E-Zone and messed up MRPs: the tale of woe of organized retail in India

Posted: September 6, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

They crib about the expensive real estate.

Or that maybe finance is not easy to come.

Good people are not available.

Such and many other excuses why organized retail apparently struggles still in India.

Well, all those reasons may be true. But when I went a shopping today, I realized that there are far bigger fundamental problems that they seem to have at this time!

I was at the E-Zone store in K Star Mall in Chembur. The staff was nothing much to talk about. But that was a small part of the problem. In India, we get used to untrained, unhelpful staff in stores!

The problem was in the actual shopping process. That it was very slow, and then they had this elaborate process of two different rubber stamps put slowly, one after another, on the invoice, and then while walking out, the security person seeing the invoice, the SKU number, looking at the product, and then putting yet another rubber stamp, was exasperating.

But the biggest problem was in putting up the prices on the product.

On the same product, there were TWO different MRPs!

Two prices on one product at E-Zone! Is it for 299/- or 349/-??

Two prices on one product at E-Zone! Is it for 299/- or 349/-??

It was an iPod headphone that I was purchasing. On one pack which I picked up, there were two prices, 299/- and 399/-. But both those prices were faint.

Picking up another piece showed the above mentioned two prices, 299/- and 349/-..

Here was the 299/-:

So is it 299.. ? Or..

So is it 299.. ? Or..

And then at another place on the same pack, was the other price.. 349/-:

.. 349? Please decide, E-Zone.. !

.. 349? Please decide, E-Zone.. !

These are really basic systems for retail, and organized retail should surely be on top of this! But obviously not. Wonder what the Consumer Protection Act has to say about this??

And if Kishor Biyani, the king of retail in India, cannot get on top of such basics, wonder who can?!

Speaking of retai, the other crib I have is, why can’t stores have change to give??! We never face this problem in US stores. Or in Indian kirana stores either. But go to an organized retail outlet, be it a big store, or smaller franchisee outlets for ice creams or coffee shops etc., and every now and then, you find them asking you for change. And struggling to give you change, then.

Why so?
Is there less change in circulation in India?

Do the banks not give enough change to these stores?

Or these stores just don’t try hard enough??

I suspect it is the last named reason!!

Oh well..wish the kirana stores expand and organize themselves. Maybe therein lies the answer..

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Comments
  1. People the same; what the west did in 3-5 decades we are trying to complete in a decade amongst other aspects. However, this is no excuse for the problem stated above (unfortunately one of the most common ones faced by Retailers)

  2. Pritesh says:

    Possibly, or for sure, the answer is…

    Yes- There is less change in circulation in India (At least in Mumbai)
    AND
    Yes- The banks does not give enough change to stores.

    I’ve been to several Banks, right from Union Bank of India in Mira Bhayander to Central Bank of India HO at Fountain, they provide only one carrbag of Change of Rs 2/ (i.e. Rs 200 in a Bag), or just one Carrybag of Rs 5 Coins (Max Rs 500 in a Bag). That too in a timelimit of 11.30 am to 1:00 pm (God knows whos logic is that)

    We have been running the Ice Cream Parlour, we would not like to hesitate to give-away change as many as we can, but ppl do visit our parlours just to get a change of Rs 500 or 1000 against an ice cream worth of Rs 30/-. Wonder where all the Rs 5 coins vanish in the market, or is it just kept secured in RBI lockers!

    • Sanjay Mehta says:

      Pritesh,
      Thanks for the insights. It is good to hear from one who has to face this problem daily! Sad that this situation exists. Perhaps out of an inherent “shortage” economy that we have come from, we have a tendency to hoard! Banks think if they give away more change, they will have none left, and so on.. I suspect.. !

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