One of the key determinants of a retailer’s success is the format that they use to present to their target customers. A retailer can chose a format based on the kind of store design they want to render, the locality they would like to establish, the various products and services they wish to provide and the approach taken to pricing. The most important aspect is the format should be ideal to their target demographics.
In the past, the Indian retail sector has been dominated by small independent players such as traditional and small grocery stores. It is in the recent times that organized, multi-outlet retail concept has gained acceptance and has since then gained momentum. As per the study conducted by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), on the subject ‘Impact of Organized Retail on Unorganized Sector’, the retail business is estimated to grow at 13% per annum from US $ 322 billion in 2006-07 to US $ 590 billion in 2011-12.
A report by FICCI on the “Indian retail: on the fast track” shows that various organized retailers are currently experimenting with different formats of retail trade. It is difficult to predict which format will have a winning edge over all others in view of the fact that the Indian market is yet to mature.
The different sorts of retail formats that retailers could adopt are mom-and-pop or kirana stores, specialty stores, department stores, discount stores, convenience stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, malls, category killers, e-tailers and vending machines.
Mom-And-Pop or Kirana Stores: is a retail outlet that is owned and operated by individuals. The range of products are very selective and few in numbers. These stores are seen in local community often are family-run businesses. The square feet area of the store depends on the store holder.
Specialty Stores: A typical specialty store gives attention to a particular category and provides high level of service to the customers. A pet store that specializes in selling dog food would be regarded as a specialty store. However, branded stores also come under this format. For example if a customer visits a Reebok or Gap store then they find just Reebok and Gap products in the respective stores.
Department Stores: often bear a resemblance to a collection of specialty stores. A retailer of such store carries variety of categories and has broad assortment at average price. They offer considerable customer service. For example: Food World in Bangalore.
Discount Stores: offers extensive assortment of merchandise at affordable and cut-rate prices. Normally retailers sell less fashion-oriented brands. However the service is inadequate.
Convenience Stores: is essentially found in residential areas. They provide limited amount of merchandise at more than average prices with a speedy checkout. This store is ideal for emergency and immediate purchases.
Hypermarkets: provides variety and huge volumes of exclusive merchandise at low margins. The operating cost is comparatively less than other retail formats. A classic example is the Metro? in Bangalore.
Supermarkets: is a self service store consisting mainly of grocery and limited products on non food items. They may adopt a Hi-Lo or an EDLP strategy for pricing. The supermarkets can be anywhere between 20,000-40,000 square feet. Example: SPAR? supermarket.
Malls: has a range of retail shops at a single outlet. They endow with products, food and entertainment under a roof. Example: Sigma mall and Garuda mall in Bangalore.
Category Killers or Category Specialist: By supplying wide assortment in a single category for lower prices a retailer can “kill” that category for other retailers. For few categories, such as electronics, the products are displayed at the center of the store and sales person will be available to address customer queries and give suggestions when required. Other retail format stores are forced to reduce the prices if a category specialist retail store is present in the vicinity. For example: Pai Electronics? store in Bangalore.
E-tailers: The customer can shop and order through internet and the merchandise are dropped at the customer’s doorstep. Here the retailers use drop shipping technique. They accept the payment for the product but the customer receives the product directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler. This format is ideal for customers who do not want to travel to retail stores and are interested in home shopping. However it is important for the customer to be wary about defective products and non secure credit card transaction. Example: Amazon and Ebay.
Vending Machines: This is an automated piece of equipment wherein customers can drop in the money in machine and acquire the products. This kind of system is currently not widely used in India. For example: Soft drinks vending at Bangalore Airport.
Retailers can opt for a format as each provides different retail mix to its customers based on their customer demographics, lifestyle and purchase behavior. A good format will lend a hand to display products well and entice the target customers to spawn sales.