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Friday, June 29, 2007

Revamping Mom and Pop

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the FMCG giant has come up with a new initiative SVS fast forward, to give mom-and-pop (“kirana”) stores a leg up across the country. Titled ‘Fast Forward’, the initiative aims to fast track the SVS (super value store) program initiated by HUL — and the target is no less than completely revamping and modernizing the grocer outlet to give shoppers an enhanced experience. In a way, to help kirana shops retain their clientele that is fast migrating to snazzy shopping mall around the corner. HUL has also engaged Retailscape, an in-store marketing company for the SVS FF program.

The idea should fly. The kirana stores in Indian cities are cluttered look-alikes, mostly stacked up close together with barely a wall between them. They stock more or less the same stuff too within their store area ranging between 150-300 sq.ft. (and grain sacks spilling over to sidewalks for lack of space inside) with customers having to troop in and out in a linear column. Sometimes members of the same family compete against each other by having adjacent stores. Not wanting to be outdone, what if all these store owners sign up for the program and ask for same makeover?

Trouble. Store specific promotions (best deals, lowest prices etc.) as are normally used should work. But what if there are three adjacent copycat stores, one on the left announcing “best deals” and that on the right “lowest prices”?

The one in the middle, perhaps could still use “Main Entrance !”

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