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Are you paying attention - the creativity workshop assignment submission
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Are you paying attention - the creativity workshop assignment submission


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The result of observing some local stores to understand what is the possible thinking behind their stores looking the way they do; what are their strengths and challenges, what opportunities do they …

The result of observing some local stores to understand what is the possible thinking behind their stores looking the way they do; what are their strengths and challenges, what opportunities do they see/ not see.

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  • 1. + WHAT‟S IN STORE! Observing some unusual, quirky stores. And some run-of-the-mill ones
  • 2. + Introduction
  • 3. + Context  I live in Bangalore, India. We‟ve some „dignified old‟ making space for a lot of „shiny new‟ here  Call me stuffy but I‟m partial to „dignified old‟  The timing of this assignment and the questions helped in more ways than one – I used the questions in the observation lab, to plan the store design of a business I‟m involved in – a local bike store  I‟m separately calling out observations/ insights that were a result of hanging around and observing these stores
  • 4. + Approach  I decided to ignore the big malls for the ignored everyday, the invisible and the unusual  When I asked store owners/ managers if I could take pictures, I got turned down. Once, a man almost chased me out of the store, once the person asked to see the pictures and asked me to delete it because „the store looked too cluttered‟  So, I got innovative. Some pictures were taken surreptitiously, some for “my blog on Indian marketing strategies” and some for “a science project I‟m doing for NASA” 
  • 5. + Kamath Stores The neighbourhood mom and pop store
  • 6. + Kamath Stores  The store is brightly lit. It smells of rice in gunny sacks.  It is run by Mr Kamath, who doesn‟t miss a chance to opine about national politics or Mrs. Kamath, who is perpetually dressed in a „housecoat‟.
  • 7. + Kamath Stores The neighbourhood mom and pop store
  • 8. + Kamath Stores - insights  All products are household related – either food products or cleaning products (but they do have product-wise proximity. All ice creams are close together, for instance)  They are all arranged haphazardly, product-wise, but with scant regard to aesthetics. If a customer is not careful, they are given products past their sell-by date/ overcharged  The bill is crudely handwritten – they don‟t have an invoicing system. All purchases are paid for in cash only  Mrs. Kamath stares at the hands of customers as they leave, to make sure they are not walking away with things they haven‟t paid for
  • 9. + Kamath Stores - opportunities  As a known customer from the neighbourhood, I learnt there is an option of a monthly credit system! After buying from that store for 2 months – you have to ask for it   They do not stock “microwave & eat” almost ready food. I asked them about it. They said they did not think of it. I asked 3 customers in their 20s-30s who came in, if they would buy these products. They responded enthusiastically!
  • 10. + Roadside cigarette shop Found every 500 metres, the place where the local drugstore cowboys meet.
  • 11. + Cigarette shop  Has cigarettes but its camouflaged by potato chips packets, really smelly deodorants, mosquito repellants.  Observation: these shops usually have a „pay phone‟. In the 15 minutes I was there, 2 people actually used the pay phone to make a call! So much for my belief that everyone used a mobile phone!  The store owner speaks 9 Indian languages and English – he says he gets more customers to buy, because he empathizes and talks to them about their towns and villages in their language!
  • 12. + Village Supermarket The upscale residential neighbourhood supermarket
  • 13. + Village Supermarket – introduction & insights  2 floors of shop space. Ground floor has food products, first floor has household, toiletries, really ugly glassware and greeting cards.  Called „Village supermarket‟ because the owner misses the village he is originally from, which is a coastal village 700km west of Bangalore  The store has 10 cctvs on each floor but only 3 of them work. The rest are just „precautionary‟ (??)  A cleaning woman is always walking around mopping the floor – when asked, she said she was under orders, because it makes customers feel like they are in a clean store that cares about hygiene. In 15 minutes, she mopped the same area 3 times around.
  • 14. + Plenty of impulse candy purchases. And lots of buying food products that are not on the list
  • 15. + Village Supermarket - opportunities  The checkout counter has lots of inexpensive chocolates and candy. One in 5 customers buy something from this shelf. Every customer with a child buys something from there, because the candy is at the child‟s eye level and the demands start instantly  Lots of impulse purchases in the biscuits/ preserves/ pickles shelves. Similarly sized bottles lined up in a row seemed to attract women more and cardboard boxes with breakfast cereal seemed to draw the men.
  • 16. + Sarooj Pharma The small chemist & druggist store
