Thursday, March 27, 2008

Retail is all about detail !!!

“Retail is all about detail”. This statement came to life when Mr. Ashoke Bhaskaran, Vice-president (Hyper), Reliance Retail addressed the students of retail varsity at CBS. Retail is not only about the glitz and glamour that one experiences at a mall but the sheer hard work that makes the experience glamorous. According to him, it’s as simple, as “clean, Stack and Serve” but becomes complex as it deals with the most delicate of the entities, human mind! Product, suppliers and customers are three most critical drivers of any retailer’s success, and customer perceptions of the store can break or make the retail destiny.

Every Retail activity stands strong on four important pillars, namely Merchandising, Store Operations, IT and Supply chain/ logistics. Support functions such as commercial, HR and marketing keep the pillars strong rooted to the base objectives – margins and customer satisfaction. Among the pillars, store operations assume prima face importance as it serves as the pre ultimate point of contact between the retailer and the customer. The entire success plan can go to shackles, if “The Ops guy” fails to execute, even if other support functions paved the way for the same. At the end of the day, making the customer visit the store frequently will do the trick, and operations can play a great role in ensuring the same

Any activity will ultimately depend upon the results it yields, so does retail. Though sales and turnover can be adjudged as safe indicators of success, it can only throw light on the traction of the products, and not the effect in real monetary terms. According to him, the retailer should consider the residual profit value in rupee terms after considering all the expenses incurred in the process.

He stressed on Service as a major differentiator. According to him, Human resource plays a major role in bringing all the pillars together to attain the ultimate objective of retail as price, quality, range, ambience, location advantage and other value added services can be easily replicated by other retailers but it’s the human touch and service that will serve as the thin line of difference and the final frontier for success. From the customer’s point of view, this sets the service level expectations which need to be fulfilled to sustain in this simply complex journey of retail.

By Ramya, Retail Varsity,CBS

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