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Scope of Online Clothing Store

Posted by retailigence on February 18, 2012

The basic need of human being is clothing. According to archaeologists and anthropologists, earliest clothing most likely included grass or leaves tied around the body. With the passage of time, clothing performed a range of cultural and social functions. It also functions as a form of adornment and an expression of personal taste, style and social status. However, the main function of clothing is to increase the comfort of the wearer.

Jockey Basic UndershirtAnother fundamental question is what is the need to wear underwear? The shape of the underwear largely determines how we look and what will look good on us. In addition to this, the body continuously keeps shedding skin cells. So it helps in keeping the clothes fresher and cleaner. Innovations in style and technology have made boxers, briefs and undershirts that were an afterthought into a buzz word category of men’s clothes.

The young people are more into online shopping. . All big clothing companies now come up with standard sizes and customers know the size of clothing which would fit them. The older generation had an inherent need to buy clothes only after feeling them. This is not the same with the present generation. So it makes better sense to have online clothing. In addition to this, a lot more options are available when shopping for clothes is done online. The customer gets a lot of information on the variety, pricing and quality of clothing which is available. The online transactions nowadays are more secure.

E-commerce these days is the buzz word in business. Nowadays, a lot of people prefer to visit the website of the company before actually visiting the store. In certain cases, the online store has successfully replaced the need to physically visit the store. Additionally, clothes and fashion accessories make up a substantial portion of all the gifts while are sent and received worldwide, and it naturally makes sense to have your presence online so that you can reach out to a larger market. The cost of having an online clothing store is considerably less and you also get to save on warehousing costs. This translates into lower prices and lower prices mean larger volumes. Larger volumes translate into a larger market share. Having an online clothing store means that your store is open at all hours so the customer can shop as per his convenience. This emphasizes on user friendliness.

The scope of online clothing stores just got wider. More men shop online for purchases and this is a segment which needs to be tapped. Online shopping is possible right from razors to underwear. With a larger portion of the population having access to the internet this gives an impetus to have online clothing store. All you need to decide is the kind of clothing that you will promote and optimize the site so that it shows up most frequently when someone searches under the given category of items

All in all, the circumstances of today encourage having an online clothing store. There is a vast market whose clothing needs haves to be addressed. Having an online clothing store is perhaps the most convenient way of reaching out to the target customers.

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Online Retail Trends

Posted by retailigence on February 11, 2012

The increase in the number online shoppers has taken the industry analysts by surprise. Traditionally online shopping was done more for travelling, but with the passage of time, the scope of online has considerably widened. Nowadays, be it music to electronic products, perfumes to razors, undergarments to suits, a provision is there to shop for all these products online.

The benefits of online shopping far outweigh the cons. The main advantage has been that with the passage of time, online transactions have become more secure. Online shopping sites have done extensive sales promotion activity which has resulted in an overall increase in shoppers. One can find product like underwear, lens, hukka etc etc on internet very easily. The websites are highly interactive and user friendly such that now it is much easier working through a website rather than negotiating with the salesman. One added advantage of online shopping is that you do not need to find any parking space for your car in the virtual world.

One thing which is of vital importance is that the concept of online retailing is fast catching up in rural India. It should not be forgotten that nearly 65% of the Indian population resides in villages. Another thing is that people who are into online shopping are highly brand conscious. And as the phenomenon of online retailing is growing, more and more companies are looking to hire which translates into more employment opportunities. Across border buying is on the rise in recent times. The unmarried person is always more keen to experiment with technology and in India the marriage age is continuously getting delayed. These two facts taken together encourage the online shopping trends. This is one main reason why hordes of online shopping sites which have come up recently. The Indians love discounts and keeping this in mind some sites have started offering collective decision making and collective buying, which results in bigger discounts for customers. Companies need to spend heavily on infrastructure to keep pace with the changing trends. As the industry is still on its growth trajectory, large scale consolidations are still not on the horizon.

