Problem of Plenty : The State of Indian Retain Outlets

Just for a moment think you are in a shopping mall which has both Walmart and Big Bazaar and you entered into Walmart first purchased some house hold items. You had the best customer experience of a retail outlet. You might have enjoyed no security checking at the gate, easy identification of products in the shelfs, no intrusion of salespersons into your privacy, self checkout and many more. And then you entered into Big Bazaar just to buy 4-5 items you missed to buy in Walmart. You might have thought it would take 5-10 minutes and it would a easy breezy affair. But on the contrary it is going to be a completely different experience which you might not have thought of. What is the first thing you are going to observe?

The first and foremost thing one is going to observe is the abundance of human resource in Big Bazaar. First of all you will find one person sitting outside Big Bazaar collecting the items you possess and will give you a token for it. There is no logic as such regarding what they would allow you to take inside the shop and what you need to keep outside. Then there would be a security guy who will check to ensure that you do not take anything inside the store and is the first redundant resource. Then once you enter into the store there would be 5-6 credit card sales executives who would start inquiring you as if you have committed a crime.

The typical interaction would look something like this:

Salesperson : “Sir do you have a credit card”?

Customer : “Yes”

Salesperson: “Which Credit card you have sir?”.

Customer: “I have the SBI credit card”

Salesperson: “Why don’t you take a Amex credit card sir?”

Customer: “I have an AMEX credit card too”

Salesperson: “Buy this AMEX card is much better than what you have. We have cash back of 10% on the Card”. (They suggest these without even knowing what are the benefits you have in your card)

Customer: “I can’t afford one more credit card”

Salesperson: “This is a life time free credit card sir”

And the conversation continues till the time you become really rude at the person or pretend to attend a phone call.

The above conversation continues in different manifestations with at least another 5-6 sales representatives. You have lost almost 15 minutes and have not been able to reach to the product you intended to buy. Then somehow you reach to the product after asking 2-3 sales persons (as the placement of the products differ from one Big Bazaar to another). In addition to this there are 3-4 sales persons who are always behind you to explain and persuade you to buy some products. The most irritating part is the constant advisement of products on offer and a decibel level which prevents you to have a conversation with anyone inside the store.

After almost 30 minutes you managed to buy 4-5 products you intend to buy. Then comes the most difficult part of doing the checkout. Since you just have 4-5 products you are looking for the self checkout. And here again forget about self checkout there are 2-3 folks in each checkout counter only to reduce the productivity of the one efficient person. There are people behind you who would always try to come ahead of you on the line and since there are no formalized process you end up with arguing them and coming out of the store with desperation. And after all this there is one person who just puts a stamp on the bill without verifying anything and adds some more frustration to your bucket. So how was the entire experience? Did Big Bazaar had enough people to help you?

In fact the problem of plenty is quite prevalent in almost all the retail stores in India and just for the sake of employment we are adding resources who in fact reduce productivity of some of the high performers. Forget about automation, just having basic human resource management would completely change the customer experience in the Retail Outlet.

About the Author

Premjit is a lead blogger and writer and publishes his contents in many blogs and websites. Premjit writes about technology, economy and lifestyle. He has been in IT industry for more than 13 years and currently pursuing MBA from IIM Indore.


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