Managing Partner of Vijay Sales, will help small retailers sustain their business in today's highly competitive market. # 1. Focus on the Fundamentals of Business Competition has increased in all the sectors whether it is IT, retail or production. In such a situation, only deep-rooted business fundamentals can help you survive the competition. Following techniques can be adopted to tackle competition in retail sector: - Indian market is so big that 2-3 big companies are not sufficient to cater the needs of all customers - When competition increases, it is better to move ahead by exploring new market - If someone new enters in the market with huge capital and you are not able to compete, then it is better to look for new opportunities # 2. Long Term Sustainable Practice: Focus on Customers Vijay Sales adopted long-term sustainable practice in the following ways: - Keep prime focus on customers - Consider customer as guest - Give excellent treatment to customers instead of high discounts; they will become more loyal to you - Understand the need of customer and cater them - Learn from your mistakes if customer returns without purchasing anything - Resolve issues with customers to make them permanent customer - Build long term relationship with customers - Bring improvement cycle # 3. Mistakes Committed by Small Retailers Due to increasing competition and online business, small retailers become overwhelmed and commit following mistakes in desperation:- - They think that they cannot match the high discounts given by E-commerce giants - Small retailers are unable to sell at low price due to low margin and high cost - In such a situation, small retailers become so overwhelmed that they are unable to cater their existing regular customers - They don’t treat customers properly and let them return empty handed - Small retailers don’t build relationship for long term - They are running after big amount of transactions # 4. Dealing with Competition Since India is still a developing country, majority of market share is with small retailers in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and there will be constant opportunities for them in next 10-15 years, despite of growing industry of online market. The strategies that can help small retailers tackle competition are:- - They have to search for new customers - They have to move from transaction to building relationship  - Retailers have to build network of customers who trust them - Retailers can give customers comfort level that is not feasible on online platform - Organize loyalty programs for customers like - technical loyalty program, loyalty card etc. # 5. Role of Technology in Retail Business In high volume sales business, Mr. Gupta says, “Technology is very important pillar for moving ahead in business.” Technology can help to grow business in the following ways: - Technology helps in handling multiple retail stores - It bring transparency in business  - Use technology for maintaining finance, billing, stock details - Use technology for getting data analytics on finance, sales, stock, etc. - Keep record of inventory which have high demand and are turning outdated - Figure out the mistakes you are committing through technology - Use data analytics to decide which stock has high sales and which has low - Use consumer analysis to understand their behaviour for making future strategy # 6. Experiential Customer Service in Retail Business Retail industry is moving swiftly towards experiential customer service wherein customers are enabled to experience the products before purchasing. Following services can be given to customers under experiential service: - Let customers touch and feel the product - Keep the electronics products switched on in showroom - Employ the salesmen to assists customer understand about features of products - Help elder customers, who have less knowledge about technology understand products - Help them decide which products better suits their requirement # 7. Customer Dealing - Training to Manpower Salespersons have a tendency of changing their position based on their perception about customer’s intention. They treat customer better if they think customer is going to purchase a product, and they just try to ignore a customer who they thing has just come for inquiry. On this, Mr. Gupta asserts, “Customer don’t only go for low price, but they go for overall value”. So, a retailer must ensure following steps for better customer service: - Train manpower on catering customers properly  - Deal every customer sincerely whatever their intention is - Don’t try to x-ray the customers - Don’t try to judge customers’ intention - Try to understand their need and build relationship - Leave a deep impression in customers’ mind - Assure customer to help anytime if any issue arises - Even if customer don’t purchase don’t cut off relations with him There is a high probability that a customer return to your showroom after visiting other shops, given the deep impression you left in his mind through excellent customer service. >“It is okay to lose a Sale; it is not okay to lose a Guest” # 8. Impact on Business due to Online Platforms Undeniable there has been a greater impact on profitability of retail stores owing to increasing penetration of online platforms. However, Mr. Gupta points out below benefits of rising competition from online platforms:- - Don’t consider competition as competition but as supporters - Competition helps market grow - Increasing completion of online platform is the reason behind India’s growing mobile market, which also helps retailers to sell more - Competition has helped Indian mobile industry grow faster - Competition makes retailers grow stronger over the time # 9. Tips for Small Retailers to Become Big These techniques will help small retailers make their business successful: - - **Think Big:** Before actually becoming big they have to think of becoming big - **Adopt Right Practices:** They have to implement right practices in their business on daily basis - **Focus on Small Works:** Give equal importance to every customer, transaction and relationship - Develop a good environment at showroom - Give good experience to customers - Owner must involve in the retail business # 10. Preparation for Branch Out Things to be ensured while opening new branch are:- - Ensure enough financial strength to branch out the business - Make good strategy for new branch to avoid any market disruption - Calculate how much capital will be needed for new branch and what will be your turnover - Handover the operations of existing showroom to trusted person and focus on new branch # Key Learnings: - Focus on building long term customer relationship - Understand the need of customer and cater them properly to make loyal - Do not judge customers. Don’t change behavior even if he does not wish to purchase - Don’t cut off relationship with customer even if he does not purchase from your showroom - Learn from mistakes and bring improvement cycle  - Use technology to in bring automation in finance, billing, stocking etc.  - Use technology to understand customers’ behavior through analytics - Let the customers feel and touch the products at showroom - Assist customer understand about technology - Give training to manpower to take care of customers - Leave a deep impression in customer’s mind