Yesterday I started and completed the book “It Happened in India” by Kishore Biyani.
It was an interesting read and the best part of it was that it did not talk too much in industry jargons and therefore was easy on the mind.
It is a book written in simple language and explains the success story of retailing business model adapted by Pantaloons retail.
The essence of the success story is to retain the simplicity by understanding the complex matrix of the consumer’s mind.This matrix changes if not with every consumer, then certainly with regions.
As India is a diverse land and has so many variations in terms of weather, language, culture that to understand the customer dynamics of one region and applying the same understanding to all regions would be a disastrous idea.
Each region is as apart from the other, in terms of consumerism as the finger prints of two individuals. They may appear to be the same, but when looked deeply, each have their own characteristics.But one basic thing remains the same – the customer wants value for money. I am personally not a big fan of Big Bazaars because I do not believe in the mindset of finding comfort in crowd, as mentioned by Kishore Biyani to be the frame of mind of the normal Indian consumer. He talks of how Indians (especially India two) finds comfort in shopping with the whole family and with the community they live in.
I agree with his observation – as most of the people need approval of everything they do, they have low self esteem and therefore are afraid of doing anything unconventional, having been suppressed for so long, let alone shopping in a mall!
Therefore his concept of creating a mall where – there are no burly guards, no sparkling floors, a place which is designed such that it always appears to be crowded – has been a huge success as all of the above mentioned makes people less self-conscious, non-apprehensive about the decorum, and gives them a feel of being at a local market rather than some hi-fi shopping centre.
I agree that the India Two is coming up in a big way as the spending power of people is increasing, which is a good sign as it shows that we are moving on the path of being a stronger economy, and therefore such concepts as Big Bazaar have proved to be successful.
I like the fact that Kishore Biyani is not afraid of revealing the secrets of his success and he also openly accepts the fact that some of his ideas are inspired by other shops like the Sarvanna Stores of Chennai. The only difference being that he took that idea forward and did not limit the possibilities.
Then there came the concept of Central and that too was a huge success as there is a young upwardly mobile crowd too whose consuming power cannot be neglected.They are the ones who belong to a new generation and have a different mindset. Hence, the mall concept for them had to be different from that of Big Bazaars. They have a huge spending capacity and it has been tapped very effectively by the Central malls where people can come as individuals or as groups and the mall has options for both.
KB comes out as a person who has the sharp eyes of a businessman who sees the new business opportunities while others are trying to preserve their inherited businesses. He is much like the NRN, Azim Premji, of the Software Industry, who spotted the opportunity at the correct time and did not feel afraid to put their thoughts into action.
I think that is the essence of being an entrepreneur and these are the kind of people who take a country forward, despite the obstacles created by their own families, friends and countrymen.
P.S. KBC may have a new meaning – Kishore Bana Crorepati ?