5 things that the Organized retailers can learn from Kirana and vice-versa

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It's a world of cut throat competition and more of often than not it results in a very narrow view of the world for most of the companies. As the objective is focused on beating the competitors, benchmarking studies starts replacing consumer studies. The situation worsen if your view of competition is limited to only company X or Y. 

Talking about retail, why can't the retail biggies learn something from the Kirana format? In fact the stores that have learnt a few things(like Big Bazaar) are a lot more successful than the copy-paste versions of western formats.

Here are my views on this:

Things that Modern format stores need to learn from kirana stores:

1.       Give me what I want (I am not a tourist): I believe that you understand that a normal household uses no more than 20 product categories on a regular basis. What is the harm in putting them close to the entrance and make my life easier. I promise that I’ll see your entire store at a suitable time. But don’t make me traverse the length, width and altitude of your store if all I wanted was bread, milk, Atta, Biscuits and tooth paste.

2.       Give me what I want (I am not here to search for my products hidden behind your products): OK, it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that you push your own brands compared to the national brands because you make more money over there. You have full right to promote them, but I, as a consumer have a right to differ. I don’t know when your greed will lead to another brand being banned out. Why will I pick up your MandyBurry when all that I wanted was my old trusted Cadbury? 

3.       Help! Anyone? : I would like to interact with humans with common sense, not those incapable robots. Suppose I ask a simple question like “I don’t want this 3+1, can I take a single piece out of it? I’ll pay full price for it.” Now while the Kirana person will take a decision on the spot, in your store, to solve the same issue, they’ll need nothing less than a brainstorming discussion that will put even the Copenhagen climate conference to shame. The person you are talking to is likely to show 2 contrasting behaviors,

           i.   He will give you a dumb folded look, as if you are discussing Laplace transformation with a class 2 student. He will either continue to stare you in sheer amazement till you ignore him or will himself ignore you after a while.

           ii.  He will think for a while.. then he’ll ask you to wait, then he’ll go Mr A, who in turn will go to Mr B.. then both of them will discuss this great issue. Then one of them will come to you, will see the pack, again discussions… and if you have any better way to spend your time in this world, you’ll move on.

Sadly none of these 2 types will help you. Why can’t the system trust its employees and their judgment a bit more?

4.       Crunch that waiting time: My purchase took me 30 minutes, btw 20 of which were spent at the check-out counter: More counters? Flexi counters? Self billing? Express counters for limited items? Billing counters at department levels? Any other solution (like Auto billing)?

5.       Come next door: You know the traffic situation here. I’ll appreciate your 3000 sq ft store near my place a lot more than the much advertised, famed and jazzier one that boasts of 3 lakh sq ft but requires 2 hours of my travel time and that also through some of the busiest parts of this busy City. 

Things that a Kirana store can learn from modern retail:

1.       Professionalism, Heard of it?  - Open, Close on time and always be there or at least have someone else to be present there all the time. Numerous times I have to scream Dada, Deedi, Chettan, Chechi, Hello, Anna, Uncle koi hai? , Aunty, Anyone there? Hello! $$@##. OK.. 90% of your sales come from 3 hours of evening prime time, but same is the case for all the Superstores. They don’t shut their shop. And then when eventually you come, half of the time you show up in your big blue vertical stripes kachcha and an even more appalling yet contrasting princely attitude of yours.

2.       Lemme see something: As a customer I love the touch-feel experience (products obviously) that I get before selecting the brand in a modern outlet. I understand that I can’t get that in a Kirana store but at least provide a less cluttered view of the store. I don’t buy that too many products and too little space argument as most of it is mismanagement than anything else. Please, look at your shop from my eyes. What do I find there, Bhola pickle sachets covering those shampoo sachets,  I can’t see if you have the product that I am looking(and you’re busy as always)  and dammit! Harpick n Ketup bottles in the same shelf? n btw why does your pet dog barks at me always?

3.       Stock check becomes my headache: To ensure that what you sell is in good shape is your responsibility. Now in your case, I’ll have to check for code dates/expiry, physical damage, leakages and all by myself.

4.       Fight with your Supplier, for me: You might be having strained relations with your suppliers over the credit issues or margins, all of which relates to your profit.

For a change, fight for me.  All of your suppliers give disproportionate time, inputs, promos to those fancy new stores, while 90% of their sales come from stores like yours. Ask them to give you the newly launched products (that are usually available only in bigger stores for initial 3-4 months of their launch), ask them to give you all the hot selling variants (While they’ll tell you about stock issues, I bet I’ll find the same in a big format outlet), ask them for consumer sales promos, go ahead and ask them for earth, but for me : )

5.       I expect readers to add further through comments : )


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