the past two years, global retail consultants have done
fairly regular rounds of India, either because their companies
have a presence here or because they are interested in
having a presence here. Thanks to India's massive population
and indications of better levels of disposable incomes
side by side with awareness emerging, retail is being
seen as a massive emerging opportunity.
Naturally, since retail revolutions took place in the
more developed markets much earlier, the feeling is that
India can draw from their experiences. Although, given
India's own unique characteristics, expectations are that
as the retail scenario evolves (surely rapidly now), the
country will emerge with its own retail models as well.
Yet, say these global consultants, there are enough models
out there in the developed part of the world that will
find acceptance here, even though they may find some modifications
to suit local needs better. The challenge, really, is
in the re-invention.
There are certain formats these consultants feel can
work in India:
- small stores, with complex but efficient supply chains
- small supermarkets that run on brand variety and tight
- a mix of food and general merchandise stores
- out-of-town shoppatainment complexes
- mid-sized retail propositions within town limits
- small corner outlets with integrated home delivery
Effectively, then, leaving out hypermalls of the US kind,
other retail models are possible in India, though a model
cannot really be moved across borders piecemeal. Not normally.
What can come in piecemeal, however, is the supply chain
management model attached to a broad model that is being
Again, the opinion is that you have to build on what's
already there -- you can't just wipe the slate clean and
start afresh. And so the likes of catalogue or mail order
buying will not necessarily lose significance. Make it
more efficient and it can work. However, since in a lot
of product categories, the consumer may prefer a touch-and-feel
before taking a decision, these kinds of formats can be
supported by display outlets sans on-premise stocking.
Take your pick, order and get it all delivered at home.
E-retailing could also adopt something like this combination.
There are no strict rules anywhere, anymore.
What of rural India? Ah, that's where a modified multi-product
hypermart could work, is the opinion. And the best fits?
No, there are no best fits -- adopt/adapt/develop the
best fit from what's out there. And here.
The bottomline: there are basic commonalities
in retail evolution in any market. As incomes rise, value
additions go up. As
value adds go up, retail models gain significance. And
then come shakeouts and consolidations. That's the ground
reality. You just can't shake that.
also see :
Retail in greater detail