Retail radar

India is one of the largest numbers of retail outlets in the world. Of the 12 million retail outlets present in the country nearly five million sell food and related products. Even with such a large number of outlets organized retail accounts for only four percent of the total market, thereby offering huge growth potential in this segment. A number of changes such as increasing availability of international brands, increasing number of malls and hypermarkets and easy availability of retail space have taken place over the last few years. With the Indian government opening the doors for EDI, the entry of foreign retailers into the country has become easier. Organized retail will increase its share to over 30 per cent by 2013, offering huge potential for growth in coming years, says a study-‘Indian Retailing – The way forward’.

The development of shopping centers has to synchronize with retail development in the country. In India, while the retail sector may have crossed the initial phase and moved into the second phase of development. In most parts of the world, entertainment has emerged as the key component of malls whereas In India, department stores are still evolving.

For a country as diverse as India one needs to consider various options for catering to a wide section of the consumers. The type of goods and services that may be needed in an urban center may be totally different from the products ad services needed in a semi-urban and rural India.

One of the greatest challenges faced is the limited availability of national players. Malls in India will need to find their unique proposition to the consumer. The first stages of this transformation are already visible with malls becoming family entertainment center. To be able to generate wealth for the organizations the business model that is adopted needs to stay relevant to the end consumers and must be efficient. The provision of services as a key element is still not considered to be important in the Indian scenario. The social aspect which relates to the idea of the shopping mall being a communal meeting space has yet to evolve. These could possibly be the key learning’s that could emerge for mall developers and retailers in this stage of development.

Retails accounts for eight percent employment in the country. A report by images Retail estimates the number of operational malls to more than double to over 412 with 205 million square feet by 2010 and further 715 malls by 2015, on the back of major retail developments even in tier I and tier II cities in India. Given this scenario there is a dearth of trained manpower at al levels in the sector. In the next five years the sector is set to provide 2.5 lakh job opportunities the highlight being local employment opportunities where a bout 20 percent of the organized retail; employees will be first time tax payers in the country and more than 50 per cent of the total employees in modern retail will be women.

Retail is characterized by very high employee turnover shortage of trained manpower, a large numbers of employees vying for few supervisory positions and young, ambitious workforce who look for quick growth. The types of jobs available in retail are: On the retailer front – sales store management stock management supply chain management warehousing, and operations etc. On the developer front the opportunities include leasing management and mall operations management. Also, in organized retail the front liners like store managers, merchandise shop floor executives sales executives etc are in great demand. The front liners have to directly communicate with the customers. The other jobs for store management, store planning, cashiers, stock managers, logistics, operations, loss prevention, distribution, marketing, finance, HR, IT etc.

Career opportunities in the retail industry are widespread and apart from having a flare for customer service, the requirements for getting started in the industry are few. Good communication skill, high interpersonal skills, convincing power, positive attitude and ability to handle stress is a prerequisite for these jobs. Fresh graduates who want to make career in retail can easily fill these jobs. Stock planners operations, logistics cashiers have to deal with the numbers daily, besides having good communication skills they also require numerical and analytical ability.

One of most important skill set for the retail industry knows your customer and customer service. This involves an ability to assess and meet the customer’s needs educate the customer and to maintain knowledge and familiarity of the retailer’s producer of services among other capabilities.

Indeed, formal training and education are required for most of the jobs in the industry. Education and certification can be major asset in the industry and for those pursuing a career in retail, plenty of educational programs exist.