Indian Retail Industry: Current Scenario


By
Shyamlal R Sharma
MBA (Marketing) 2004-06
Sardar Patel University
VV Nagar, Gujarat-388 001
E-mail:
shyamsharma_2001@rediffmail.com / rock_0021@yahoo.co.uk
 


Indian retail industry is going through a transition phase. Most of the retailing in our country is still in the unorganized sector. The spread out of the retails in US and India shows a wide gap between the two countries. Though retailing in India is undergoing an exponential growth, the road ahead is full of challenges.

What is retailing?

The word "Retail" originates from a French-Italian word. Retailer-someone who cuts off or sheds a small piece from something. Retailing is the set of activities that markets products or services to final consumers for their own personal or household use. It does this by organizing their availability on a relatively large scale and supplying them to customers on a relatively small scale. Retailer is a Person or Agent or Agency or Company or Organization who is instrumental in reaching the Goods or Merchandise or Services to the End User or Ultimate Consumer.

SCENARIO OF RETAILING IN INDIA

Retailing is the most active and attractive sector of last decade. While the retailing industry itself has been present since ages in our country, it is only the recent past that it has witnessed so much dynamism. The emergence of retailing in India has more to do with the increased purchasing power of buyers, especially post-liberalization, increase in product variety, and increase in economies of scale, with the aid of modern supply and distributions solution.

Indian retailing today is at an interesting crossroads. The retail sales are at the highest point in history and new technologies are improving retail productivity. though there are many opportunities to start a  new retail business, retailers are facing numerous challenges.

KEY CHALLENGES:

1) LOCATION:
"Right Place, Right choice"
Location is the most important ingredient for any business that relies on customers, and is typically the prime consideration in a customers store choice. Locations decisions are harder to change because retailers have to either make sustainable investments to buy and develop real estate or commit to long term lease with developers. When formulating decision about where to locate, the retailer must refer to the strategic plan:

* Investigate alternative trading areas.
* Determine the type of desirable store location
* Evaluate alternative specific store sites

2) MERCHANDISE:
The primary goal of the most retailers is to sell the right kind of merchandise and nothing is more central to the strategic thrust of the retailing firm. Merchandising consists of activities involved in acquiring particular goods and services and making them available at a place, time and quantity that enable the retailer to reach its goals. Merchandising is perhaps, the most important function for any retail organization, as it decides what finally goes on shelf of the store.

3) PRICING:
Pricing is a crucial strategic variable due to its direct relationship with a firm's goal and its interaction with other retailing elements. The importance of pricing decisions is growing because today's customers are looking for good value when they buy merchandise and services. Price is the easiest and quickest variable to change.

4) TARGET AUDIENCE:
"Consumer the prime mover"
"Consumer Pull", however, seems to be the most important driving factor behind the sustenance of the industry. The purchasing power of the customers has increased to a great extent, with the influencing the retail industry to a great extent, a variety of other factors also seem to fuel the retailing boom.

5)  SCALE OF OPERATIONS:
Scale of operations includes all the supply chain activities, which are carried out in the business. It is one of the challenges that the Indian retailers are facing. The cost of business operations is very high in India.

PRESENT INDIAN SCENARIO

* Unorganized market: Rs. 583,000 crores
* Organized market: Rs.5, 000 crores
* 5X growth in organized retailing between 2000-2005
* Over 4,000 new modern Outlets in the last 3 years
* Over 5,000,000 sq. ft. of mall space under development
* The top 3 modern retailers control over 750,000 sq. ft. of
retail space
* Over 400,000 shoppers walk through their doors every week
* Growth in organized retailing on par with expectations and projections of the last 5 Years: on course to touch Rs. 35,000 crores (US$ 7 Billion) or more by 2005-06

* Major players

- Food and grocery
- Fashion
- Others
- Food world
- Shoppers' Stop
- Vivek's
- Subhiksha
- Westside
- Planet M
- Nilgris
- Lifestyle
- Music World
- Adani- Rajiv's
- Pyramid
- Crossword
- Nirma-Radhey
- Globus
- Life spring

