Thursday, March 29, 2012

Instead, they drive away footfalls!

Shoes on Sale 2

I was recently in Chennai and happened to see an advertisement in the newspaper from a leading footwear Retailer announcing End of Season Sale and massive discounts. Someone within my friends circle had even mentioned about it on Facebook. Excited I was like many others, landed up at the store on a Saturday evening. To my utter disappointment, the store was in complete disarray. The owner was standing in one corner with a long face and the sole salesman was running pillar to post, literally. There were atleast 20 customers within the store – a few on the lower level and mostly women on the upper floor. I will not mention the name of the Retailer who is well renowned in Chennai and I only assume that this incident was an aberration than norm. Hope it gets better sooner than later. How I wish...

Shoes on Sale 5

Some key learning that I took out of this episode;

  • End of Season Sale is not just a season to liquidate stocks. It is also an opportunity to attract newer customers from across the town
  • To mention “Upto 40% Off” in the advertisement and finally offering unknown brands at such a discount or lower is a wasted effort
  • Women are slow shoppers – they spend on an average 2-3 times the amount of time than men while shopping and also try 3-4 times more footwear than men
  • It didn’t make any sense to stock women’s products on the upper level – while most customers did walk up, it would have been a better idea to stock them downstairs and allow them more space to move around
  • There were just two boys running around helping customers in each floor. Knowing fully well the additional footfalls that are expected due to the newspaper advertisement, it would have made sense that there were more helpers in the store to assist customers
  • There is a tendency to believe that discount-seekers are of a lower profile than normal customers and hence it is ok to serve them less! Bad Idea! There were more cars parked outside the store than two-wheelers. And most of them who paid for the product used a debit or credit card
  • Worst of all is to stock the products badly – in carton boxes and allowing customers to search for their sizes

Shoes on Sale 3

At the end of it, I found nothing interesting that were on Sale; instead I walked out of the store rather disappointed. disgusted more on the owners’ interest levels and attitude than the fact that not much was available to buy! Will I visit the shop again? Yes. I guess it was more of a one-off case and would allow the Retailer to correct themselves!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Air Conditioners–From Luxury to Necessity!

AC Customer

Its summer time again – that time of the year when children spend more time outside school, though not necessarily at one’s home! They could be either playing street cricket all day or some indoor games at a friends place! And it is also that time of the year when people look for a cooler climate than it is outside – what better reason to enjoy the weekends with the comfort of an air conditioner! It is the time when the sales of A/Cs sees a peak – sales surge by over 200%. Retailers such as Reliance Digital, Croma and EZone and Brands such as Onida, Samsung, Daikin and many more woo customers with various offers and promotions over these 3 months.

While it used to be a luxury to have a window a/c (in middle-class Indian homes two decades back), things have evolved a lot over the recent years. Today, to have an a/c at home is no more just aspirational. After a long tired day at work, inmates would rather prefer to spend time at home within the confines of a cool area. In fact many builders who construct apartments plan for a/c ducts (window or split) well in advance. And connecting one is no more cumbersome as they used to be. Today, brands send their respective service personnel to the homes of customers for a free installation which is completed within 1-2 hours depending on the complexity of the wiring!

The challenge is not about buying an a/c anymore. It is about being able to use them consistently as well as being able to afford surging electricity bills. This year, states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and many more are facing acute shortage of power – and regular power cuts are the norm of the day. At Avadi, a suburb outside Chennai (where train carriages are manufactured for the Indian Railways), there are atleast 5-6 times power cuts everyday including twice in the night between 7pm – 7am for an hour each. In areas like Whitefield and Sarjapur Road in South East Bangalore, power cuts for 2-3 hours are considered normal. Houses that have inverters may not necessarily connect their a/cs as the cost goes up significantly.

Unless the Government manages the grim Power situation better, it is of no help to the Retailers and Brands who publish half-page advertisements in leading newspapers! However, if you are planning to buy an A/c, rush to your nearest Retailer now for exciting deals and offers! And yes, Happy Summer!