Wednesday, February 08, 2012

So, why open a store

The internet is perhaps the best way to tap into the long tail of the worlds consumer necessities, then why bother with a store? Well, yes, for sure, there is enough life in stores to run another 25-30 years, but having said that, there is perhaps a better way to doing things - as I wrote in my previous post. But are there reasons why someone might want to open a store?

For one, if you want to connect with some of the buyers or create a brand by locating yourself in a specific area of the city - it might be worth it.

And then again, if you have a better sourcing strategy, it is a great idea to have a store – where customers can come and browse through your collection. (For example, the well known Sanskriti stores in Ahmedabad is a great example of a need for a store). This is true for anything. Whether it is toys, clothes, handicrafts – anything. If you are selling what the guy next door is selling, why bother? Sure, you offer a differential service, but then I would rather walk into a faceless mall and buy what I want without even having to interact! So, service as a differential is a short term strategy, in my view, unless it goes beyond that into something else (what - I cant imagine for now).

Another example, if you are into selling an experience – not just a product – like perhaps games – then it is a great idea to have a store where people come in and play the game and like the experience and want to take it home. Play games, play Lego, play games in Multiplayer mode for example, see others play etc.

Therefore, the differentiator has to be a combination of service, product and experience!

Unless you are offering any of the above, there is no real reason to open yet another new store. And even as I see it, there are so many opportunities in India (or Bangalore or Mumbai or anywhere) itself to open and close many stores!       

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