TRADITIONAL RETAIL SCENE IN INDIA

India is the country having the most unorganized retail market. Traditionally the retail business is run by Mom & Pop having Shop in the front & house at the back. More than 99% retailers function in less than 500Sq.Ft of area. All the merchandise was purchased as per the test & vim and fancies of the proprietor also the pricing was done on ad hock basis or by seeing at the face of customer. Generally the accounts of trading & home are not maintained separately. Profits were accumulated in slow moving & non-moving stocks which were to become redundant or consumed in-house. Thus profits were vanished without their knowledge. The Manufactures were to distribute goods through C & F agents to Distributors & Wholesalers. Retailers happen to source the merchandise from Wholesalers & reach to end-users.  The merchandise price used to get inflated to a great extent till it reaches from Manufacturer to End-user. Selling prices were largely not controlled by Manufacturers. Branding was not an issue for majority of customers. More than 99% customers are price sensitive & not quality or Brand Sensitive at the same time they are Brand conscious also. Weekly Bazaar in many small tows was held & almost all the commodities were on the scene including livestock. Bargaining was the unwritten law of market. Educational qualification level of these retailers was always low. Hence market was controlled by handful of distributors &/or Wholesalers. Virtually there was only one format of retailing & that was mass retail. Retailer to consumer ratio was very low, for all the categories without exception. Varity in terms of quality, Styles were on regional basis, community based & truly very low range was available at any given single place.  Almost all the purchases / (buying) by mass population was need oriented & next turn may be on festivals, Marriages, Birthdays & some specific occasions.

Impulsive buying or consumption is restricted to food or vegetables etc. Having extra pair of trousers or Shirts or Casuals & Formals & leisure wear & sports wear & different pair of shoes for occasions is till date is a luxury for majority population except for those living in Metros. Purchasing power of Indian urban consumer is very low and that of Branded merchandise in categories like Apparels, Cosmetics, Shoes, Watches, Beverages, Food, Jewellery, are slowly seeping into the lifeline of Indian City folks. However electronic & electrical home appliances do hold appropriate image into the minds of consumers. Brand name does matter in these white goods categories. In the coming times also majority of organized retailers will find it difficult to keep balance with rest of the unbranded retail market which is very huge.

INDIAN RETAIL IS MOVING INTO SECOND GEAR

1) FIRST GEAR:
(Create awareness)
* New retailers driving awareness
* High degree of fragmentation
* Real estate groups starting retail chains
* Consumer expecting 'value for money' as core value

2) SECOND GEAR:
(Meet customer expectations)
* Consumer-driven
* Emergence of pure retailers
* Retailers getting multi-locational and multi-format
* Global retailers evincing interest in India

3) THIRD GEAR:
(Back end management)
* Category management
* Vendor partnership
* Stock turns
* Channel synchronization
* Consumer acquisition
* Customer relation's management

4) FOURTH GEAR:
(Consolidation)
* Aggressive rollout
* Organized retail acquitting significant share
*
Beginning of cross-border movement
* Mergers and acquisitions

Conclusion

For a start, these retailers need to invest much more in capturing more specific market. Intelligence as well as almost real-time customer purchase behavior information. The retailers also need to make substantial investment in understanding/acquiring some advanced expertise in developing more accurate and scientific demand forecasting models. Re-engineering of product sourcing philosophies-aligned more towards collaborative planning and replenishment should then be next on their agenda. The message, therefore for the existing small and medium independent retailers is to closely examine what changes are taking place in their immediate vicinity, and analyze Whether their current market offers a potential redevelopment of the area into a more modern multi-option destination. If it does, and most commercial areas in India do have this potential, it would be very useful to form a consortium of other such small retailers in that vicinity and take a pro-active approach to pool in resources and improve the overall infrastructure. The next effort should be to encourage retailers to make some investments in improving the interiors of their respective establishments to make shopping an enjoyable experience for the customer.

As the retail marketplace changes shape and competition increases, the potential for improving retail productivity and cutting costs is likely to decrease. Therefore, it will become important for retailers to secure a distinctive position in the marketplace based on value, relationships or experience.

Finally, it is important to note that these strategies are not strictly independent of each other; value is function of not just price, quality and service but can also be enhanced by Personalization and offering a memorable experience. In fact, building relationships with customers can by itself increase the quality of overall customer experience and thus the perceived value. But most importantly for winning in this intensely competitive marketplace, it is critical to understand the target customer's definition of value and make an offer, which not only delights the customers but also is also difficult for competitors to replicate.
 


Shyamlal R Sharma
MBA (Marketing) 2004-06
Sardar Patel University
VV Nagar, Gujarat-388 001
E-mail:
shyamsharma_2001@rediffmail.com / rock_0021@yahoo.co.uk
 

Source : E-mail December 31, 2005

 

   

 

Occasional Papers Main Page

Important Note :
Site Best Viewed in Internet
Explorer in 1024x768 pixels
Browser text size: Medium