All Talk and No Action Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yesterday I visited the much talked about and also the most hated retail chain - Reliance Fresh.

We generally do our grocery shopping from Spinach. However, I was keen on trying out Reliance and see for myself if it played up to all the hype.

My observations -

  • The place was very congested. I generally like more space to move about and not be disturbed by other shoppers while am chewing on what to buy !
  • There were plastic bags strewn across the floor. Pushing the overfilled trolley while looking out and trying not to bump into fellow shoppers was quite an effort ! Also, more check out counters would definitely help speed things up.
  • I can't say the place was well stocked as we missed simple packets of Garam Masalas, Sambhar Powders and butter. Also, not much variety was visible in the snacks and confectioneries categories.
  • The stocking and arrangement was not very systematic. Pulses were followed by household items on one side and dals and rice adorned another part of the store. Better classification could have saved a lot of time for fretting customers.
  • Another grouse I had was the not so very "savvy" sales personnel. Every time you had a question, they would answer in Marathi ! Let me guess, have they tied up with MNS or is it a propaganda to reach out to the average Mumbaiite?!
  • Yes, the billing was fairly competitive and attractive "offers" existed for VFM customers. However, isn't that what most convenient stores do? There's nothing special in offering discounts.

Hmmm, so the overall experience was fine. Nothing extra-ordinary. I guess, I would prefer a Big Bazaar or Spinach for a wholesome feel.

Maybe, with some extra floor space, better stockpiling and adept personnel RF can join the club.


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is so true.

Consumers have a basic right to the following:

- Open ailes with atleast three trolley lanes
- 30 counters
- Fluent, well read, intelligent sales assistants
- Provide schemes which are a steal (atleast 20% less than a grocer)
- Accept payment in all forms
- Give delivery

Lets consider the present market scenario.

- Each sales assistant on a minimum 8 hour shift sets you back by Rs. 6000, add 15 days training for it
- Employee turnover is 35 to 40%
- Air Conditioning cost in Mumbai is around 28% higher
- Retail Real Estate is Rs. 180 per sqft
- Average Consumer spend is Rs. 120 with 300 customers daily @ 4 to 5% margins.
- Competition amongst 5 chains

Hmm, I guess to satisfy the author, the govt should subsidise retail prices, real estate, give free land and punish offenders like Reliance Retail for an unpleasant experience.

(I have anonymously posted, to avoid getting shot)

All Talk and No Action said...

@Anonymous -
About the basic rights of consumers...I don't care if I get 30 counters/3 trolley lanes...but is very important if you are into retailing..and plan to enter the big league.

Also, I am sure, if rising costs, training expenses, air conditioning expenses, real estate prices are not an issue for established Retailers...Reliance definitely shouldn't complain !

and shall be shot shortly !

Namrata said...

Yup i agree that RF does not give a good experience... I would rather prefer paying a lil extra and get it from the local kirna than to enter RF and 9/10 times be sure that they dont have the item in their stock. The products are always available in bulk as in there is no small packing... nothing is available below 500 gms. There are some stupid membership cards and stuff but i really dunno if the staff knows anything about those. I somehow doubt the product quality too especially of vegetables they dont look that fresh.At times the icecream packs are open in the refrigerator.. and with regards to comments of anonymous:
Noone has forced RF to open outlets if u cannot deliver do not open outlets.... especially now when consumer has so many options. I am sure they had considered all the costs mentioned before setting up the outlet... as they say one thing thats terrible for a business is an unsatisfied customer... and here there are already 2.. Business cannot only consider costs it has to deliver value if it has to have any margins for that matter. Enough for now i guess!!!

All Talk and No Action said...

@Namrata -
I completely agree that things are available only in bulk quantities...

Also, now after using the pulses, we do find their quality to be below the mark...

am not too sure I would visit the chain again...