Sunday, January 01, 2012: 07:31:38 PM

Retail Trend

The retail challenge of selling brands

In spite of massive market, not all international and domestic brands can make it at the retail level

Building a brand is one thing and selling it is another. Though the Indian market is flooded with international brands today, not all of them can find success in retail. The primary reason for such failures is that certain international brands market their brands as exclusive and end up segmenting the target consumers. Be it the single brand retailer or the multi-brand player, handling a brand in a retail outlet has its own set of challenges in the Indian market.

 
In spite of the middle class Indian consumer having more money in their pockets than ever before, pricing of goods is still the biggest USP that a product can have. The best example for this is the latest offering from Datawind, the $35 tablet. Set to transform the tablet industry, the yet to be retailed product has already sent shockwaves through the web for its pricing. Another interesting fact is that the higher priced tablet market is still thriving and the larger brands are enjoying the multiple boom of the telecom and IT sector.
 
The right appeal
 
The success of a brand, domestic or international however does not necessarily depend only on pricing; else domestic brands would have sold their tablets at a much higher rate than Samsung and Apple. Enakshi Kundu, public relations officer and brand expert explains, “In terms of availability of international brands, India has arrived in the international. However some brands with an exclusive appeal failed to make it in the market mainly because they failed to appeal to the upper middle class/Indian international traveller. In the present market however brands have become more conscious and are constantly developing marketing strategies that aims at the massive middle class population.”
 
For a retailer, each of the brands sold are important and therefore ensuring that each gets its own unique display at the store is crucial. Nowadays brands provide large multi-brand retailers with representatives that are specialised to sell and guide customers about their products. This can work to the advantage of the retailers as these representatives are not under their payroll and yet help in enhancing sales. The concept has led to new breakthroughs in retail HR management as well.
 
According to US based fashion designer Jyoti Khaitan Goel, “International retailers and their Indian counterparts have completely different business strategies. While the sales and marketing department in the latter has maximum importance, the business strategy and PR department in international retail firms have maximum importance. This is mainly because their purchasing power parity of these populations is much higher and there is clear distribution of income. In India the end of the month usually has the least sales as a significant part of the consumer population is salaried. For retailers the challenge therefore is to ensure that sales remain uniform throughout the month for which the prevalence of combo offers and cheaper deals is much more.”
 
With retail sector on the verge of a major boom, it is clear that retailers as well as international brands will need to come up with innovative strategies and business plans to ensure that each brand gets its due in the market.
 
Tias Chakraborty

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