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Shopper Experience, Field Rep Management

In our last article about Kirana, along with its classification, we emphasized the dominant role it plays in the Indian retail industry and the giant bullseye it carries, which is targeted by retail corporates of all sizes. Everybody wants a piece of this potential $1 Trillion Kirana trade. However, the sector itself is unorganized. Though we agree that there is beauty in chaos, we also nod in consensus that order brings stability and higher returns. Moreover, there is only one thing that signifies Order in retail, and that is Retail Execution.

Retail Execution at Kirana

The primary difference between Big Box or retail chain stores and Kirana is the in-store execution. When you enter a store like Dmart or Reliance Trends, you feel impressed and intrigued by the beautiful arrangement of all the SKUs in the store. These stores are built to give a visually and psychologically satisfying shopper experience while offering decent discounts.

This appeal is not available at Kirana as they don’t have thousands of dollars or rupees to invest in visual merchandising. So, how can brands apply retail execution at Kirana? – Let’s decipher:

Shopper Experience at Kirana

Shopper experience is pivotal in retail execution. You can have a brilliant planogram, an excellent promotional plan, and an active field rep management, but if the shopper is unhappy, then it’s all wasted.

At Kirana stores, shopper experience mainly revolves around trust and long term relationships. As discussed in the last article, consumers shop with them for years, which is also the reason for their success.

Due to lower visibility from the counter, shoppers are mostly aware of a few brands which they’ve been loyal to for a long time. Even shop owners stick to the in-demand brands and do not take the risk of selling multiple brands. As it’s perceived to result in idle inventory.

However, regular shoppers are always tuned to the owner’s instructions. Also, the owners know the mindset of their shoppers. So, if the owner gets assurance that a brand or product provides better results than their regular product, then they will persuade their customers to switch.

So, as a brand, you should make sure your product offering is better than or on-par with the existing brands to gain the trust of Kirana shoppers.

Visibility and Availability

Planogram and planogram compliance may seem to be impossible in these places, but not for all product types. For example, almost every Kirana store has chocolates such as Kit Kat, Perk, Munch, and Snickers displayed at the counter. They may also have a cooler in a closer vicinity, to show all the beverages they are selling.

Though no planograms are followed at these stores, these retailers understand the importance of visibility and availability. So, product arrangement of some order to portray the best mix does happen. At least to let shoppers get a glimpse of what the store has, and also for the retailer’s convenience.

Mini markets in the Kirana trade indeed have enough space for a couple of aisles, but all the other types of Kirana stores don’t. So, they have to put out there best combinations.

For brands looking to gain visibility in these areas, you should research which products have the maximum visibility and in what type of stores. If you choose to have a higher profile, then you need to negotiate a deal that involves visibility, promotional banners, and manual persuasion.

Pricing & Promotions

Pricing is critical in this trade. Your pricing strategy should be inline or better than what your competitors offer. However, if your markups are higher than in-demand brands, then you may not win favor in the eyes of Kirana shoppers.

It’s vital to make sure the shop owners are selling the products at the maximum retail price. Quite often, in many locations, products are sold at a higher rate than MRP, which will affect your brand’s value in the long run.

Also, Brands can only do limited promotions at Kirana stores. They have limited space, and they cannot afford grand promotions. It is a common sight to find different types of flyers and banners hanging near the counter. The best thing to do when it comes to promotions relies on portable promotional banners.

Product Distribution in Kirana Trade

Most of the time, wholesale stores act as the destination to source the products. Store owners take extra efforts to procure them. However, upon order, field reps and wholesale dealers deliver the goods to the shops directly. For brands who wish to gain a share of Kirana trade, it’s essential to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the store owners.

It’s important to notice that the product delivered directly to the store will make a huge impact on the brand instead of multiple intermediaries. It also enables easier tracking of store performance.

Field Rep Management

Field reps are critical for overall success. They are the face of your business and ambassadors too when they visit these stores. They must have all the tools required to make in-flight decisions and strike the best deal. Field reps should develop a strong relationship with store owners for repeat business.

Tracking field reps is important in this process. As we understood from our field rep article, many field reps waste their time in unproductive activities. Optimizing their daily performance at the Kirana level will enable better results.

In Conclusion

Applying retail execution strategies in the Kirana trade is not as easy as you would at organized retail or big box stores. It requires a lot of research, time, and multiple trial & error methodologies.

However, can we tame the trillion-dollar behemoth? Yes, it can be. It would be best if you had your weapons, especially digitized weapons. You need to have a fluid retail execution software if you have to win at the Kirana trade.

While photo capture, image recognition, voice recording, field rep management, and analytics are key features, you should also find out any other characteristics that will support your cause. Check out the essential elements that a retail execution software should have.