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Ease of access to customers across multiple channels is our USP, says Modern Bazaar’s Kunaal Kumar

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was the brainchild of the late Vishwant Kumar. The brand started operations from Vasant Vihar in New Delhi in the year 1971. Vishwant Kumar realised that there was a discerning consumer who was looking for a better and wider range of consumable products without having to travel abroad for them and thus was born. At that time, it was India’s first supermarket which provided the customer with a wide range of quality products from across the world and under one roof.

Since its inception Modern Bazaar has operated as a single store entity, however a major fire in 2004 burnt it down completely. In 2005 , who had joined the family business in 1991, opened a new store – in Vasant Vihar again. Having re-established the brand once again he then ventured out into other areas / markets and over the next few years branches were setup at regular intervals across Delhi and Gurugram.

Currently there are 12 stores operating in Delhi & NCR. In an exclusive interview with Progressive Grocer Bureau, Kunaal Kumar, Managing Director, Modern Bazaar, spoke about the brand’s strategies during the pandemic, its major customer value proposition, and the top technologies they are looking at adopting over the next one year.

Excerpts from the interview…

How is Modern Bazaar different from others in the same category?

Over the past 57 years Modern Bazaar has established itself as a premier brand in the Food and Grocery retail segment. The differentiator between us and the competition is that we are constantly working on and evolving our store formats to provide customers with a unique shopping experience with a live bakery, fresh foods counter and a café in addition to the normal range of products.

What’s your market presence?

We are currently operating 12 stores in Delhi and NCR. Aside from this, we are also present online through our website and mobile app.

What is the location strategy for your stores? Which locations do you prefer and what part do they play in your store sales?

Our strategy is to have a presence in all the key locations across Delhi and NCR so that we are able to reach out to as many customers as possible either through the direct presence of a branch or through the home delivery platform.

All our stores are on high street locations and are chosen with care based on the demographics of each area and the clientele that we wish to target. The choice of location has a direct bearing on the sales at the store.

Share your omnichannel strategy with us.

Our focus has been to provide our customers with multiple channels through which they can reach out to us. Today customers have the flexibility of either physically shopping at one of our stores or reaching out to us via the mobile app, website or phone. These are all done with a view to enhance the customer experience in shopping at Modern Bazaar.

What is the major customer value proposition of Modern Bazaar?

Modern Bazaar is today recognised as a premium brand and one that provides its customers with a wide range of quality products both local as well as imported under one roof. Our offering includes a live bakery, fresh food counters among other innovative ideas that have been incorporated into our stores.

TECHNOLOGY

What are the top 3 technologies that you have adopted?

Over the past 12 to 18 months, we have incorporated the following into our offerings:

  • Firstly, we have enhanced our online presence by revamping our website as well as making our mobile app far more user friendly than earlier.
  • Second, we have started implementing a new ERP system across our stores in order to exercise better controls over inventory and other aspects of the operations.

Our emphasis has been to provide the customer ease of access and shopping at Modern Bazaar.

Have you adopted new technologies since the lockdown to extend your reach?

Enhancements have been made to our home delivery offering so that the customer can shop from the comfort of their homes.

PRODUCTS & CATEGORIES

What is the range of products that you offer? Which is thefastest moving of these and how many SKUs do you have on offer?

We have products in various categories, viz personal care, staples, health care products, delicacies, meats, bakery, Indian and imported groceries, processed foods and many more items.

At any given time, we stock not less than 15,000 SKUs and out of these healthcare products, live bakery items and the fresh meat items are the fastest moving.

Tell us about your private label products. How much do they contribute to the overall revenue?

Private label products are mainly food items (dals, masalas, sugar, dry fruits, snacks, frozen items) and they contribute to approximately 35 percent of our sales.

Food or non-food – which category is a winner at Modern Bazaar and why?

Our food products contribute in a big way to our overall sales and that is because we provide customers with a very wide range of products and ensure that quality is of the highest standard. The customer is always assured that irrespective of what s/he buys, they will get the best from any of our stores.

Which are the new emerging categories at Modern Bazaar?

The new categories are superfoods and organic foods. We have seen a tremendous growth in sales of such foods as there is currently a growing awareness among our customer base as they are leaning towards healthy eating.

STRATEGIES & LEARNINGS

What is your marketing strategy and what steps are you taking to promote the brand?

Our store managers are in close touch with customers and are constantly analysing customer mix and preferences at each store so that we are able to effectively plan the selection and provide customers the products that they want. Our stores are carefully planned so as to ensure maximum visibility for fresh food items, impulse purchases and high value items so as to enhance customer experience and maximise sales.

Advertising is done selectively and through various mediums to ensure the brand is efficiently promoted.

Share some key learnings that you have gleaned over the years in this business? Any noticeable consumption trends over the years?

There has been a steady growth in the sale of organic and health foods more specially after the outbreak of the Covid19 Pandemic.

THE FUTURE

What are your plans and targets for the future? Going ahead, will you concentrate on growing online or taking your store count up?

Our aim is to reach out to as many customers as possible either through the direct presence of a branch or through the home delivery platform. We plan to open an additional four to five stores that will give us better coverage in South Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. The online platform has been growing rapidly and we will continue to focus on ensuring a robust and stable platform allowing customers to reach out to us from the comfort of their homes.

Any plans to explore any new market?

Our strategy is to have a presence in all the key locations across Delhi and NCR so that we are able to widen our client base in this huge market. Once we have covered this market we will go into other major cities in North and West India.

What is the next big change that you see in grocery retail in the wake of the pandemic?

As health concerns remain uppermost in their minds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have moved to stores / shops where there is a perception of sanitisation and cleanliness. In addition there is a move towards orders being placed online, which is a trend that we expect to increase rapidly going forward.