Over the years going from the US to India when I was younger meant suitcases full of gifts for relatives. There were also those friends and family members who used to ask for specific products (jeans, perfumes, etc…). This was understandable, as India did not have foreign brands available. Our suitcases returning to the US were full of Indian clothes, and packaged food for ourselves and friends in the US. When foreign brands were allowed in India, and international brands flocked to India, Indians used to say “we get everything in India now.” Logically that would mean no more demands from America, WRONG, the demands did not stop, but became more brand conscious… Which made me wonder if you were getting everything in India, what did you need me to bring stuff for you for?
This trip really helped me realize what was going on..
There is no doubt that the Indian consumer has become a smart shopper. They know brands and prices (thank you internet), so they know when they are getting a good deal or not. If you were to look at the malls (with above 50 percent retail occupancy)and see stores such as Puma, Shoppers Stop, etc… you would see them full of people and yes inventory, but when you actually enter and shop for something specific you find something totally different. Choices are limited, and in what is available if you do happen to find something you like, there is a good chance you won’t find it in your size. Now in the US we have all gone through not finding our size in something, but what do you do? You ask the employee (via inventory tracking) to find it for you at another store, or online? I have yet to see this process happen in India. When I asked the employee to check inventory, he seemed to be suppressing a laugh, and then added that the store did not offer that service. Most employees seem to be extremely uninterested in helping. Weird for a country known for customer service? Believe me India’s selling point was the customer service, so what happened to customer service?
MORE TO COME NEXT WEEK!