Friday, March 19, 2010

What a Birthday present!!

Almost to the day, it has been a year since “An Indian and A Retailer” made its debut. The thoughts of this blog grew into an in-depth, experiential book about Indian Retail, titled “The INDIAN reTALEs”.

All this happened in the space of the past 365 or maybe 366 days!

And on the first birthday of the blog, I hold a physical copy of “The INDIAN reTALEs” and wish a very happy birthday to the blog.

This book has been published by Unicorn Books and is now available for purchase with an online discount of 25% at pustakmahal (dot) com. It would be available at leading book stores over the next couple of weeks.

Please start enquiring at your nearest book store about the book and get your hands on it as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who supported, encouraged and motivated me along this journey. Hope you enjoy reading the tales as much as you have this blog.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who is managing the store!

Over the past few weeks or rather months I have been noticing a dangerous trend in the supermarket chains I tend to go to. Barring one as an exception the store manager/ in-charge seems to be missing in action.

Either he or she is nowhere in the store and my guess is that in most instances they have been called for some meeting at the office. Such a meeting would debate at length on why sales are dropping and what can be done to increase the same.

In a few cases the manager emerged from the store back office in response to a request by some cashier to unblock the billing machine. This is a safety or rather security need wherein in certain cases like changing the prices of products, an authorization code is required for the cashier to continue billing.

After unblocking the machine the manager glares at the cashier and customers alike and retreats into his office again, to do God knows what. If I were to be charitable I would presume that he is compiling piles of reports that someone in the office has asked for, which will all finally end up as a bullet point on a presentation.

Why is this dangerous? Simply because others will follow as they are being led.

I have often stated how the staff are the face of the Retailer and they define the interactions which make or break shopper loyalty and hence the viability of the store. If the staff see their store in-charge being more internally focused in terms of primarily pleasing their bosses, having none or very little time for customers, wont they emulate the same?

There is a ritual called store walk which ensures that the store in-charge takes stock of things literally and figuratively. If not done, it is a guarantee that the store will go down the drain in terms of hygiene, display, etc.

Lastly, the staff are on their feet almost through the eight hour shift. Being on the floor with them, guiding them and motivating them is the best form of leadership and is guaranteed to have positive results.

Instead of this routine, which is core to Retailing I hardly see the store in charge interacting with either customers or the staff.

Maybe the change should start with the bosses. They need to leave the conference rooms and be at the store more often. While at the store, have stand up meetings if required.

However, the best bet would be to talk with the staff and customers and they will get millions of ideas to improve sales. More importantly, such ideas will work!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

To be launched soon...

March 20th, 2009 is a memorable day as that is when I started the blog “An Indian and A Retailer”. It was actually started suddenly on a whim and before I knew, it had gained a life and momentum of its own. A whole lot of people saw the blog, wrote to me and commented on the posts. Very soon, it was being quoted by Retail and Strategy consultants during their presentations.

I came to know about the widespread popularity of the blog when one such consultant referred to a post during their presentation regarding supply chain. Several members of the audience were my good friends and ex colleagues. Obviously they wasted no time in calling me up and congratulating me.

The blog has been receiving a steady viewership and the walk-in counter is set to cross the 12,000 mark soon. Indicating that on an average 1,000 odd people view my blog every month. 30, persons a day. Not bad for something I started just like that!

My sincere thanks to all those who have steadily viewed and supported the blog.

This support and motivation was voiced to me by several visitors to the blog in the form of a suggestion. Why not write a book. Their contention was that given the depth and detail of Retail information and knowledge available, why not expand on the same and publish a book. It would reach more people and benefit them.

In June 2009, I started acting on this suggestion and worked on putting a book together while contacting publishers. March 2010, this dream effort is ready to see the light of the day. Just ahead of the first anniversary of this blog.

Presenting - “The Indian reTALEs”

The book should be published shortly and for now the cover and an overview can be viewed on @ unicornbooks (dot) com.

Look forward to a similar support to the book. Please do spread the word; Post on your Facebook profiles, Tweet about it, mail your contacts, etc. Please help propagate the news of “The Indian reTALEs”.