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The small retailer still rocks March 13, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Brands, Business, Retail, Small Retailer.
11 comments

He is alive and well my friends. The small retailer that is.

We have had a couple of posts on this issue, one was whether the small retailer will survive and the other was some reasons why he would.

Last weekend I accompanied my friend Raghu to a local store. He has a bag with a list inside that he drops off. We then proceeded on our walk. In the meantime, the bag filled with goodies from the list had made it to Raghu’s house. Account to be settled at the end of the month.

Do you think the big boys will do that?

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Bharti’s Retail Plans February 20, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Bharti, Business, India, Retail.
2 comments

Bharti Enterprises announced their much anticipated foray into the retail space. That makes them the latest in a list that includes Walmart, Reliance among others.

This brings me to my favorite subject – The Small Retailer

Will any of these large brands harness the small retailer? Does the entry of these big guns make business sense for the small guy?

Related Posts
The Death of the Small Retailer
Why the Small Retailer will survive

Why the small retailer will survive January 11, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Business, India, Retail, Trends.
10 comments

As a follow up to my previous article, Murali Partha writes in with his viewpoint.

Here is why I think Walmart will not have the same impact as it had in the US. It may take a few years before we see anything in terms of wiping out of the mom & pop stores. I am not saying Walmart will not succeed in India, but just that it may not have the same impact for quite a few years as it has in other parts of the globe. (I wonder what the Chinese experience of Walmart was like!)

The six mile radius in the US where mom & pop shop around Walmart got knocked off might actually be reduced to a two mile radius in India. Reason: Indians are not as mobile as the Americans. We typically do not travel too long for our day to day grocery needs. And I am talking of the majority of Indians who might not have cars.

We are used to home-delivery in most cases because when we buy in bulk we do not have our own conveyance to transport it.

And when we do not buy in bulk we prefer to go the store at the end of the road.
I can’t imagine Walmart being able to provide a great cost advantage on items such as the 1 rupee Shampoo sachet. A vast majority of India can afford only these types of products – one piece at a time. I can’t envisage trips to the neighbourhood walmart for these customers.

Again many of these customers are used to buying on credit (or have a running account that is settled once every few days) – don’t see Walmart doing it.

It should not be surprising if, as with many other western products that were super successful in those markets (such as Pepsi-Coke, Ford-GM et al), Walmart too might have to tweak its business model to realize its full potential in India.

Starbucks in India January 7, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Business, India, Retail, Trends.
2 comments

Starbucks is getting ready to enter the Indian market. It will be interesting to see how they compete with the Coffee Day and Barista chains. But I think they will find their own niche.

Back when Cafe Coffee Day started, I used to wonder who would pay 25 Rupees for a cup of coffee when you can buy the same coffee (without the fancy names) for 5 Rupees. Boy was I wrong. These places are doing roaring business. I guess the “young and active” market (of college kids) prefer to do their coffee and socializing at these fancy outlets.

One of my favorite stand-up comedians Jackie Mason, has this to say about Starbucks (holds good for the other fancy coffee places as well).

The death of the Small Retailer? January 5, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Business, India, Retail, Trends.
26 comments

With the advent of large cash and carry stores like Walmart, Metro, and the Indian giants like Reliance etc looking into this space, the retail sector has suddenly become hot. Everyone wants to exploit the great Indian middle class. Apparently we have money to spend 😉

While all this is very exciting, the arrival of these “Gorillas” will definitely have an impact on the small retailer aka the neighborhood provision store. There is a danger that pretty soon they will be wiped out. Even chains like Food World will find it difficult to compete. I went into the Reliance Fresh store in Hyderabad and was amazed at the scale. The big boys can pump in money and drive others out of business.

The same thing happened in the USA and history will repeat itself.