Insights 2010

Trends & Challenges In Retail !!!

Great Opportunity for the Indian Retail Industry


Better customer orientation, innovative offerings and good quality of service alongwith shrewd management of their expansion processes will lead to great opportunity for the Indian retail industry. Following these guidelines, recession or advent of foreign players will have little impact on their business model. This was the overall sentiment expressed during the “Challenges in Retail” conference held in Pune recently.

The conference was organized at the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture by Retailware Softech Pvt. Ltd. which specializes in providing software solutions to the retail sector, on the occasion of completion of 10 years of their first Retail installation. The conference was chaired by renowned Retail guru and founder GM of Warana Bazaar, Mr. Vijay Kesarkar and the speakers included Mr. Dinesh Jain (Jaihind Collections, Pune), Mr. Sandeep Surana ( Surana Corner, Ahmednagar), Mr. Anil Kankaria (Navjeevan Super shop, Jalgaon), Mr. Vishwas Chitale (Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale and Chitale Digitals, Pune & Sangli), Mr. Pramod Karamchandani (Venus Traders, Pune) and Mr. Nayan Somayya (New Digital World, Pune). Participants came from all over the state from cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, Jalgaon, Buldhana, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Latur, Baramati etc. The conference was compered by Mr. Ajit Thadhani, CEO of Retailware Softech. The global recession had definitely impacted Indian retailers but more in the urban areas rather than the rural landscape. But off late consumer buying has increased and the worst seems to be over. This means that the retail industry should now focus on expansion to be able to cater to this rising customer demand was the advise forthcoming from Mr. Karamchandani.

Mr. Kesarkar strongly recommended creating of an environment where the customer feels at home and passing on the benefits of bulk purchases to the customer will in turn reinforce the customer’s bond with your business and ensure longevity and stability. Businesses must increase their purchasing power and offer personalized service which is something the corporate sector cannot offer. While expanding, identifying the right location is a key factor which many a time leads to the downfall of the outlet, he added.

Rewarding Salespersons with performance based incentives will motivate these sales persons to better understand the customer and help him in making the right purchase and also enhance the ticket size was the recommendation by Mr. Jain. He also added that offering the right product mix and skillful merchandising were the major challenges while expanding into multiple stores.

Mr. Chitale felt that offering value for money, better inventory management and good use of CRM will offset any fears that one may have about competition from the corporate sector or even foreign players. He also said that we need to pamper our customers and retain them since competition will get more fierce.
What we have recently experienced was not a ‘recession’ but a ‘correction’ according to Mr. Somayya. He said that we should be prepared to take advantage of such situations since this is the time to grow when costs are down, properties are available at excellent valuations and ramp up operations before the upswing starts so that you will be prepared to reap the benefits of boom times to come. Mr. Surana strongly advocated use of systems in order to be in control of your business and expressed surprise that many businesses continue to run without computerized systems.
Mr. Kankariya said that his family debated the options before them when major retailers started setting up shop in Jalgaon. Some of these options were either give up, join them or take them head on. The family decided on the last one and increased their stores to be able to be more accessible to the customer and consolidate their position in the market.