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One of the key determinants of a retailer’s success is the format they use to present to their target customers. A retailer can choose a format based on the type of store design they want to produce, the location they want to establish, the different products and services they want to provide, and the approach to pricing. The most important aspect is that the format should be ideal for their target demographic.
In the past, the Indian retail sector has been dominated by small independent players such as traditional and small convenience stores. It is in recent times that the organized, multi-outlet retail concept has gained acceptance and since then gained momentum. According to the study conducted by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), on the topic “Impact of Organized Retail on Unorganized Sector”, the retail business is estimated to grow at 13% per annum from US$ 322 billion in 2006-07 to US$ 590 billion in 2011-12.
A report by FICCI on “Indian retail: on the fast track” shows that various organized retailers are currently experimenting with different forms of retailing. It is difficult to predict which format will have a winning edge over all others given that the Indian market is yet to mature.
The different types of retail formats that retailers can use are mom-and-pop or kirana stores, specialty stores, department stores, discount stores, convenience stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, malls, category killers, e-tailers and vending machines.
Mom-And-Pop or Kirana Stores: is a retail business owned and operated by individuals. The range of products is very selective and few in number. These shops seen in the local community are often family run businesses. The square footage of the store depends on the store owner.
Specialty stores: A typical specialty store emphasizes a particular category and provides high customer service. A pet store that specializes in selling dog food would be considered a specialty store. But branded stores also come under this format. For example, if a customer visits a Reebok or Gap store, they will only find Reebok and Gap products in the respective stores.
Warehouses: often have a resemblance to a collection of specialty stores. A dealer of such a store has different categories and has a wide range at an average price. They offer considerable customer service. For example: Food World in Bangalore.
Discount stores: offers a wide range of products at affordable and discounted prices. Usually, retailers sell less fashion-oriented brands. However, the service is inadequate.
Convenience stores: found mainly in residential areas. They provide a limited amount of items at more than average prices with a quick checkout. This store is ideal for emergencies and instant purchases.
Hypermarkets: delivers variety and huge quantities of exclusive merchandise at low margins. Operating costs are relatively less than other retail formats. A classic example is the Metro™ in Bangalore.
Supermarkets: is a self-service store that mainly consists of groceries and limited products on non-food items. They may adopt a Hi-Lo or an EDLP pricing strategy. The supermarkets can be anything between 20,000-40,000 square meters. Example: SPAR™ supermarket.
Shopping malls: has a number of retail stores in a single business. They equipped with products, food and entertainment under one roof. Example: Sigma mall and Garuda mall in Bangalore.
Category Killers or Category Specialist: By providing a wide range in a single category at lower prices, a retailer can “kill” that category for other retailers. For few categories, such as electronics, the products are displayed in the center of the store and the salesperson will be available to answer customer queries and provide suggestions when needed. Other retail outlets are forced to lower prices if a category specialty store is present nearby. For example: Pai Electronics™ store in Bangalore.
E-merchants: The customer can shop and order via the internet, and the goods are delivered to the customer’s doorstep. Here, the retailers use drop shipping technology. They accept payment for the product, but the customer receives the product directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler. This format is ideal for customers who do not want to travel to retail stores and are interested in shopping at home. However, it is important for the customer to be wary of defective products and insecure credit card transactions. Example: Amazon and Ebay.
Vending Machines: This is an automated piece of equipment where customers can drop the money into the machine and acquire the products. This kind of system is currently not widespread in India. For example: Selling soft drinks at Bangalore Airport.
Retailers can choose a format as they each provide their customers with a different retail mix based on their customer demographics, lifestyle and purchasing behavior. A good format will help display products well and entice target customers to generate sales.
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