In a world where it is generally believed that women are more involved in shopping than men, it is surprising to note that more number of men are hooked to online shopping than females. And treating this to be of vital importance various websites like Menzkart.com have come up which addresses primarily the needs of men. Keeping the online shopping trends in mind, every major company, be it Jockey, Calvin Klein or Gillette is trying its best to make its online presence felt.

There are two very interesting facts which need to be mentioned here:

1. Nearly half of the online users depend heavily on social networking sites to make their online purchase decision and

2. A portion of the users spend nearly 1/10th of the monthly income on making an online purchase every month.

With the advent of broadband connections and internet penetration the number of users has increased geometrically and this will create an opportunity to have big user base and they will make online retailing a big market. This sector will experience a big boom in coming years and it has been predicted that online retail business will be the biggest threat to traditional retail other than FDI.

E-tailers or online retailers in turn have two major advantages when we talk of online shopping:

1. It helps in mass customization and

2. It helps in niche marketing.

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Future Prospects of E-Commerce in India

Posted by retailigence on February 10, 2012

The real challenge to an average retailer in India is not from FDI, but from E-Commerce sites like flipkart.com, snapdeal.com, eazybuy.com, menzkart.com. The various growth drivers for e-commerce in India are busy lifestyles, increasing disposable income, lower prices available at online stores as they save on distribution and elimination of set up costs of physical entities. This in itself is sufficient to provide a push for online shopping. Another main factor encouraging e-commerce is that the people are now comfortable using credit cards on the internet. And mobile has truly come out to have multi functional benefits. It is now very easy to use mobile phone for activities other than casual talks and message forwarding. Electronic flow of information has increased manifold.

A few points which speak in favor of e-commerce are:

1. Marketing is very important and it is generally believed that online people are easier to target. The savings in marketing costs can be passed on and prices can be reduced.

2. Now it is actually possible to get a product at less than what the manufacturer is selling it for.

3. FDI will help improving the efficiency in supply chain.

4. FDI will also help in boosting the confidence levels of the customers in which foreign players will play an important role.

5. The industry is still in the growth phase so profit margins are still likely to be high. The B2C e commerce is likely to be the main engine driving growth in the immediate future.

6. Spontaneous activity has reduced considerably and consumers now try to make better use of the time spent online.

7. Facebook has touched nearly 45 million in India and we are still not talking of the mobile phone users.

8. Websites are starting to come up in local languages which will help increase the penetration level.

Jockey Fashion Trunk Online shopping is still in the growing stages and has still touched only a few sectors like automobiles, stocks and shares, real estate, travel and tourism, gifts, hobbies, matrimony and employment. Even some websites sells products like men underwear, lens etc. The reason for the numbers not being as large as the businesses wish it to be is the lack of certain key elements in the existing business models. So there is a scope of improvement in this area.

             The main reasons responsible for this sudden growth of e-commerce in India are the emergence of blogs as a means for the information dissemination, bigger web presence of SMEs and corporate because of low marketing and infrastructural costs, a safe and secure business environment due to improved fraud prevention technologies, and most importantly the youth finds online transactions to be easier.

            There is  no doubt that the cost of running an e commerce  is still high but with a billion and counting population which is slowing being hooked up to the e-commerce the growth potential is too significant to be easily ignored. The existing users count more than the users who have recently joined. India can become industrialized and modernized if it can extensively apply IT to enhance productivity and international competitiveness, develop eCommerce and e-governance applications.

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Retailing v/s E-tailing

Posted by retailigence on February 8, 2012

Retailing is the function when any firm provides a product or service to the customer. Delete the ‘R’ from retailing and you get e-tailing. To an observer this might sound like a casual game, but the fact is, e-tailing is serious business. The retail model is widely understood and practiced around the globe. Many people assume that the e-tailing model is just an extension of the retailing model; however nothing could be farther from the truth.

The first major difference is that when we talk of retailing we also know that the competition is known and well defined. Any related business which is in proximity or within the driving distance would be the natural competitor. This is not the case with e-tailing because when a shopper goes in for online shopping, the online store is forced to compete not just at the national level, but sometimes even at the global level. The human to human contact is negligible in e-tailing.

