Festive Fervor Catches on! – Part 6

Society Stores Festive Showcase!

Overall Outlook

Cover-Story21“The atmosphere is lively and energetic. Consumers during the festive season do not hesitate much to spend on buying new products, be it upholstery for their homes, chocolates and mithai for friends and relatives or simply splurging for themselves. The industry will see a significant increase in sales and profitability during this season. And for that to happen, one must plan in advance! This is the right time to start preparing for consumer demands during the festive season. A retailer, who is well prepared, can make the maximum use of this season.” Shares Laxmichand Gada, Proprietor, Society Stores

VM Checklist @ Society Stores

  • Do we have enough space to showcase both luxury and premium gift products?
  • If no, how can we make shelf space for them?
  • Have we managed to reduce the slow moving SKUs?
  • Are we successful in creating a warm, festive environment for a pleasant shopping experience?
  • What else can we do to make the store more visually appealing?

 Society’s Strategy

“The concept of gifting during such seasons is evolving. A few years back, consumers demanded the same brands over and over again. If you suggest them to try something new, a very small percentage would actually take your advice. But now, they want change. They are open to experimentation. They want something that is new and extraordinary, something that adds value to their lifestyle and they want it now. From a gifting point of view, they want to give their friends and relatives, quality and luxury products that they might not have tried or even heard of. Therefore, we are looking forward to woo the consumers with a wide range of luxury products like chocolates, cookies, sweets, cosmetics and many more.  Moreover, since the number of footfalls increase during the festivals, we are also looking into different queue-busting techniques. Customer service and customer satisfaction is extremely important in this industry. You have to put yourself in your customer’s shoe and keep improvising your tactics and theory.” Highlights Laxmichand.

Marketing Highlights

  • 30% increase in sales expected this festive season
  • Past two years Society Stores has experienced a consistent growth ranging from 20-30%
  • 25-30% increase in customer footfalls is predicted
Challenges

  • Stock out – despite being overstocked, have a fair probability of running out.

Marketing Plans

Highlighting the key marketing initiatives Society Stores is planning to undertake Laxmichand Gada, Proprietor, Society Stores says, “Making the customers aware of what you have in store for them is extremely crucial. That’s where marketing plays an important role. We have come up with a system, where in customers register their mobile numbers or email IDs with us. Then, we let them know about promotions on different product categories and what’s new in the store via SMS or emails. We also offer special promotions to our loyal customers during the festive season. Online directories where customers can rate a retail outlet and share their shopping experience are also mediums to promote retail stores. No marketing strategy is as effective as customer recommendation!”

Buying & merchandising Checklist @ Society Stores

  • Since every square inch in the retail industry matters, we ask ourselves: Do we have enough space to showcase all the products such that they appear visually appealing?
  • Where can we strategically place the gift counter such that the consumers do not face any sort of inconvenience?
  • How can we offer more variety in packaging or wrapping gift hampers? (This year we are also looking at using decorative baskets of various designs to make hampers look even more appealing).

Visual Merchandising

  • VM initiatives planned for this season:
  • A gift counter where one can easily purchase gift items and get customized gift hampers too. A space where customers can design their own gift basket.
  • Key elements of the festival are highlighted using traditional decorations like ‘diyas’, lanterns and small ‘rangoli’ designs.

“Other than product placement, one of the important aspects we focus on during this season is to try and create a lively and festive atmosphere. Everyone in the store, including the staff is in a jolly mood.” Highlights Laxmichand.

Operations Checklist @ Society Stores

  • Have we maintained enough stock for the festive season, after comparing with last year’s inventory?
  • What steps are to be taken if we run out of particular products?
  • How to train our staff so that they can provide better services to the consumers?
  • Overall, how to make all the processes, from procurement to customer deliver more and more efficient?

Operations

“There is just one major difference between operations planning on a normal day and a festive season. We start preparing well in advance for festive seasons as big as Diwali. To meet consumer demands, we purchase in bulk, which leads to squeezed purchase. The next step is to stock the purchased goods effectively such that the process of positioning the products on the aisles from the storage area becomes efficient.” Shares Laxmichand.

 While things are planned well in advance the challenges are inevitable shedding light on them, Laxmichand says, “One of the biggest challenges faced by every supermarket, hypermarket, convenience stores and departmental stores is pilferage and shop lifting. Apart from having a vigilant staff, this can be significantly reduced by installing a CCTV system and monitoring it regularly. Moreover, we also have a remote monitoring system in place.”

 Buying & Merchandising

“Along with the regular staples, the sale of gift articles increases. These gift items mainly include chocolates, superior quality dry fruits, exotic fruit baskets, organic gift hampers and many more. And the sale of these segments is predicted to go up by around 25 percent during this season. Gone are the days when choices for gifting were limited to a few brands. Consumers now need change.” Shares Laxmichand.

 How do you manage shortfalls & excess?

“Consumer demands during Diwali are very uncertain. For example, one cannot predict whether a customer will order for 50 boxes of chocolates or 100. Therefore, there is a possibility of running out of some products. If that happens, we immediately let our suppliers know and make sure that the customer gets the delivery by the end of the day. Similarly, there are chances that we are left with the excess of certain categories after the season ends. In that case, we hold on to it as Christmas is just around the corner. However, while purchasing for Diwali, we always make sure that the expiry dates on food items are long enough for the products last even after Christmas.” Laxmichand elucidates.

Operations Checklist @ Society Stores

  • Have we maintained enough stock for the festive season, after comparing with last year’s inventory?
  • What steps are to be taken if we run out of particular products?
  • How to train our staff so that they can provide better services to the consumers?
  • Overall, how to make all the processes, from procurement to customer deliver more and more efficient?

Operations

“There is just one major difference between operations planning on a normal day and a festive season. We start preparing well in advance for festive seasons as big as Diwali. To meet consumer demands, we purchase in bulk, which leads to squeezed purchase. The next step is to stock the purchased goods effectively such that the process of positioning the products on the aisles from the storage area becomes efficient.” Shares Laxmichand.

While things are planned well in advance the challenges are inevitable shedding light on them, Laxmichand says, “One of the biggest challenges faced by every supermarket, hypermarket, convenience stores and departmental stores is pilferage and shop lifting. Apart from having a vigilant staff, this can be significantly reduced by installing a CCTV system and monitoring it regularly. Moreover, we also have a remote monitoring system in place.”

 Buying & Merchandising

“Along with the regular staples, the sale of gift articles increases. These gift items mainly include chocolates, superior quality dry fruits, exotic fruit baskets, organic gift hampers and many more. And the sale of these segments is predicted to go up by around 25 percent during this season. Gone are the days when choices for gifting were limited to a few brands. Consumers now need change.” Shares Laxmichand.

 How do you manage shortfalls & excess?

“Consumer demands during Diwali are very uncertain. For example, one cannot predict whether a customer will order for 50 boxes of chocolates or 100. Therefore, there is a possibility of running out of some products. If that happens, we immediately let our suppliers know and make sure that the customer gets the delivery by the end of the day. Similarly, there are chances that we are left with the excess of certain categories after the season ends. In that case, we hold on to it as Christmas is just around the corner. However, while purchasing for Diwali, we always make sure that the expiry dates on food items are long enough for the products last even after Christmas.” Laxmichand elucidates.

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Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.