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Showing posts with the label Retailers

Retailers and Jet Airways – Cross Learnings

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I had just started flying frequently from Bangalore to Delhi for monthly meetings and the preferred choice those days was Jet Airways (9W). Their on-board service was perhaps the best in class (the only comparison was the erstwhile Indian Airlines) and a few years later, maybe Kingfisher. Even with the popularity of the red-dress stewards with mini-skirts that attracted millions of flyers (forget not those plastic Kingfisher branded earphones), the Corporate Traveller still preferred 9W. There were many reasons for this choice, despite their pricing being 7-9% higher than Kingfisher and almost 1.5 times of Indigo and Spicejet in the later years.  The Jet Airways – Citibank co-branded Credit Card was a must have on our wallets in the later part of the Millennium. The card provided several intrinsic benefits – including Lounge access at Airports as well as shopping and dining benefits across the country. The 5 Tier membership on Jet Privilege, among India’s largest Loyalty Prog

SS EOSS 2018 is a full house

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After a long time, I went shopping. Once again, of course during EOSS popularly known as End of Season Sale which usually occurs twice a year after each season is over (SS – Spring Summer & AW - Autumn Winter). I recall, during my days at Benetton in 2004, there were not more than 3-4 weeks of EOSS, which would begin right after Valentine’s Day (late-Feb) & just before Ganesh Chathurthi (July). There would be a frenzy among Customers to get the best merchandise at lower prices during this time and the EOSS was a great crowd puller. A number of first time customers would turn up at the stores, those who’ve otherwise not been the Brand’s patrons earlier. They would engage with the Brand, the Staff, take Trials and purchase. If they liked what they wore, they would come back and buy again, even at full prices. Therefore, EOSS was a great tool to induce first time buyers (of a Brand). Things started changing slowly, especially between 2006-2012 during the Retail explosion pa

Is Consumer Loyalty Dead?

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Commencing this weekend (23 June), almost all Fashion Brands in India will go on EOSS – End of Season Sale, a biennial activity that has been witnessing a higher share of annual sales. When I used to work for Benetton as Area Manager in 2004, things were different. There used to be EOSS Twice a year followed by the “seasons” as they are called, viz., “Spring Summer (SS)” and “Autumn Winter (AW)”. EOSS would usually start after Valentine’s Day in the hope that shoppers would still shop at full price for the big day to impress their dear ones. And the next EOSS would occur after Schools and Colleges have reopened, just ahead of the Festival season that usually begins from August onwards. Slowly, things started changing, rather realigning to Global trends. Many international brands had to match their Global Fashion Calendar and the year-end Christmas Sales, so the EOSS was pushed to December & January and accordingly the next EOSS moved earlier to end-June. And that’s the current tr

What’s in a name?

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Is naming hotels after castes illegal, or will it amount to casteism? No, said the Madurai branch of the Madras high court, terming it ‘commercial speech and holding that there was nothing wrong in a Trichy hotel calling itself ‘Sri Krishna Iyyar Traditional Bramanal Café’. About four and half years ago, several Periyar Dravida Kazhagam members tried to deface the hotel’s name board and were arrested and jailed for 22 days before being released on bail.  Quashing the criminal cases against 112 people, Justice G R Swaminathan pointed out the ‘sheer hypocrisy’ of the petitioners as they had not showed defiance against similar entities elsewhere. “In Madurai, where this bench is situated, there are hotels named after castes and communities. ‘Konar Mess’ and ‘Mudaliyar Idly Kadai’ are well-known instances. Speaking for myself, I used to regularly go to ‘Reddiyar Mess’ at Pondicherry for lunch during my college days,” said Justice Swaminathan. It is the constitutional right

