Archive for November, 2011

Remember the times when we used to clutch the hands of our parents and go from one shop to another for grocery shopping? It used to be a trip to wonderland where there were buildings of our favorite drinks, beds of enticing chocolates and candies and mountains of colorful and attractive products. The only challenge in our mind was to somehow get our parents into buying those temptations for us, by hook or crook. Today, as we prepare to become managers, the tables seemed to have turned… Literally… as we now have to think from the other side of the counter. Buyers are still the same, but we now have to think as retailers rather than initiators. Though growing up sucks sometimes, but retail management is quite a kick for marketing enthusiasts because it is the ultimate touch point, the place where our products face the customer’s discretion.

Retail refers to the first-hand transaction with a customer, and retailing is the process of providing goods and services to the customer at a competitive yet affordable price. We all feel the impact of retail strategies of various stores and chains implicitly. We might not talk about it out loud but we repeatedly go to the store which provides us the best shopping experience, even though we might not be able to tell how. But now when we study marketing, these small nuances that affect a customer’s decision stand out, magnified.

The type of retail stores around us can be classified as:

Departmental Stores: They provide a huge range of products from different brands and different categories. They are usually smaller than the mass merchandisers.

Specialty Stores: They carry a specific range of merchandize and might provide a very high level of expertise and service. They differ from Departmental stores as the specialty stores specialize in one area, for example, a Nokia Mobile proprietary store.

Discount/Mass Merchandisers: Large retail store that provides a gamut of merchandise organized into categories such as accessories, appliances, clothing, furniture, stationery, and shoes etc.

Warehouse/Wholesale clubs: outlets from where customers buy wholesale quantity of products that the store offers. They provide a good bargain to customers as compared to other retail stores.

Factory Outlet: Here the manufacturers directly sell to the customers.

Factors that influence Retailing decisions

These stores require proper management in order to hit the right nerve of the customer. Say if on an average, a customer spends 27 minutes in a grocery store on a weekday and the 72 minutes on a weekend, using that time to convince her to buy your product is a challenge. Thus, retailing decisions depend upon varied factors that influence the customer decision (Refer to the figure).

 So many aspects and all we cared about till now was stepping in, picking our stuff and rushing out! It’s time to open our minds to the inside story guys.

Watch out for more to come here…