Friday, March 02, 2012: 03:47:52 PM

Retail Guest Column

Retail marketing on a rapid growth mode - Amod Gupte, Sudar Garments

Retailing is all about understanding the needs of the customer and moulding and packaging the product as per their requirements

India is one of the fastest growing retail markets in the world, with 1.2 billion people. One of the key factors to promote the growth of the retail market in India is to recognise the value of brand building. It means defining, positioning and delivering the brand to the customer. A strong brand differentiates one’s product from the competitors and adds on the quality image of business.

A branded product creates recognition for itself within selective segment of consumers. It makes the consumer a part of a different group and creates an emotional bond with the consumer which in turn builds up customer loyalty towards the product.

Retailing has undergone a tremendous change over the past decade. In today’s market scenario retailing is more than mere selling a product. It is about understanding the needs of the customer and moulding and packaging the product as per their requirements in a well defined and designed manner. Retailing is a process of delivering the product from the manufacturer to the end-user in a polished manner.

With the purchasing power and brand consciousness on rise among people across different socio-economic classes in India, the urban and semi-urban retail markets are witnessing significant growth. Slowly and steadily branded products are becoming lifestyle products, which are being widely accepted by the Indian consumers.

Challenges in retail marketing
However, there are a few challenges that retailers across the country have to face. With the markets here being mainly fragmented and unorganised, retailers across the country face the following challenges:

Heavy investment: Retailers need to invest heavily to meet their infrastructure needs as well as appointment of well-trained middle management level professionals.

Supply Chain Management: The market scenario is ever-changing- there have been constant changes in consumer taste, logistical challenges and evolution of new retail formats from time to time.Retailers need to implement various strategies to improve their business processes, such as logistics, innovation, distribution, marketing and management to keep in pace with market trends and reach the levels of quality and service desired by consumers.

Frauds in Retail: Frauds such as vendor fraud, thefts, shop-lifting and administrative challenges.

Infrastructure and Logistics:  Retailers have to bear huge losses due to lack of proper infrastructure and distribution process. Good infrastructure and efficient distribution channel is the need of the hour to boost the retail business in India. We need to concentrate in providing better transportation systems, warehousing facilities and timely distribution of products.

FDI in retail
FDI would have positive effects on the economy in the long run. It would lead to greater efficiency and improvement in standard of living and ultimately benefit the consumer both price and selection wise, due to the introduction of technology and know-how of foreign player in the market.

But one needs to understand that the Indian retail market is a highly fragmented and unorganised industry. India still thrives on the traditional formats of retailing. Policy makers need to keep in view the impact of retailing as a whole, considering the socio-economic perspective and frame policies in favour of the masses primarily considering the pricing, employment and wages factor. They need to fine-tune the policies by evolving suitable lending policies, studying the effects on the pricing factor once FDI enters the Indian market, drawing up clear cut policies that would safeguard the interest of domestic retailers as well as providing the foreign investors to grow within a specific framework.

Retailing has evolved a lot. Today, consumers to a certain extent have started differentiating between what every brand of a product has to offer. In this age of marketing, companies need to be up-to-date with latest trends and techniques in order to be able to compete with others in the market.

Amod Gupte is the director of Sudar Garments.

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