Sunday, April 25, 2010

Initial Reader Comments/ Feedback

I am delighted with the few feedback/ comments received about "The INDIAN reTALEs". I share with you one such feedback from an academician. I am told that the physical copies of the book should be hitting book stores like Landmark, Higginbothams, Odyssey, etc., by the next week. Please do mail me if you spot the book at any store.

Feedback by -

Dr. Harvinder Singh,
Asstt. Professor,
BIMTECH, Greater Noida
I have completed your book. To begin with, let me thank you for writing such a wonderful book! I read it like a novel and this is the beauty of this book. Reading this book was like a guided tour of the world of retailing. What makes your book more relevant and different from other books is that you have not lost sight of the unorganized retailing. In fact throughout the book you have made contrasts and comparisons with the local stores and their practices. It is important to do so because this is where the competition lies for the moder format stores. Prominent textbooks on retail management completely miss this aspect. It may be OK with American and European authors doing so because their economies have a higher share of organized retail but what makes me feel sad is even Indian authors, while writing textbooks on retail, talk about organized retail only which has about 5-6% share in India.

True life customer stories and experiences in your book are great sources for insight for real-life decision-making. I specially liked the store launch experiences and 15 litre cooking oil packaging situation.

This book would definitely be a part of our library as an important reference. I am sure our students would benefit from this.

Wish your book great success. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is Retail an avenue to propagate a language?

When we were opening India’s First Hypermarket in Hyderabad a fair amount of time was spent in deciding the content and more importantly the languages to use for the signages. Finally we settled on English, Telugu as also Hindi because we expected customers from across socio economic classes to come to the store and they needed to find directions in a language they were comfortable with. The key consideration for any Retail communication’s language has to be the customer and their comfort with the same.

Recently the authorities in Chennai have decreed that all Shop names must sport Tamil versions and that the Tamil version needs to be as big or as important as the English one. This is supposed to be done by June 1st 2010. Is this done with the customers in mind? More likely it is yet another half baked idea with a political agenda. Let me explain why I think so.

A government ration shop must sport a Tamil name as the customers might consist of people who are not conversant in English or not comfortable with that Language. A neighborhood supermarket in a predominantly North Indian Locality might do better to have signage in English and Hindi, while Tamil boards would mean little to the customers.

By the natural laws of market dynamics this is already in vogue amongst shops of all kinds and sizes. I have even seen stores near the Hyundai Factory near Chennai with Korean names in that languages script. Imagine having those stores, which cater to the Korean Expatriates, have boards sporting Tamil.

I am a big fan of vernacular language and have posted about why the staff in several Retail chains are being forced to communicate in English. But, I am a bigger fan of customer orientation and anything being done which is not customer oriented is a complete waste of time.

The effort and cost of altering or replacing boards could be channelized towards so many other productive purposes. But now, the poor Retailers will be busy wasting time and money towards this futile exercise. Yet another instance when the lack of an Industry status hurts the Retail segment as there is no one to take up their issues.

In my book “The INDIAN reTALEs” I have detailed how the Industry status is not only important for the Retail chains as many erroneously believe but more so for the 12 or 14 million odd outlets spread across in India. I hope that the book is read by the relevant people in the Government, who sit up. Take notice and act upon the ideas given.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Back again

Since March 26th 2010, my blog was locked and have been trying to get the same restored. Finally, it is unlocked and I can continue to post about Indian Retail.

One top of the mind topic is the vernacular sign board drive by various state governments. Does it help anyone at all?

Shall post an overview about this soon.