Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Look at the Mixed Retail Brand Industry In India

“The problem is that the Juhu Shoppers Stop is always badly stocked!”, “When you buy a Levi's jeans from Shoppers Stop, you get Shoppers Stop's bill." "I am not sure if it’s genuine Levi's”, “It’s sad that Planet M has vanished from Shoppers Stop, Andheri West.” These are some of the negative messages that people are talking about Shoppers Stop in the social media.
When the conversations about major Mixed Retail companies in India are compared against each other in terms of Social Communications, Pantaloon is found to be the most talked and Shoppers Stop’s the most hated.
11.38% of the conversations happening online about Shoppers Stop relate negative sentiments about the retail brand. This figure is 9.79% for Marks & Spencer, 7.06% and 5.09% for Pantaloons and Lifestyle International respectively. The research has been carried out by people behind social media monitoring tool – Simplify360
In another finding by the same team, Pantaloons is most popular among teens, Marks and Spencer in early post teen age, and Lifestyle and Shoppers Stop in the heavy spending category of 26 to 35 years.
These companies also have strong holds by location. Marks & Spencer is strong in Bangalore and Mumbai, while Shoppers Stop is strong in Mumbai and surrounding places. Westside is strong in Bangalore too.
It is also important to note that people talk about these brands very little in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi. It could be because of less organized retail culture or availability of other major alternatives.
So, what does social media mean for businesses? The social media phenomenon is redefining the way ideas are spread. Consider Facebook alone which has more than 500 million active users with average user having 130 friends and people spending over 700 billion minutes per month in Facebook. News spreads faster than before and this means that the reputation or name of your brand could spread fast either in a good way or bad way. Should unhappy customers can post negative comments about your brand on a Facebook page, the result can be tweets and re-tweets until it leads to millions of views. So it is extremely important for businesses to stay focus and alert to customer service.
“It is important that retailers or any businesses for that matter needs to understand the health of their brand and monitoring their online health is essential”, says Hangsing David, VP-Sales at InRev Systems and the person behind this research.
How are Companies Using Social Media?
Organized Retail is one of the fastest growing sectors in India now, and it is also important to know how these companies are using Social Media. The report also includes the adoption of Social Media by the companies, and in that metric too Pantaloon tops the list.
Shoppers Stop finishes a close second and Life Style comes third. Details are in the table below.
Ending Thoughts
India is now an important country for Social Media and other businesses. The country has the second largest number of Facebook, Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon users, trailing only the United States. And chances are there for India becoming number one very soon.
The country is developing at a fast rate, and with Telecom and Internet Revolution the online population is set to increase to a significant level. Currently it fares poorly and broadband penetration is believed to be less than 10% while China has more than 30% (US and Japan has above 70%). If the broadband penetration rate increases to moderate 50% by 2020, which seems attainable at the current growth rate, the online form of business and social media adoption by companies is going to matter in big way. The investment these mixed retail brands on social media may soon pay dividends, and companies may end up missing out on a huge opportunity.

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