You have already read that many chains are closing non-viable stores and trying to trim costs wherever possible. It is not yet clear if the slowdown has hit across the board as some retailers continue to push merchandise aggressively.
Indian Retailers have set a target of $50 bn by 2011 which seems possible. However, consumer buying behavior is likely to change very soon as he increasingly looks for higher value for money proposition. Consumer footfalls in modern retail is irreversible and is unlikely to drop significantly but customers will be conscious before swiping their cards.
This is the time to consolidate and have a re-look at strategies adopt by retailers. We think the customer is at the center of the retail universe. Retailers must increasingly focus on in-store services. Retailers must understand what the Indian consumer wants and design and implement effective customer service programs for the support staff. Retail outlets must also have a complaint management system in place with feedback taken into the process to continuously improve and win-back the consumer.
In-store merchandise placement and planning is the next area of focus. During this time when the consumer is actually counting the basket value while shopping, expect him not to indulge in impulse buying and most of the money they spend in store will be as per shopping list. Using Historical Data, Retailers can position merchandise accurately so that it leads to a near match of planned shopping list of customers.
Deeper insight into consumer needs should lead retailers to design targeted pricing and promotions for each group and profile of consumers. Once promotions are designed on consumer needs, they will not just be more effective but also enhance trust between the consumer and the retailer.
Retailing is all about giving unparalleled customer experience to your customer. Share your thoughts if you have any.