When we talk of retailing, one important factor which comes into play is that the retailer generally has a long term relationship with the customer and the retailer is well aware of the needs and wants of the customer. He is also aware of the wallet size and which products are preferred by the customer. He is in a position to provide better service to the customer. This personal contact is lacking in case of e-tailing. But this shortcoming is gradually being addressed as now the e-tailers look to maintain vast amounts of data about their actual and potential customers. This is one reason that online shopping is gradually picking up in developing countries.

Technology is of paramount importance to the success of e-tailing. It is the lifeline for the success of any e-tailing business. Continuous upgrading of technology is also important. One can find products like underwear, shoes, lens, bags, cosmetics etc on  e-tailing plateforms

 It also needs to be considered that the e-tailing businesses have lesser gestation periods. Physical infrastructure is not required. Setup costs are considerably less and wider markets become accessible. This is unimaginable with retailers.

 Shoppers have more control over the shopping experience in case of e-tailing as compared to retailing. The Internet provides all related information at the doorstep of the customer. With e-tailing, the option of price control just goes out of the window.

 It is a well documented fact that the most of the costs attached to a product are added after the process of production is over. And a significant portion of these costs is the marketing, selling and warehousing costs. These costs are significantly less in case of e-tailing, which in turn translates into better pricing.

 The speed and convenience of interaction is much more in case of e-tailing. And this often results in better sales volumes for the e-tailers.

The majority of the Indian population today is young ,disposable income is higher as compared to previous generations, both the partners are often working, lifestyle is more hectic, leaving lesser time for visiting the retail store. As people are more tech savvy nowadays, e-tailing is a made to order solution to address these challenges. Nearly all products from briefs to razors, from Gillette to Jockey products are available when the consumer goes in for online shopping. E-tailing is a step into the future.

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Luxury brands still a tough sell in wealthier India

Posted by retailigence on January 12, 2009

Mumbai: On a recent evening at Mumbai’s luxury Taj Mahal Hotel, shoppers tried on sequined sandals and handmade moccasins at Joy Shoes, a family business that has sold out of its only shop for nearly 70 years.

Around the corner, a Moschino store with stylish displays of apparel and accessories off the Milan runways stood empty. Starting at 3,500 rupees ($70) for a pair of men’s shoes, Joy is not cheap. But the key to its enduring popularity, says Munna Javery, the third-generation owner, is knowing what customers want and maintaining relationships with them over the years.

These are just two of the already considerable challenges facing global luxury retailers in India. Despite its growing number of millionaires, India lags emerging market peers China and Brazil because of a lack of quality retail space, high import duties on luxury goods, a cap on ownership in local units, excessive red tape and piracy.

India had 123,000 millionaires in 2007 and showed the fastest pace of expansion, a Merrill Lynch/Capgemini report said, but that was the smallest number in the “BRIC” emerging markets quartet, with China already having more than triple that number of super-rich. BRIC comprises Brazil, China, India and Russia.

Luxury goods in India also make up the smallest proportion of the overall retail market, just 0.4 per cent, according to a Bain & Co report, compared to 2.7 per cent of China’s retail market.

“For luxury in India, the path is bumpy and long,” said Mohan Murjani, chairman of the Murjani Group which launched Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and Tommy Hilfiger globally, and partners such brands as Gucci, Calvin Klein and Jimmy Choo in India. “You need size, experience and patience for the long haul.”

Allowing global retailers access to India has long been a controversial topic because of concerns of job losses, and it was only in 2006 that foreign single-brand retailers were permitted to take up to 51 per cent in a local venture, opening the doors to brands such as Gucci, Versace, Chanel and Burberry.

But most brands have been forced to curtail their grand ambitions despite an economy that grew about 9 per cent in the last three years, with Louis Vuitton only having four shops to show for its five years in the country, compared to 25 in China, already the world’s No. 3 market for high-end goods.

“In any emerging market you can only target a very small part of the market for luxury,” said ClaudiaD’Arpizio, a partner with Bain & Co in Milan, who authored a recent report on luxury. “In India, in addition to that challenge is the regulatory framework and the undeveloped retail infrastructure,” she said.

