Retail and the spirit of entrepreneurship


Just the other day received a call from a cousin. A friend of his wanted to know the process of supplying products to a retailer. Considering my experience in retail he wanted me to help his friend. He specializes in various namkeen, chikkis , sweets, papad and other ready to eat products, all home made. He specializes in products which are region specific and festive specific also. Currently he caters to a big market of unorganized retail (the local Kirana store) and Business to Business (B2B) clients (hotels, caterers)The entire business model of his was based on pricing and quality with no brand recall or brand loyalty and no consistency in orders

By entering into an organized retail he wanted to build a brand. A brand, which would be placed along with other national and international brands. A brand which the customer picks on his own and not by a kiranawallah’s push. Speaking to him made me realize the potential of modern retail. A self made man he was ambitious and was willing to work hard to reach the goal but wanted a platform which modern retail could provide him.

As the quality of his products was excellent (no compromise on this aspect), he had the potential to supply large quantities. Checked on the documents required (the food license, the Vat registration, Pan Copy, Bank account), the packing of the product, his specialties, mode of transport to supply etc. discussed with him on each aspect. Discussed with him on the priorities, the process to get the required documents, work on the packaging (should be eye catching, with the legal norm fulfilled and able to manage the retail store pressure of being thrown around by customers.)The key item which he specializes and will provide the retailer an edge in terms of the local kirana store (e.g karjikais, a modaks, bhakarwadis, malpuas of the world) and in which there is no /minimum competition. He also needs to make a calendar of the festival and occasion and the products purchased during this period. He needs to get the pricing factor right. The cost incurred on the materials, labour cost, the transportation cost, packing cost, other overhead cost, expiries and damages taxes and the profit expected and the benchmark Selling price. This will help in indicating the margin offered to the retailer. Later he can also work on getting the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)(in layman terms Printed bar code on the product which is unique) .This will help him supply the products across retailers without having to stick the barcode provided by different retailers and thereby help in business expansion. Once all the ground work is ready he needs to approach the retailer to place the products at her/his outlet .Then there be rounds of negotiations (the margins, other allocations, various fees). Then the deal gets closed on a win-win situation for both.

Last heard all the formalities completed and he will start supplies shortly. Here is wishing him luck in his new endeavor.

Personally know of a small time vendor who used to sell his condiments in a bicycle everyday .He managed to get an entry into a big retail outlet which had just started and was on an expansion mode. With determination, grit and support of his family members he was able to grow his business rapidly and directly in proportion to the retailer’s expansion. Based on reputation of his brand availability with a particular retailer, other retailers approached him. Thus his business further expanded. Today the turnover runs in millions but the man has remained as humble as before and as hard working as before if not more. He has more than 50 employees mostly women from under privileged background working with him, thus providing them livelihood. His is a story which dreams are made of. A truly rags to riches store which was possible only due to the advent of modern retail.

Know of any such rags to riches store based on a retail platform? Know of any product (region specific, festive special or a manufacturer’s specialty) which a retailer needs to introduce and be available across?


Please share with me




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