Indian food retail is now moving to a more mature phase in its evolutionary cycle, both in terms of growth and footprint. Though there are many catalysts for this welcome development, there remains still a largely untapped area of activity, which if unlocked, can act as a steroid to inject both growth and stability to the sector over the next few years.
I am referring to the vast possibilities for co-operation and partnership that exists between manufacturers and retailers. At a time when all businesses are trying to make themselves more relevant to their customers in a bid to grow and stay profitable, the food retail industry can put this learning into practice by closer engagement between brand and retailers. That will help the two parties to evolve a mutually beneficial understanding and forge a consensus on delivering the best to customers.
With the contribution of MT to overall trade showing positive trends, a joint collaborative effort between retailers and brands can sustain the momentum further. The opening shot on this collaborative march should be fired with brands/FMCGs generally agreeing to the retailers’ perspective on the need for extending better margins, product liquidation (unsold/ expired), regular servicing and replenishments by the sales staff, timely delivery of the orders and a well defined credit period policy. Retailers, on the other hand, need to reciprocate by being loyal to the brand, acting as true partners, offering ample shelf space to products and taking the brand message to end consumers.
The road to collaboration and partnership is a long one but an earnest beginning can be made by taking the first few sure-footed steps along that path