STRONG TRADITION

Once the exclusive preserve of maharajas and business tycoons, luxury brands in India have found new customers in an increasingly wealthy middle-class, the growing ranks of working women and a youthful population that is not afraid to splurge. But challenges abound, such as high store rentals and taxes.

New Delhi’s small Khan Market, with its decrepit buildings, was recently ranked among the world’s most expensive retail real estate, where monthly rental is 1,200 rupees ($25) per square foot, higher than better equipped retail areas in Amsterdam and Stockholm.

The absence of quality locations has forced luxury brands to set up shop in top-end hotels, which is not ideal, said Murjani, who has just two Gucci stores in India, compared to 16 in China.

Add to that the high tariffs on imported goods, which can bump up prices by more than 25 per cent compared to Dubai or Singapore, and a long-abiding suspicion of foreign brands from a time when local importers sold overpriced, outdated products. For this, brands have only themselves to blame, Murjani said.

“Brands have to satisfy the consumer on the price point, the offering, the total experience — a small store in a corner of a hotel is not going to do the trick,” said Murjani, who last year opened India’s largest luxury space, a 3,400-sq ft Gucci store.

“Consumers will simply shop in Paris or Singapore,” he said, noting Indians still splashed out about $500 million on luxury brands abroad a year, nearly the same amount they spend at home.

The money goes mainly on watches, fragrances, sunglasses, leather goods and menswear, with Indian women still favouring traditional apparel and jewellery, despite the growing numbers of Bollywood stars who get decked out in Western designer wear. “India has a strong tradition in luxury apparel and jewellery so it should be easier to sell the concept,” D’Arpizio said.

“But the preference is for the intrinsic value of the jewellery rather than the brand, so a Cartier or a Tiffany’s will have a hard time cracking the market,” she said.

OWN CONCEPT

There is hope for luxury retailers, though.

India’s trade minister recently said he was “seriously considering” allowing foreign retailers to fully own their units in the country, a legislation analysts say is not so controversial as it does not threaten small mom-and-pop shops and traders.

There is pressure from the EU to cut taxes to meet WTO requirements, and high-end retail spaces are coming up in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi, including the Emporio Mall, the first all-luxury complex, with gold-plated ceilings and marble floors.

Over the long term, the rising incomes and expanding economies of emerging markets such as India will provide plenty of opportunity for luxury retailers, D’Arpizio said. India’s luxury market is likely to grow at an average annual rate of 25 per cent over the next five years, she said, trailing only China’s 30 per cent growth and Brazil’s 35 per cent.

But while India’s super-rich may seem better insulated from the financial crisis that has curbed the appetite for luxury goods elsewhere, they will be harder to entice. “India has her own concept of time for absorbing change,” said Neville Tuli, chairman of auction house Osian’s in Mumbai.

“It’s not enough to just throw a nice party and talk about the glamour of your brand. It can take 10 years, maybe more to build something, and most companies don’t want to wait 10 years.”

Sources :- The Financial Express

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Key players in the Indian Retail sector

Posted by retailigence on January 5, 2009

Who are the top retailers in India today?
Here’s a brief summary of the key players..

Pantaloon Retail (India) Pantaloon’s managing director Kishore Biyani believes in changing the rules. When Pantaloon started the Big Bazaar discount stores in 2002, malls were not part of the shopping culture. Big Bazaar became a hit, as it combined the look and feel of Indian bazaars with aspects of modern retail like choice, convenience and quality. Headquartered in Mumbai, the Rs 3,500-crore company now operates over 5 million sq ft across 40 cities.

Jockey POCO BriefShopper’s Stop A menswear store owned by K Raheja in the Mumbai suburb of Andheri in 1991 has now transformed into Shopper’s Stop, with 27 departmental stores. The company entered airport retailing in a joint venture with the Nuance Group. It also launched India’s largest hypermarket, Hypercity. In 2005, it bought the Crossword bookstore chain.

