I have been a admirer of Mr. Kishore Biyani since the time I first met him some 7 years ago. Over the years, I have had the chance of sitting with him in a group, hearing him speak at close quarters and agree with some of his comments about consumers.
Whilst I am not privy to how the group functions, what are the SBU and who makes what money, I am definitely sure that Big Bazaar after constantly being fine tuned has turned into a good money making machine which probably at times is supporting some of the smaller SBU’s.
Recently Big Bazaar celebrated its Anniversary Sale. Whilst at the Gym in Mega Mall last Monday, I received a call from my wife, requesting me to pick up some stuff. In my enthusiasm I replied in the affirmative & proceeded to the basement where it is located.
No 1 – There was a sea of Black Humanity extending right up the escalators. Looking at my confused state, one of the gaurds asked me if I wanted to Shop – ‘Of course, otherwise why am I here’ ; he gestured to me to use the right side & come down. On reaching there, I understood that the Q was for Gelato (Special offer Rs.9/-) Chaat (Rs.10 -15/-) Learning: It is still possible to bring in people with a lead in that has no/little relevance to actual business done. Here the marketing write off may just be the space!
No 2 – Going inside, saw families treat the store as an Pre School Outing. Clothes, Stationery, Linen, Groceries all where ever there was a deal – it was being dumped – in trolleys with shouting across aisles ‘Kaun sa color’ ‘4 ya 6 lena’ Learning: Timing – Anniversary, school opening, related offers, price points, complete volume & value game.
No 3 – The vegetable & fruit side was nice & cool with practically no body really shopping. Answered soon enough by the staff – Wednesday everything will go off with the offers. Learning: Specific, Constant, Consistent ensured people & staff were clued in & ready.
No 4 – There were some good to great deals going on – some from the FMCG companies, some from Big Bazaar it self that are definitely not available anywhere else. Learning: Whilst Private Labels introduced & were gaining ground, the volume game or marketing tactics ensured that other Brands did not suffer, but were still in play.
No 5 – Cash Counters manned & opened all across, with Express ones making exceptions also.
Some Negatives that can be overcome immediately –
- Cleanliness – No housekeeping visible at any place whatsoever.
- Customers allowed to drink water, soft drink inside leading to problems.
- Staff whilst friendly, need to be neatly dressed or rather cleanly dressed
- The internal banter amongst staff, gaurds need to be controlled.
However, all said & done the consumer pulse & reaching into their pockets is what matters at the end. AND here Big Bazaar straddles the right spectrum, integrating itself completely with the needs of the consumer. It bridges the gap from the small, neighborhood kirana store & a hypercity, something which Subhiksha was also keen on doing, but failed. It provides half or more of what common man aspires – AC environment, in a mall, ability to look, touch things, decide on their own without push – all at probably less than the Kirana store (OK not all items). This leads to most of the consumers focusing on Value that they end up buying Volume, thus helping Biyani laugh all the way to the bank.
Eventually, some of these consumers would graduate to the next level and try Hypercity, Star Bazaar and be replaced by others – very similar to Gopinath’s Deccan Aviation and what I love to call the “Funnel Theory”