Leaving off from last weeks post about shopping in India, I want to concentrate on India’s selling point (from the past’s point of view). India used to be a place where if you entered a saree shop you would be offered tea, coffee, and even a meal if you were buying enough. The retailer would bend over backwards for its buyers, and the buyer generally went away happy (I really do miss those days). India’s customer service really was India’s selling point from a buyer’s point of view. After malls popping into the retail scene, it seems customer service died. And while not all shopping is limited to malls, and international brands, even Indian retailers seem to be lacking in customer service. For example a lot of women’s apparel retailers are not so friendly with the fear of having their designs copied, which gives the shopper a very cold feeling. So what is the solution?
Well till now the one thing retailers didn’t have to worry about was the lack of demand. Even with poorly stocked stores, and poorly trained staff the shoppers were coming. The rich seem to be flocking abroad for vacations where the shopping was done, and the middle class have found shopping an activity that they can’t do without (no matter the condition). They seem to be making do with what they have. However forecasts for the Indian economy seem to be pointing to a different future where Indian retailers might not have the demand they had 2 years ago. E-commerce is slowly gaining popularity with Indians, which will definitely change the retail scene in India as well. While e-commerce has a long way to go in India, at least it will bring inventory to the Indians. Indian retailers are going to have to start getting creative in getting Indians to shop as much, or those malls might just be places with really great food courts!