Family and household influences

Retailers can provide to the customers at various stages of the buying process. Regular advertisements in newspaper and other media can create awareness about a particular product and may also crate a desire for the product. Friendly and knowledgeable sales staff can assist the customer in gathering information about the product. Services offered by the retailer, like acceptance of credit cards free home delivery and a no questions asked returns policy affect the customer’s buying decision.

The experience during and after the purchase, lead to satisfaction or dissatisfaction of a particular Store. The customer assimilates the experience that the customer had while shopping and his post purchase or dissatisfaction. He is also influenced by opinions and the experiences that friends and family have had with the store. Over a period of time, all these factors lead to a customer patronizing a particular store.

Retailers need to understand this process and tap into the buying process so that they can develop loyalty over a period of time.

Liberalization and a steady economic growth have been the main factors that have driven change in India. In retail, new sectors have emerged due to the changing lifestyles in India.

In this age of rapid change, change which is not only technological but also in how we live and work, retailers have to take into account the implications that these changes may have for their business.

The first impact that changed lifestyles have on retailers is the demand or convenience formats that enable consumers to shop less often and offer them the ability to shop for various products under one roof. As living standards have risen and the variety of foods become more plentiful so has healthy eating become more of an issue. The more discriminating consumer places new demands on the packaging of food to ensure delivery at the point of sale in a fresh condition. Organic products are gaining an important niche alongside other products such as those that aid weight reduction. Functionality has become more of a concern and provides opportunities for marketers. In the future, packages will need to be designed with the consumer’s convenience in the mind much more. Retailers are also discovering new segments which can be tapped due to a basic change in the customer’s lifestyle.

Retailers have family taken stock of the huge untapped potential in catering to large sized people, through apparel or accessories. An increasing number of standalone single brands, such as the Delhi-based Just My size, as well as special large size specific divisions in national retail chains like All in Pantaloon are mushrooming across country.

Just My Size aims to have stores in Tier I cities such as Ahmedabad, Pune, Chandigarh, Hyderadad and Ludhiana, before the rollout in Tier II cities, with apparel proceed from Rs 599 to Rs 1,800. The company also plans to increase its offerings to accessories such as bags, wallets and belts.

Meanwhile All Pantaloon in store division specifically catering to large sized customers has already stepped on the gas and set up 10 standalone tiers up and running in places such as Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Indore. All’s collection includes flexi waist trousers in variety of colors that have an adjustable belt, which helps maintain the overall look of the trouser while for women it has jewelled and embroidered traditional kurtis, t-shirts, with foil prints, tops and formal shirts.

Then there are big players such as Benetton, which plan foray into new sector as a part of its second phase of expansion. It is believed that the large sized apparel currently could be 5-7 per cent of the Rs 40,000 crore apparel industry.