Monday, March 18, 2013

"Basic Retail Model" video

There is a "Basic Retail Model" which I have written about and propagate as it is relevant to any Retail business.

The model explains how to make any store successful as also will help any Retailer to develop a strong competitive advantage in a sustainable manner.

This video shows the "Basic Retail Model" being explained by me in one of the Retail Management class.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Indian Retail – Point & Counterpoint; The gain and pain from MRP

Once again my oft repeated grouse about which I have posted several times crops up again.

Times of India carried a news item titled Chilled drinks drain the pocket as shops charge extra for power and had the following chart which as part of this news report. This clearly shows how shops are selling soft drinks, juices, etc. at prices which are 10% to 25% more than MRP. Needless to say this is illegal and in February 2012 IRTC has been fined Rs. 10 Lakhs by New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.
Who benefits from MRP? Or rather the key question is who follows MRP?
Today MRP has become redundant and market dynamics defines pricing at the Retail end. The fact that a majority of shops in India sell many products above MRP and get away with it is ample proof that this legislation is outdated.
The typical counterpoint to this is how consumers are protected against being overcharged because of MRP.
Is that a valid statement? Not at all.
As consumers we all pay what the shop keeper asks whether it is below, on par or above the MRP. This is not restricted to only shops and the same reality exists in Hotels, Restaurants, Malls, Airports, etc. The only saving grace is that many of the corporate and larger entities today source products which has “For sale in select trade channels” printed on the product. This enables them to pursue a differential pricing which is invariably above the usual MRP.
Even in the above mentioned article a shop keeper is quoted as saying “I can't possibly charge more because if I do, then customers will walk into the supermarket a few meters away and buy the product there at MRP.”
Sure, IRTC has been fined for charging more than MRP. But, how many others have been penalized for flouting the MRP rule in spite of this being an open secret. Interestingly, the Judiciary seems to have a different perspective about MRP. In 2007 The Delhi High Court passed a judgment that hotels and restaurants can charge more than the MRP. This was justified in the ruling because such places provide ambience and services to their customers. However, this does not apply to shops and retail outlets.
I wonder why?
By this same logic the “cooling charge” is not illegal as it does constitute a “service”. Anyways, the stand alone stores do charge above MRP if possible and also gets away with it. By the same logic, the self service chains also provide service and ambiance and should therefore be exempt from the MRP rule.
So, who is then left to follow this out dated MRP concept? Therefore, if every channel has a reason and logic to charge more than MRP, why have this at all?
Picture courtesy - Times of India, Chennai edition dated 10th March 2013