Lifestyle Growing from one store in Bahrain in 1973, the NRI-led Landmark Group today operates over 5 million sq ft in the Middle East and India. The group’s first Lifestyle store in India opened in Chennai in 1999. Now it has 325,000 sq ft in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon and Mumbai. Its first hypermarket, branded as ‘Max’, is expected to open soon.

Reliance Retail Mukesh Ambani’s 15,000-people Reliance Retail has opened 250 convenience stores, branded as ‘Fresh’, across the southern states. It is now planning to launch 30 such outlets in Mumbai. Reliance Retail plans to invest Rs 25,000 crore on hypermarkets, supermarkets and specialty stores in the next four years. The first hypermarket will be up in Ahmedabad by the end of July.

Aditya Birla Retail The company, which will operate under the brand ‘More’, has selected two formats – hypermarkets and supermarkets – for its initial foray. The first store has opened in Pune. Last January, the company acquired Trinethra Super Retail, which has given it more than 5,00,000 sq ft and a strong presence in the South. The Birlas’ outlay for the business over the next three years is Rs 9,000 crore.

Bharti Retail The world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart, which prefers to go it alone outside the US, chose Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises as its partner in India. The venture will start with the cash & carry (wholesale) format, which could be extended to retail operations once foreign direct investment is allowed in multi-brand retail, as is expected. The entity is yet to start operations as the formal agreement has not been inked.

Sources:- India Retail News

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The future of organized retail in India

Posted by retailigence on January 5, 2009

What is the future of organized Retail in India?

There is no magic answer to this question. However, one can make some educated guesses based on established best practices and how Indian conditions will modify or replace conventional wisdom. Let’s consider some of the factors that could affect the future of organized Retail in India.

Consumers – Who understands the Indian consumer the best will win in the end. What do we mean by the Indian consumer? Is it the teenager in Mumbai who commutes by local train, buys fashionable clothes from Linking Road and watches movies at the multiplex? Or is it the housewife who buys vegetables from the sabzi mandi and saves up money for chicken on Sundays. Or is it the fisherman out at sea who uses a cellphone to communicate his catch to the market on the shore? The Indian consumer is hard to pin down. As someone wisely said, the Indian consumer shifts loyalties with every 25 kilometers and with every 10 Rupees. The dimensions to deal with include class, education, language, caste and local customs in addition to the standard marketing dimensions used in the West.

Merchandising – Merchandising is what retailers do. This aspect has not received much media attention in India. However, this is often what differentiates a successful retailer from a flash in the pan retailer. Examples that come to mind include Zara, 7-Eleven and Walmart. Put simply, merchandising is the art-science of deciding what to sell where, at what price and when. The retailers that understand the Indian consumers and provide the right products at the right price will beat the competition.

Talent – This is already becoming a bottleneck for several Indian retailers. Experienced corporate professionals as well as fresh talent at the store level are hard to come by. The retailers that are able to retain their talent and provide them with growth opportunities could easily gain an upper hand in running a successful operation in India.

Real Estate – This is a huge concern in India where quality real estate has become too expensive for many retailers to run a successful operation in cities. This is especially true for mass merchandise/discount retailers who operate on razor-thin margins. The acquisition of cheap leases in prime areas could decide whether a retailer becomes profitable at all or not. Another strategy is to expand in smaller towns and villages where real estate is still affordable and purchasing power is not as bad as one might think.

Supply Chain – This often quoted but not-so-often understood term basically refers to the back-end operations of a retailer. This includes the entire network of suppliers, warehouses, distribution centers and logistics operations. Effectively getting products to the right place at the right time is a lot tougher than it sounds when there are thousands of items and hundreds of stores involved. The supply chain infrastructure needs to be built from the ground up in India. This could easily affect the balance sheet of any retailer planning to start operations in India.

Policy – Although most people agree that FDI in Retail is just a matter of time, what this means is that till FDI is allowed, we will see our domestic players like The Future Group and Reliance Retail leading the way. What will happen when FDI is eventually allowed is anyone’s guess. If the examples of Brazil or China are taken into account, we will see a lot of consolidation with a few (6-8) large players remaining and several smaller niche players. Retail is a highly localized business (local preferences, local talent), so there is no guarantee that a foreign player will do better than an Indian player, as evidenced by Walmart’s failures in Germany and Korea. Surely, there are interesting times ahead!

