Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Needed: Smart Retailing

RETAILING will be the next big employment sector in the marketing industry of Pakistan, or the world over. There are lost efficiencies and profits in this sector, and in industries which could use retailing as an option. It's a loss both ways.

  1. For instance, the retailers need to optimize stores for space and display; i.e. have better merchandising. "Experiential marketing" and merchandising are untapped areas. Without any significant investment the retailers can enhance the shopping experience, and ultimately the sales volume, with merchandising and display that attracts maximum shopper dollars. The methods for this are known, but not applied. Meanwhile, utilizing new theories such as experiential marketing that plays on the senses of touch, sound, smell, taste, and vision will help transform dull and ordinary stores in to ones that customers love! (And this is why I harp on "3 for a great marketer/ brand manager.")
  2. Second, there need to be economies in purchasing (and distribution, but that merits a separate discussion). I once heard about an IT based solution to the same, can anyone point us there again? To be exact, re-ordering, bulk purchasing, and bundling can use some economic sense. AND AN E-SOLUTION. One "industry" which can definitely need this is the meat & groceries industry. Perhaps there is no better application of retailing than in sabzi mandis (vegetable & fruit markets) and meat markets and shops.
  3. We need more NICHE stores. And hyper marts. But niche stores more than anything else.
  4. AND we need solutions for shop (front) display. And catalog marketing. And store management. And store context plan!
  5. And we need extensive research - available on an industry level, not just to certain companies - about consumer shopping behavior, sales patterns, display preferences, color and ambience preferences, etc. I come back to human behavior: how many stores are particular about the music they’re playing? Or NOT playing? And how well does it go with their merchandise?
  6. The typical Pakistani store still has slow- or no-moving stock staling right in front of shoppers' eyes. What that says about the attitude of the sellers and a lack of any retailing suavity is obvious. To get rid of this trash should be the first thing-to-do for most retailers.

Even Wharton is paying attention. The Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative at Wharton School of Business brings together "world class researchers, educators, students, and the global leaders of today’s retail industry."

Do you agree that retailing is neglected and has a major potential for growth? Do you disagree? Comment below, or drop a note at

No comments: