Home is where the heart is, heart is where the retail should be

Few days back whenever I used to visit any store t would witness a great feeling, a feeling of excitement, a feeling of happiness. The whole city was decorated. Be it the local traditional market, a hyper store or a normal mom and pop store. Each one was decked up, geared up for the upcoming sales to serve their customers better. They all were geared up for the Diwali sales. A festival which unites India, a festival which whole of India celebrates.

Every place I visited be it the clothing store, food store or the general store had products specific to the festival. Some sold the festive specific attire, some the food items required for the Diwali preparation, the gifting items while others sold the diyas (lamps lit during Diwali- the festival of lights) and crackers and so on and so forth. Retail today gives the first indication of the upcoming festival. Be it the Diwali, ugadi, Christmas or ramzan.

Thanks to retail that people actually do not feel being faraway from home. Today we get all the traditional Diwali items required for the Diwali Faral (Chiwda, chakklis, karanjis, Shakkar pale) etc. infact gifting is big during Diwali that there are varieties of gift option at the retail stores from the sweet boxes to the dry fruits to chocolates to expensive crockery etc. all that we need to decide is the budget and the people. The rest retail takes care, such is the power of retail. Infact in India the chocolate companies have their highest sales during Diwali and not during Christmas or new year or even during Valentine day.

Even in the diyas which is yet another big selling product during Diwali comes with various options from eco-friendly to the traditional to the modern electric one in all shapes, sizes and colours. Each of us enjoy buying a few every time for the sheer beauty the little diyas are, the happiness they create around when lit. The whole festive atmosphere is spread when these beautiful diyas are lit.

Today in this competitive world of retail it’s important for the retailer to capture the heart and mind of the customers. The retailer needs to emotionally connect with the customers. Hence providing the festive connect, regional connect does the trick. These products are difficult to source due to limited options in the branded category and limited shelf life but they hold a very important place in the customers heart.

Remember a project done a few years ago. We had built a huge assortment of regional products catering to different communities across products categories e.g. in rice, oil, namkeens, sweets, papads, ready mixes, spices, flours, etc. We consistently worked on this irrespective of the difficulty in availability. We did an experiment in one of the cosmopolitan store. The catchment had people across communities staying there. The mere availability of their products led to high customer walk ins and purchases, the store which had been degrowing consistently started growing and slowly the store turned around and was profitable. The store which was about to be closed down as being loss making suddenly became profitable on the mere plank of having the regional connect with the communities staying around. That is power of connecting to the customer’s heart.

Recently a retailer has introduced a home brand which specializes in regional flours. E.g singhada atta, rajgira atta, ragi atta etc. There is a huge market for the retailer. As these products are a basic necessity yet dominated by the unorganized sector. This is definitely a winning shot for the retailer in the days to come.

Any such interesting observation?

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