Sources :- Indian Retail News

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For retailers, naughty or nice holiday season?

Posted by retailigence on January 5, 2009

As bills start piling up in consumers’ mailboxes, retailers are tallying receipts from one of the most difficult holiday shopping seasons in years and planning ahead to an uncertain new year. Early indications point to a decline in overall sales in November and December, retailers’ busiest time. Many of the nation’s biggest retailers are expected to report December sales on Thursday.

“It was the worst Christmas I’ve seen in 16 years,” said Jeff Hamilton, owner of Hamilton’s Pro Shop, a golf shop on Jefferson Davis Highway in Colonial Heights.He was one of three merchants the newspaper tracked during the holiday season to see how their strategies to bring in sales worked. The other stores were Moss House in Powhatan County and Saxon Shoes in western Henrico County.

Hamilton’s approach was to trust that his core customers would power his holiday sales. He said his pricing was already lower than competitors’, so there was no need for discounts.Midway through the shopping season he adjusted his tactic and bought an ad. Purchases did not increase, Hamilton said. Until a surge in sales the week before Christmas, receipts had been down about 75 percent.In all, he expects sales to be down about 70 percent this holiday from the 2007 season.Hamilton said he’s not sure what to expect for this year.

“I own everything here — the building, the equipment — and I keep my costs down, so I know I’ll be OK for a while,” he said. “I’m just going to hang on as long as I can.”Hamilton’s sales decline is significantly higher than what experts and analysts predicted for the industry as a whole.

. . .

At least one major retail industry association is predicting this to have been the worst shopping season in nearly 40 years. Same-store sales for this past holiday season could be down at least 1 percent compared with 2007, the International Council of Shopping Centers estimated. Sales at stores open at least a year are considered the best indicator of a retailer’s performance because they compare the results of the same stores.

A 1 percent decline doesn’t sound excessive when weighed against major stock index declines of more than 30 percent last year, but it would mark the worst retail season since 1970. And it could be worse for some merchants. Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the shopping center group, predicted that large sectors of the retail industry will see double-digit drops. Holiday shopping makes up about 40 percent of retailers’ annual revenue, experts say.

The major reason for the drop in sales is that consumers are wary of spending money in the face of national economic hardships, analysts and experts say. Last week, the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since records began in 1967.

. . .

Entering the most recent holiday season, Saxon Shoes president Gary Weiner said he planned to increase advertising compared with the prior year. The day after Christmas, sales at the Short Pump Town Center store were up 25 percent compared with the same day last year, Weiner said. “We had no different savings. The same markdowns. The same everything” he said. Weiner said sales for the holiday season at his store should be close to 2007 levels, primarily on the strength of results from the final two weeks of December.

For the first three months of 2009, he expects sales to range from a 5 percent increase to a 10 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2007. Weiner believes President-elect Barack Obama will push for government stimulus checks in the spring that will get people shopping in April.

Saxon can survive the lean times because the company’s size allows it to be nimble, he said. “As a family-owned business, we’re able to watch over our overhead and then adjust our buying and expenses on the fly,” he said. Weiner did not say he planned to cut staff or employees’ work hours. “We have a large staff that has people who are able to take time off when business is slow and work more hours when we are busy,” he said. “They don’t need to work 30 hours.”

. . .

Rene Matthews, who bought a shop on U.S. 60 in Powhatan in June, said her first holiday season went well. Sales at Moss House, which carries household accessories to collectible Webkinz, were higher than she expected, by a single-digit percentage. She has not finalized sales figures. “It was definitely a surprise and it makes me feel better about the spring,” she said.

Despite advertising and holding open houses to lure customers, Matthews said keeping inexpensive items in the store was key, given this economy. “Customers have told me that they spent less this year, so I think that worked well for us,” she said. Because of that unexpected turn, she adjusted her ordering for 2009. “I am definitely not ordering anything frivolous or extravagant,” Matthews said. Instead she will stock merchandise that can be sold for between $7 and $40.

