It takes years of hard work and customer focus for a supermarket chain to become well-known for its service orientation, value-for-money credentials, and relationship-building savvy. The Hyderabad-based 14 store chain Ushodaya Supermarket has earned its retailing stripes with diligence and dedication.
Mannava Yugandhar Garu, Managing Partner of Ushodaya Supermarket, speaks to Indiaretailing about how the store chain has been able to build its customer identity over the past 15 years of operations and about his plans to extend the brand’s footprint to newer locations in Hyderabad as well as to other cities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Ushodaya Supermarket is one of the top ranking food and grocery retail companies and a leading independent supermarket chain in the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh today. The Food & Grocery (F&G) retailer set up shop by launching its first store on 1st April 2005 from A.S. Rao Nagar, Hyderabad. “That is how Ushodaya’s retail journey started and that is when our first store was launched,” says Mannava Yugandhar Garu, Managing Partner, Ushodaya Supermarket.
Now in its 16th year of operation, the retailer has not only expanded its retail footprint to 14 stores spread across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – occupying 76,000 sq.ft. of trading area – Ushodaya Supermarket has also cemented and sealed its reputation as a sterling F&G chain of convenience stores. The retailer offers a wide variety of quality products in every category ranging from food and grocery, fruits and vegetables, bakery, dairy, housekeeping products, office stationery, organic products, laundry and detergent, sanitary products, toys, gifts & novelties, sports accessories, electronics, and many other items. “Our goal is to be a one-stop destination for all products that serve the domestic needs of our customers,” says Yugandhar Garu.
In the food category, Ushodaya’s range of products include breads and biscuits, cheese and butter/ margarine, fruits and vegetables, health and diet food, instant prepared food, salt and sugar, snacks, yoghurt & curd, spices, canned and frozen food, confectionery, among others. The beverage portfolio comprises carbonated drinks, concentrated drink; milk/ lassi, fruit juice & drinks, functional drinks; tea & coffee, and water. In the desserts range, the store stocks all kinds of cakes, pastries, and ice-creams.
Besides, the store chain also sells kitchen equipment and essentials like utensils, crockery, cooking appliances and cooking accessories. Its extended line of product range includes categories like baby care; beauty products; oral and hair care; skin care; home decoration products; pet food; and electronics items. In terms of its location strategy, the supermarket chain sets up stores in areas that have highly concentrated population segments. This strategy is essential to its focus on tapping different kinds of people with varied tastes. “Our main customer base is the urban and semi-urban population and we attract all segments of customers with our different product mix,” says Garu.
Retailing Ops and Differentiation
Over the years of its operation, the Ushodaya store chain has become known for its service orientation, offering value for money, and building relationship with customers. “These are our core principles and the main three agendas that we follow. These have become the part of our overall vision, which guide the purpose of our network of supermarkets,” says Garu. “We stand for more than just the good food we sell. The vision of Ushodaya Supermarket is to be a one-stop destination for serving all the customer needs and providing the utmost levels of satisfaction to our customers,” avers Garu.
Ushodaya Supermarket stores have several differentiators that mark them out from the others. With over 10,000 SKUs per store across a wide range of quality products, the store chain stands out in terms of product range and assortment along with its superlative levels of customer service. The store chain also has a proactive approach to its own store brands and private labels. “We have private label products across the namkeen snack range and groceries and together they contribute about 20% of the sales in these categories,” reveals Garu.
Central to its focus on offering a superior customer experience and elevating the satisfaction levels of customers, Ushodaya brings in the best that nature has to offer by way of products and by providing such products to its customers every day, on a continual basis. The retailer’s operations take its cues from the very principles of Nature and from the goodness of our natural world. “We believe that moving with nature isn’t just better for the environment but better for our customers too. So, we focus on bringing better tasting produce from sustainable suppliers and offering more variety by reaping the bounties of our seasons and seasonal conditions,” informs Garu.
Pointing to one such instance, he says that during the November-March season, Ushodaya stores offer a bounty of blueberries. “We think that’s pretty special – so we put the blueberries in our ‘special’ section. That is one way how we strive to offer our customers bigger value from the seasonal harvests. Our prices, our produce, our specials are all determined by nature. It enriches everyone and everything.Which is exactly the reason why we do our best to make it all it can be – from sustainable initiatives like ‘Imperfect Picks’ to showing our love for local farmers and producers.”
“We believe that the highest quality of produce can only come from years of experience and by nurturing a close relationship with farmers and their land. That explains all our eco-and -environment friendly actions, which we believe can make a real, positive difference in the lives of our customers as well,” reveals Garu. Ushodaya’s initiatives and actions are aimed at providing the best of products to the customers at a reasonable price. The supermarket takes pride in being a pioneer in offering great customer service and in catering to every need of your family with a value for money proposition.
