Monday, May 21, 2007

Retail, how do you differentiate

Finally, I had a look inside a Reliance Fresh store in Bangalore. True, I went in at a slightly unearthly hour of about 3 pm, but there were barely any vegetables. The fruit counter was well stacked, perhaps with good reason, all of them were exotic (read expensive). Most of the other products are products that you would find at other outlets. I am not finding fault with Fresh -a lot of thought has gone into the design including the design of the stores - clear labels - the tilted space to keep your basket so the person at the counter has a clear view, but my question is at a more general level.

Today, the difference between a Subhiksha and Reliance Fresh is simply space and ambience. Price wise, I dont see a big difference. Quality wise, I dont see a big difference. A niche retailer like Namdhari is more expensive and overall better in quality.

Would I drive down to buy vegetables to any of these places? Unlikely - which is the same reason I wouldnt shop for veggies at Food Bazar.

Unlike in the US, there doesnt seem to be a differentiating factor across retail stores in India. They all look the same. Perhaps as time goes by, they will find their feet and their niches, but today the only difference is the fact that one gives me a clear 10% off on something while another gives me a half kg pack of sugar free. Will that change my shopping habit? Will I go out of my way? Probably not. That means, that today one of the main factors to go to a "particular store" is its proximity. Unless someone has a store in nearly every street corner, it is tough to entice a customer to go and buy from another one. More thoughts on this shortly...

3 comments:

Kavi said...

I guess the retail revolution is in a very nascent stage ! Many people i know ( including me) cant seem to understand that we after all can buy vegetables from an airconditioned store ! There is a block ! And a big one at that !

Neelakantan said...

The funny thing is that I have noticed sometimes shops buy from local vendors and vendors buy in bulk from these shops...more on this interplay sometime.

RustyNeurons said...

Reliance Fresh recently opened in the area where I live and the scene is a complete opposite there. People are driving in hordes to shop from there. In fact, the near veg vendor had to shut the shop. I did check on the stuff kept and they seem to be in abundance!