. . .

What will happen to the retail industry as a whole is less than clear. The same struggles that kept customers out of stores during the holidays are expected to continue this year. TNS Retail Forward, an Ohio-based retail think tank, predicts sales will grow 2 percent in 2009, down from the 10-year average of 5 percent growth. Through November last year, growth was 2.3 percent.

And even though the ink on the register receipts isn’t dry yet, analysts are saying retailers could begin closing stores as soon as this month, with some heading to bankruptcy court. “The overall economic outlook remains quite dismal for the first half of 2009, and only a modest recovery is expected in the second half,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

Sources :-Richmond Times-Dispatch

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Online research before purchase rising: Study

Posted by retailigence on January 4, 2009

New Delhi: In the present economic scenario, when the print and electronic advertising mediums are seeing a dip in revenues, online advertising is gaining momentum as advertisers are now looking at cost-effective mediums to reach to the target audience. Usage of the online medium as an advertising platform is increasing as the medium not just offers the advertisers the flexibility to reach the right kind of users but it is also used for creating brand awareness, to lead the generation.

To highlight the increasing popularity of online medium amongst consumers and hence advertisers Google India has conducted a study on consumer buying behavior, which suggested that consumer electronics, technology and telecom products were usually researched online but purchased offline.

As per the research, 56% for technology products, 56% are researched online but purchased in retail stores and 26% are researched and purchased online.

In the travel and media industry, however, the consumer trend is of researching and purchasing online. Google research reveals that 66% of Travel products are researched and purchased online and 40% of entertainment products are researched and purchased online.

Sources:- The Financial Express

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Greeting waves in the air

Posted by retailigence on January 2, 2009

Greeting waves in the air

Radio has been a popular medium with retailers for a long time, but had lost its sheen and audiences in the 90s. Today, radio is being revived. The overwhelming response to the opening up of FM space, with everyone from BBC to local educational intuitions vying for frequency in the 330 licenses in 90 towns on offer is a significant indication. Retailers can now look forward to sharper targeting and lower cost options in this audio media.

With the advent of television on a national base in the year 1982, radio took a back seat till FM came in a few years ago. With the second phase of the roll out of FM radio on the anvil, retailers have plenty more advertising options. What is the future of FM radio, considering the potential invasion of satellite radio is anyone’s guess and we will have to wait for the future to unfold that.

ROLE IN THE MEDIA PLAN

Once a retailer has decided what he/she wants to achieve with advertising, having identified the target audience with advertising, having identified the target audience, the next step would be to make a media plan. When one is evaluating media vehicles three aspects must be considered. Coverage- does it reach the target audience? Frequency- how often during the stores, campaign can it advertise and impact – the ability to grab audience attention and communicate effectively or the ability to make an impression.

In retail Advertising & Sales Promotion, authors Charles M Edwards, Jr and Carl F Lebowitz have lited nine things retailers must consider while evaluating media. “When a retailer wishes to deliver a selling message to potential customers, the selection of media should be made after careful consideration of factors like clientele sought by the store, type of store, trading area of the store, location of the store, the message to be sent, the means of communication available and their appropriateness (acceptance among customers), the cost of available media, the money advertiser has to append and the competition to be met.

Radio can be used as the primary medium or as a top-up medium in addition to newspapers or outdoor. This will depend on a host of factors including what needs to be communicated – is it general offer?

Radio being a local medium and for the various characteristics and advantages it has, is usually part of most retailers’ promotion mix. The role it plays in the entire promotion mix depends on a varities of factors including the choice made by the retailer. It can be ‘Mirchi’ in the tadka or many hues in the ‘rainbow’.