Deepavali Retail Sales – Less Fire, more Smoke

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The week leading up to Deepavali was perhaps the most exciting times for Retailers. From Apparel to Consumer Durables, Motor cycles to Cars, people would flock to Retail Stores with their savings of the year. The period around Deepavali, which normally comes in the latter half of October or early November and the entire 3 rd Quarter of a financial Year would contribute over 50% of Retail Sales for certain categories like Television sets, Refrigerators, Washing Machines etc. This was the trend through the 90s and the new Millennium. Cut to mid-2000s, the evolution of Mall culture in India has been rapid, with over 1,000 functional shopping centers across the country. For every 3 new malls that open, 1 perishes and the trend is worse in certain cities, which were over-hyped by the Real Estate fraternity. The good part of Malls is that they provide customers 365-day access to regional, domestic and international brands. The footfalls used to be far higher in Malls a decade back t

C for Conversion (Footfalls to Customers)

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One of the biggest challenges for Retailers is customer conversion. In large formats such as Malls, Department Stores & Hypermarkets, the opportunity is huge but in reality the conversion rates are quite poor. It’s a completely different story at supermarkets and fashion retail stores. The conversion in E-Commerce is a completely different effort altogether. In this article, we explore various opportunities for Retailers to engage with customers for better conversions. Drive footfalls One of the most important things for a Retailer is to drive footfalls in to their store, no matter if they are located on a high street or a shopping complex such as a Mall. This could be done through creating interesting visual displays on the shop front, attractive shopping offers, images of brand ambassadors, new launches of products (and services), “Happy hour” shopping boards, to name a few. The key here is to drive footfalls in to the store and leave the Conversion to the shop staff,

UDAN - a A Flight for Retailers

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If the Modi Government has its way, it will make the real common man to fly. No kidding. With it's ambitious UDAN - Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (Let the common man fly) which is a rehash of the regional air connectivity proposed by the UPA Governments but with a lot more incentives to Airlines and of course flyers. The fare for a one hour flight is capped at Rs. 2,500 adjusted to inflation. Whether the one hour is block time or flying time is yet to be clarified. And many other things too. If technical details about UDAN interest you, read this column written by The Flying Engineer here . India has over 450 airstrips/airports that were developed and built during the WW 1 & WW 2 by the British for strategic purposes. How many of you may know, unless you are from surrounding areas that we have airports in most obscure locations that one would have never thought of, such as Vellore and Salem (Tamil Nadu), Kadappa (Andhra), Gubarga (Karnataka), Raxaul & Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and

Chennai Shopping Festival

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For the first time, Retailers in Chennai have come together to create a one of its kind Retail Promotion. Titled "Chennai Shopping Festival" (CSF), this is organised by the Retailers and for the Retailers of Chennai. My own start-up Smiling Baby, a baby store that caters to the needs of new born kids upto six years is a member of Retailers Association of India (RAI), an Industry body that represents our needs and requirements to the Government and other bodies. Under the auspices of RAI, members of the organisation have come forward to create a marketing property which is CSF. The idea was rolled over on our WhatsApp group by a member, seconded by a few of us and actioned by all of us in just a week's time from start to finish. We have built a simple website that provides information about the various participating stores and their offers. Take a look here. http://www.chennaishoppingfestival.com/offers/28 Over 30 leading Retailers from Chennai spread over 300 st

FDI in Ecommerce

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The Govt. of India has recently affirmed through a circular through DIPP that Foreign Direct Investments in E-Commerce companies is allowed upto 100%. There is cheer among a few although there are clauses and causes for worry for many. The notification says that 100% FDI is allowed only in companies that operate as a Marketplace and not on those who operate with their own Inventory.  Let me clarify this with some examples; Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and PayTM are the big Four Marketplaces in India and so is my own startup Oyethere.com. In these models, the company doesn’t own any inventory and merely facilitates the sale of products between Retailers/Sellers and Customers. Marketplaces bring together the above-mentioned two parties and complete the transaction. There are several variations here too. For instance, some marketplaces merely connect the buyer and seller (OLX) and the money is paid by the buyer to the seller directly. A majority of them including F