And in tune with this retailing philosophy, every visit of a customer to Ushodaya Supermarket is greeted with a new and richer experience, thanks to the well stocked range of products and the best of brands across product categories neatly arranged on shop shelves and attended to by its customer-friendly staff. For better and more efficient merchandise display and category management in its stores, the retailer has its focus more on the customer’s need-based products and also the seasonal products. In line with this retailing philosophy, Ushodaya stores also accord better visibility to all the price-effective products.
The aim is to ensure that all the value-generating products are kept in the direct view of the high-end customer base. “Our product range and quality, together with our efficient customer servicing, is complemented by our talented and dedicated workforce that enjoys a wealth of experience in various fields. All of these attributes make us a well-structured organization with the right people at the right places and enable us to stand out in the F&G retailing space,” asserts Garu.
Quality Standards and Efficiency Norms
The supermarket chain runs many schemes and offers to drive sales and attract increased footfalls. It runs “Weekend Schemes” under the rubric of which it keeps launching new schemes across different
product categories every weekend. Besides, the chain also provides a membership card for its daily customers under which it offers plenty of offers and discounts. At the same time, Ushodaya Supermarket offers Free Home Delivery for orders above Rs.1000/-. The free home delivery service is available within a 10 km range from the store. It also keeps launching other special schemes on important occasions and, additionally, it strives to provide better service to the customers, which helps to attract incremental sales and footfalls.
To ensure that suppliers stick to quality standards and efficiency norms, the products displayed across Ushodaya Supermarket stores are checked and verified for their marked quantity and quality, thereby allowing the retailer to provide the right product at the right price. “Our main goal is to give the best quality products and services to our esteemed customers. We take pride in being an organization driven with a proper vision, dedication and mature thought process for providing better customer service and the best shopping experience to our customers,” professes Garu.
Like every smart retailer keeping a sharp eye on its most lucrative buyer segment and customer demographics, Ushodaya has quite a few cards up its sleeve to draw in the young generation – the millennial and Gen Z shopper. The customers from this demographic cohort have good spending liberty compared to the older generation, and do not hesitate in paying a small premium for trustworthy products.
The stores stock a range of ready-to-eat foods, which attract and appeal to the young generations today. “Our stores are known for stocking the best brands across an array of categories, including the RTE/ RTC/ RTD range. At the same time, we are constantly building up on the portfolio of energy drinks, nutritional bars and the confectionary range as these products are much sought after by the millennial crowd,” discloses Garu.
He further adds: “Also, we have a well developed cosmetics and deodorants section to cater to the varied grooming interests of today’s consumers. Besides, there are imported products from various countries across different categories to pique the interests of shoppers who want to try out the latest international trends.” Looking back to its corporate and retail journey so far, Garu feels that it has been a journey worth travelling, heady and enriching as well as challenging and a learning experience.
“From a single store in 2005, we have grown to operating 14 stores today. We could scale our business to this level only due to our proper focus on customer service and by working relentlessly toward meeting the needs of the customers.” Currently, the turnover of Ushodaya Supermarket is approximately Rs 7 crore per annum across all its 14 stores and about 54 lakh per store per month. “Over the years, we have grown step by step in the retail world by dint of our dedication and customer-centric attitude. Today, Ushodaya Supermarket stores are spread over 76,000 square feet of retailing area in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, across the cities of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Guntur,” says Garu.
For over 16 years now, Ushodaya has remained 100% family-owned and operated. “Today, we’re a family of over 400 wonderful employees who share a common vision and purpose, which is to connect our customers with the joy of food through our unrelenting focus on providing better customer service and our deep commitment to understanding the needs of our customers,” says Garu, adding that he is looking to expand his supermarket’s footprint to newer geographies in the future. “We are planning to open a number of outlets at various locations in Hyderabad and other cities and newer towns in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.”
USHODAYA SUPERMARKET: FACT BOX
- Year of launch of first store: 1st April, 2005
- City/ ies where stores are in operation: Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Guntur
- Number of stores in operation currently: 14 stores across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as on 31.03.2021
- Total retail trading area currently: 76,000 sq.ft.
- Major product categories and merchandise mix: Food & Groceries; Fruits & Vegetables; Kitchen Essentials; FMCG; General Merchandising; Gifts & Toys
- SKUs per store: 10,000
- Percentage of shelf space to major product categories: Staples – 20%; FMCG – 45%; F&V – 10%; General Merchandise – 25%
- Average monthly sales: Rs. 7 Cr (across stores)
- Sales growth y-o-y: 10%
- Average bill size: Rs. 350
- Catchment and customer profile: Urban & semi-urban population
- Number of employees: 400