Integrating the supply chain

Given the large vendor base that it has, initially the company had a distribution center attached to each of the stores; now, with an online supply network system, the company has opted for regional distribution centers. Regional Distribution Centers exist at Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore which service the stores in and around these places, for example the distribution center at Bangalore services the Chennai.

The nucleus of retail management is buying right and replenishing right so that the availability is optimum. The online supply network based on the ERP package handles merchandise management, warehouse management, automated replenishment and sales management.

The merchandising management module helps decide on the right kind of products that have to be bought for the store. It can be anything ranging from a particular brand, fit, style material and color of trousers for instance. The module identifies vendors, fixes the buying price and selling prices and even raises purchase orders. It also points out what merchandise a particular store is carrying at that point of time. On the other hand, the automated replenishment system indicates when stocks have to be replenished. For example if out of 50 Arrow shirts, five have been sold, the system automatically orders for replenishment. This ensures that with minimal effort the stock is replenished.

Similarly the warehouse management system manages the inventory throughout the supply chain. This module indicates from which part of the warehouse to pick up a particular color or design of merchandise.

Before the online ERP package came into function, the distribution system was completely dependent on individuals who were in charge of receiving tagging and storing the stocks, in the absence of the particular individual who had received the stocks.

The online supply network has increased the availability as well as restricted the buying of excess stock. The objective is to see that the customer doesn’t leave the store because he couldn’t find something that he wanted. Apart from ensuring efficiency in the supply network between the vendors, warehouses and the stores, the system has increased customer satisfaction.

Apart from the current online supply network, the retail group has also implemented a B2B link with 125 vendors through a Web based technology. This gives online information to the vendors as to how a particular brand is selling and the stocks situation. At present merchandise is received at least once a day by the local stores and twice a week by the outstation stores. Merchandise is received at the stores only in the morning before 11 am so as to ensure that it is on the shelf before the first customer walks into the store.

Creating the brand experience

Shoppers’ Stop has always aimed at providing a superior shopping experience to the retail customer. Keeping this in mind, it has created events and promotions which target either a increase in the business at the store or provide a unique experience to the customers.

One of the first events to be organized by Shopper’s Sop was DOTY – The Designer of the Year Award. His was awarded to young and budding designers for image, design and creativity. While this was very popular with the students it did not so much for the customer. Keeping this in mind a unique event the festival of Britain in India was organized.

Taking the experience platform further the festival of India Parikrama was created in the year 1998. Over the years, Parikrama has been redefined as a festival which celebrates and enjoys Indian culture. Last year, this festival was held for a period of seventeen days, beginning August 8th to 24th across its 13 stores around the country. Artists from differently states of India showcased their unique talents like Miniature Painting, Bead Jewelry. Terracotta Sholapith Work, Lacquer Toys to Palm Leaf Etchings, Pattachitra Coir Toys, Dance, Music and much more. For this special occasion the in house design team had created an exclusive line of ethnic wear for women under the private label STOP and KASHISH. The collection had festive colors combine with regional flavors, crafted in a medley of rustic and rural techniques fused with exclusive fabric and embellishments using bead work mirror work and traditional prints. The colors used were Indian reds, flame oranges, turmeric yellows, chutney greens, indigo blues, majestic purples and soothing off whites.