One of the reason why online has evolved is because they have not taken Consumers for granted.
The panel then moved to the most hard hitting question, that regional retailer should remain regional or is it practically possible for them to achieve their national expansion ambitions.
Talking on the Kumaravel, opined: ” Yes without a shade of doubt. Retailing is like riding a bicycle, if you don’t expand, then you will be crushed. There are no limitations in Retail. Retailers should always be national.”