Sunday, February 27, 2011

What is the need regarding MRP!

A few days ago I saw a quarter page advertisement highlighting MRP (the maximum retail price) and how complaints can be lodged, etc. etc., as you can see on the picture above.

I have always propagated doing away from MRP as the context has changed in India whether it is in urban or rural markets. MRP is no longer adhered to or relevant and the links to my other posts are as follows for reference.
- The MRP scam!

Now consider the following –
  • In most places they charge more for soft drinks and claim it is for cooling! When most consumers are aware of this and pay up I wonder why no one from the Department of Consumer Affairs is aware of this reality.
  • The same is the case in any monopolistic market context. Be it a multiplex, Hill Station, Tourist spots, etc. If you want something you end up paying whatever is named as the price. I wonder if the fact is that officials of this department are so hard working, they never frequent such places and are therefore unaware of such practices.
  • Most of the overcharging happens in the vast network of railway stations and many airports. These are government run institutions. I wonder why no one has happened to notice this open disregard for the MRP?
I guess these Shop Keepers/ Retailers know the fact about market driven economy better than the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Especially in the Indian Context where filing complaints is easy but getting redressal or a solution is hardly if ever to be found, what is the purpose of such advertisements? Just blow up public money because it was allocated to this department in the budget???

In that context let me share a personal experience. For some weird reason voter id cards have been given to everyone in our apartment excepting our household. Multiple complaints to the local corporation and election commissioner’s cell did not have any result. Finally I filed an online complaint. All I have to show for all this is a nice pre printed post card saying that my complaint has been received and will be addressed soon by the corporation commissioner from the Chief Minister’s special cell. This came in 2009 and I am still waiting!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Articles about Consumer Behavior

Two more articles of mine about being a Smart Shopper in The Hindu Retail Plus and the links are as follows.

- What is impulse shopping
- Perception Vs Reality

Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them for all of you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Fascination with Innovative Mobile Delivery Options

Mobile Retail Delivery is as old as Retail itself and hence my fascination with that delivery model with regard to all the innovation that can be tried out out in this space to leverage the same. India already boasts of 12 or 14 million retail outlets depending on which consultant’s report you are referring to. Also, what is not clear is whether this number includes the hawkers AKA mobile retail. Anyways, lets forget this Akbar-and-Birbal method of trying to measure Indian Retail.
Mobile Retail or mobile vending has been there in various forms from ancient times be it the street hawkers, the boat peddlers of Dal Lake, Floating market of Bangkok or more recently the floating supermarket in Kerala. However, one peculiarity barring the floating supermarket is the self limitation that these entrepreneurs impose on themselves as also the fact that the evolving Indian Retail Market seems to completely ignore it’s enormous potential.

Since 2009 I have been lamenting the fact that that this segment represents an enormous potential and had written a detailed article in The Hindu Business Line.
A cartoon in The Hindu

 Ironically, The Hindu published this cartoon a few months later which epitomizes my construct. Till now this was a thought, a concept, something in the air. Today I saw this is in action and want to share this with my readers.

This picture is that of a normal neighbourhood iron man who does laundry and pressing.

Now watch an innovative mobile retailer has done.

- Put a shed and used it to advertise other services

He has done this a few months ago since he and his friends got this idea. He parks the cart in a safe spot during the night and operates from here during the day. I would not be surprised if he started selling various small essential products.

The difference between the earlier iron man and the second person is all about inititive and drive about which I have written in this post as also earlier ones. When will this become a mass movement?

Imagine if a Retail chain were to leverage this enormous potential of mobile Retail! Brand such carts, offer small, high margin and often used SKUs, so on and so forth.

Some food for thought ???