There are several platforms available for a customer to buy groceries or their daily need items, yet the specialised departmental stores do good business through their innovative and ever-changing strategies for luring customers.
The need for convenience shopping is trending. People are now using their mobile devices to do online shopping ranging from apparels to vegetables and get it delivered at doorsteps thus avoiding parking hassles and saving on fuel along with saving quality time for the family or simply relax at home after office hours.
However, most of the specialised departmental store operators are not flustered with online shopping or the Mom and Pop shops. In fact, few of them welcome it as it has complimented their business.
Kirit Maganlal, partner, Magsons, is of the opinion that many of the e-commerce platforms who were in groceries are not doing as well as they did initially. “E-commerce or even Mom and Pop shops would not really make any dent on the business of the departmental store. Each one operates in their own scale and we have great footfalls. Touch and feel and freshness are the key areas where the departmental stores have an edge. The brick and mortar business will never be affected as we gain both in loyalty and novelty factor but the Mom and Pop shop thrive on loyalty factor and the e-commerce thrive on time and technology factor,” added Mr Maganlal.
The trend is that the novelty factor drives the footfalls into a departmental store. Groceries and departmental shops, especially in malls, are doing well as compared to the apparel or electronics stores. Also, for monthly purchases people are now visiting departmental stores with their eyes on the ‘expiry date’ label.
Big Bazaar, the latest entrant in Goa departmental store space, came up in March 2016. In just a matter of two years the footfalls they have is the highest. Merri Kiran Kumar the store manager said that the business strategy for them is very simple as they have divided the customer segments into two. They call it ‘India 1’, which is 10% of the population and are in a very high income bracket. Big Bazaar concentrates and serves the ‘India 2’, which is in the bracket of middle and lower middle class.
“Big Bazaar is a value format and caters to India 2 type of customers. We have all the products, including groceries. Our assortment has the regional and local connect and Goans love it as they get what they want. We have also categorised our products on the shelves. Home and personal care has all the brands which is available in India. Staples will have all the variants of rice.
In F&B we keep our fruits and vegetables fresh. We also offer attractive ‘Wednesday Bazaar’ which has gives our customers fabulous offers. Apart from that we encourage loyalty by have a concept of ‘Future Pay’, which is totally customised for our customers,” said Mr Kumar.
Anil Pereira, director, Delfinos, is of the view that the more e-commerce grows, the market grows and it compliments their business. “Our price tags are as good as e-commerce. We have footfalls mainly for groceries and vegetables as we keep it fresh and we emphasise on local produce. Even Mom and Pop shops provide that but we provide convenience.
Our model is totally different and we have 200 square feet of cold room area which keeps our meat products and vegetables fresh. We are a local global store and we call it ‘Glocal’. It is a local store with a global touch. We even keep earthenware and bio-degradable plates which may not give us much money but it is available for those interested in it,” said Mr Pereira.
Borkars Super Store has 11 outlets in Goa and they too are doing very well in terms of footfalls. Vinay Borkar, director at Borkars Super Store said, “We have tried to reach closer to our customers by branching out. However, till now we have not tried to venture into North Goa. We increase our sales by expanding our network of stores. Earlier people used to go to a Mom and Pop shops not only to buy things, but also talk and debate over an issue. Now-a-days the customer and store owners hardly know each other. There is no loyalty,” said Mr Borkar. [H]