THE SPARK OF RADIO

  • Local: In the days of ‘Akashvani’ and ‘Radio Ceylon’ – radio was a national medium, one that was used by large FMCG brands and to create some regional brands. In recent years it is much more local in content/reach and cater to the small geographical area – much like a store. This makes radio affordable to retailers and can be used to communicate during local events/festivals.
  • Sharper targeting: There a number of programmes at different time of the day aimed at specific target audiences. As more channels will be added this year, the choice will be even greater! This will help the retailer choose specific channel /programme /time combination to reach selected audience. Apart from demographic based can be used effectively.
  • Stickiness: Many studies have found a relationship; almost a bond exists between radio jockeys/hosts and their audience. Some FM radio stations have websites where content is divided into pages for each host/RJ. Even middle-aged males listening to the radio while driving to and from work are known to rarely switch channels. In Retail Advertising & Sales Promotion, the chapter on radio advertising begins with “listeners have woven radio broadcasts into their lives in many different ways: an alarm clock in the morning, an up-to-the-minute news report at breakfast, a travel companion in the car, a day-long visitor for the housewife, a game of suspense for sports buffs, a record player for music lovers. A radio can serve such contradictory purposes as lulling insomniacs to sleep or keeping drowsy drivers awake”. One reason for stickiness may also be the interactivity that medium offer nowadays.
  • Flexibility: Radio offer many options in terms of time of day to advertise, type of advertising – announcements, jingles, sponsored programmers, time checks and spots of different duration. Most retailers can afford radio and it is a medium that one can use in varying amounts. You can have your advertisement aired once a day or many times to increase impact.
  • Mobility: Radio reaches it audience wherever they are, in the bathroom, in the car, kitchen, on a holiday, going to collage or at a restaurant.
  • Value for money: In the view of low production costs and relatively low cost per thousand-radio generally offers very good value for money. This also depends on similarity between the profile of the target audience and listenership.
  • Quick cycle: As I am typing out these lines, am listening to the advertising of a local mail- it is about a festival programme at the mall and winners of a contest held yesterday. Weather it is to take advantage of the sudden cold wave in the city or some event, it take much less to get an advertisement on the radio than other media vehicles.

THE DUST ON RADIO

Radio has its limitation and the primary one is that it is an audio – only medium and has no visual element at all. One cannot use it to slow the interiors of the store or demonstrate products. Like in television advertising, radio advertisements and fleeting. 10-20-30 seconds and they are gone forever. Listening may not be able to remember such fleeting messages. Unlike television where the viewer is sitting in front of the TV, radio is usually in the background. Selective attention is a problem. Radio also has limitations in terms of creative flexibility. Being audio-only there is nothing much other then voice and music to work with. Popular radio programmes also suffer from the problem of clutter. This offers the option to mentally switch off till the next song.

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF RADIO.

Radio can help retailers in many ways. It can be a good medium of brand building the store. You can use it tactically also to communicate about a sale. One can use it a single medium or can be part of multi – media campaign. There are benefits of a ‘multiplier’ effects when it is used in conjunction with other media. Radio is also excellent for co-operative advertising. The focus will be the product and the store is where it is available.

COMMERCIAL ASPECTS

There are number of package/programmes and concessions for multiple advertisements. Each station has a variety of offers. It is important to compare the cast/audience of the programme with the potential number of the stores target audience reached to estimate the value of a package/programme. One buy slot of various spots of various durations. Rates depend on peak and off – peak listenership and sometimes based on specific programmes. Long-term contracts can be negotiated and it makes sense for retailers to have an annual plan.

Radio is the medium that all those who target young adults can ignore only at great risk. Thanks to the number of new station and competition, till some clear leaders emerge, retailer can get good rates from radio. The down side is the quality measurement of audiences will take time to be available. One has to judge a station/popularity of a programme mostly what one hears from costomers/community word-of-mouth. Radio stations usually have cost per thousand and profile of their audiences, which is a good starting point to evaluate a radio-advertising offer.

Music at low cost, mobility and local content will in my opinion keep audiences glued to their radios. Advertising on radio has already started to grow as a percentage of total advertising expenditure. It is a good time to use this medium after understanding the many variables involved.

The author is Assistant Professor at the Sir M Visvesvaraya institute of Technology, Bangalore. He can be contacted at Gp_sudhakar@rediffmail.com

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