  • 17. + Sarooj Pharma – introduction & insights  Store was apparently named after owner‟s wife but he misspelt her name. Her actually „Saroj‟ and he has called the store „Sarooj‟. She is not amused!  Medical stores in India have a large counter, customers cannot walk in and pick up anything – not even a toothpaste. Usually, there is the owner, who walks around less and the „helper‟ who walks around more, to get customers what they want  Nobody but the store workers would be able to locate any given medicine – they are that densely packed. The store staff can easily find medicines within seconds – they shared their secret – medicines are stored alphabetically. Duh!
  • 18. + Sarooj Pharma The small chemist & druggist store
  • 19. + Sarooj Pharma – opportunities  Speed of service is very quick  The store owner smiles and says thanks to every customer, so the customer is forced to smile back and respond  The store owner inquired about the family member of a customer and asked 3 customers about details of the person for whom they were buying medicines. He spent time explaining details about medicines and telling one customer that the medicine was not an antibiotic and it wouldn‟t produce acidity. His friendliness ensured he had a packed store front the entire time
  • 20. + Florist The tiny florist store in a 12 feet long space
  • 21. + Florist – Introduction & insights  This little store has vases with flowers, a workspace for the 2 young men who run the store, to put flowers together  In the last 5 years, there is more demand for flowers for people to use in their homes, compared to flower arrangements as gifts. More than 70% of total sales were expensive flowers sold for people to arrange at their homes  The two boys who run the store knew the names of about 30 flowers
  • 22. + Florist The tiny florist store in a 12 feet long space
  • 23. + Florist – opportunities  If customers are unsure, they quickly mix different expensive flowers, to show customers the effect of combining these two types of flowers, make a sale based on the visual impact being created  They sell little plastic ampoules holding water, in which customers put the stem of flowers, to keep them fresh in the 10 minute walk home. They say that customers usually think the ampoules have some treated water/ chemicals which help the flowers be fresh for longer. And that they just don‟t bother correcting the customer‟s assumption.
  • 24. + Hopcoms The Government-run vegetable and fruit shop
  • 25. + HOPCOMS – Introduction & insights  This chain of neighbourhood stores has trained its staff to greet customers in the local language, recognise returning customers and giving them special services, such as asking them to taste a fruit before buying it  Customers have the option of sending an SMS to HOPCOMS to find out cost of vegetables & fruits, so they can head to the HOPCOMS store only if the cost is competitive  The HOPCOMS store folks said they are ok to lose the opportunity of attracting customers who do not speak the local language, because they do not like „outsiders‟
  • 26. + The entire stock gets sold on a daily basis – mainly because the stock is extremely fresh and the customers see the truck arriving with fresh stock every morning Hopcoms
  • 27. + HOPCOMS – opportunities  The store people are naturally friendly. They stay that way until they figure out that a customer cannot speak the local language. Then they get a bit glacial. If they leave their regional preferences aside when serving customers, they will benefit  Serious awareness of specific characteristics of different vegetables, ability to pick the right combination as per the customer‟s needs  Some collateral on them being the producers cooperative, their produce coming from less than 100km outside of town would go a long way in attracting customers who want to reduce carbon footprint
  • 28. + Windchimes The quirky gift shop
  • 29. + Windchimes – Introduction & insights  A 13-year old gift shop owned and run by a woman, using the front part of her home as a store  The store relies heavily on facebook to do its marketing. They have a 13th birthday celebration, where products worth Rs. 1300 and more get a 13% discount. And there is an additional 13% discount for 13 year olds and people born on the 13th.  The store supports many local artists – 2 writers, 1 cartoonist sell their books/ posters etc. at this store, so does a painter, a handbag maker, a quilt maker, a woodcut artist – all from within a 2 km radius of the store
  • 30. + The store has many windchimes, that give a magical, charming effect to the store Windchimes
  • 31. + Windchimes – opportunities  The owner keeps travelling abroad and brings back local flavours. For instance, Moroccan lamps from her recent trip to Morocco  She is seen as a prominent member of the church, she has a lot of customers who use the store as an excuse to make her acquaintance  The store‟s charm and clever product placement were not generating massive sales till a year back. They have re-priced products, publicized that their products cost lesser than similar products online
  • 32. + The store consciously sells products at 20% lesser than similar home décor products online Windchimes
  • 33. +LearningObservations from looking at storeshas helped me, in quite a surprisinglywell-timed fashion, on how to designthis local bike store that I am involvedin setting up. It was amazingcoincidence that we finalised thespace, visited, closed the deal at thesame time I was looking at stores andlearning from them!
  • 34. +LBS space, full ofpossibilitiesThe first look at the store I‟m hoping to play a bigrole in helping develop! Armed with consciousobservation of the limitless amazingness around,I suspect I can‟t fail! 
  • 35. + Thank you! Monica Pillai