Ganesh Mishra, Head Commercial, Trent Hypermarket Pvt. Ltd, has his fingers on the pulse of shifting shopper trends and the canny business sense to make changes accordingly with regard to assortment, promotions and planogram in a way that delivers on both sales and margin targets.
Experience in Retail
About 11 years in the retail business.
Your Current Job and Designation
I am designated as Head, Commercial, and I handle category management of the grocery business and also part of the general merchandise at Trent Hypermarket.
Role and Responsibility
The primary accountability is to drive my category teams to deliver on the sales and margin targets. Also, I am accountable for developing and executing the overall category strategy, lead supplier relationship and develop a joint business plan with key national and multinational suppliers. Responsible for analyzing emerging shopper trends and preferences and accordingly make changes in assortment, promotions and planogram to meet the changing needs of shoppers. As a people’s manager, I am also responsible for developing the capability of the commercial team and put in place the right talent, structure and size to support the business growth.
Area of Specialization and Excellence
I have handled the FMCG business for a long time in various roles. So I can say that I understand this business well. I strongly believe that if I have to continuously excel in something, it should be on the ‘people’ front. Our business is all about people – be it our team, suppliers or our customers. We need to have a better understanding and relationship with each one of them and to win with them. Treating people with respect is one of our values and that is embedded in our culture here.
Challenges in the Current Role
The challenges are typically with regard to the decisions on trade-offs that have to be made – sales versus margin, one brand vs. the other, range vs. space, etc. It’s a challenge because we would love to maximize on both but that is not so easy.
Changes You Brought to the Business
We have probably the leanest team among all the multi-format retailers and with that we have been able to support our growing business. This has been possible because of the revised commercial team structure, which has helped us to effectively move out repetitive jobs like data fetching, etc. We have deployed a good model for making new launches successful. We call it the Five Star launch. All Five Star launches have over-delivered on the KPIs agreed with the brands and have out-performed the market.
Most Satisfying Part of Your Job
The best part is working with my team to co-create business ideas with suppliers and landing them in stores for shoppers and then seeing the results. This requires creativity, strategic thinking, ability to take risks and, finally, good execution. And when all of them come together as planned and achieve great results, it brings us utmost satisfaction.
Observations About the Category
The shopper’s behaviour in each category is very different and it’s changing quite fast. One trend that is clearly emerging is that shoppers are moving towards healthier choices and more natural products. At the same time, they are also looking for indulgence. Premiumization is happening across categories. Value-seeking behaviour is on the rise.
Prediction of Future Trends
Health, Indulgence and Premiumization are the hot trends.
Your Learnings from this Sector
The key learning has been with regard to the shopper behaviour and customers’ response to various stimuli and how it differs from one category to another. I have seen great strategies of different brands in action and the shopper’s response to them. This learning, I think, only the retail sector can provide. The cost-efficient processes that we have developed over a period in the business has been another big learning.
What’s Your Goal in the Job
The main goal is to strengthen our position as the preferred retailer for our shoppers.