Field Trip: Indian Grocery Sector

When I was thinking of moving back from the states, I often used to hear about how I had a Western Retail experience and Indian Retail is so very different. So, on one of my trips back to India, I decided to start my learning on this. I choose Grocery since that was clearly meta-morphing every time I was back in India.

The Mall Friendly Hypermarket Manager Shopper Interview
The Mall

I started from the organized sector. I went over to a neighboring mall which had an unusual number of shops selling the same things – grocery – I reckon at least three major retailer brands just in the mall. But with varied propositions. I also met the store manager of the biggest store there – a hypermarket – and got some quality time in understanding the store process. On my way out met some random shoppers and understood how their value/variety perception differs.

The astonishing spurt in organized retail led to wonder if the unorganized retail had given up. I found a Kirana (Indian way of calling a local mom-and-pop grocery store) and a Specialty Grocery Retailer for Food Grains. I had a chance to talk to the store owners. I asked them point blank if they thought having such big retail players so close to them was a threat for them. They gave me various positives and negative (yes, there were positives). And told me how they keep customers coming to them.

As I was going back, I noted the various street vendor scenarios – mobile push cart parked on a road side, the typical Indian ‘Pan Dubba’ and a curious case of a ‘Pan Dubba wanna-be Kirana’. I stopped by the carts and asked them where they source their goods from. Some were attached to some vendors. But, I was pointed to a ‘market yard’.

Market Yard
Market Yard

Market Yard as a concept actually started to help the farmers but gradually became something else. In my picture you would notice how dis-functional it was, after a slight rain.

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