The Changes and Challenges Ahead
The retail industry has witnessed phenomenal expansion and the nature and structure of the industry has undergone a dramatic transformation. The concept of organized retailing and international franchising has gathered significant importance and prominence in the developing countries and the tiger economies of Asia. The advent of sophisticated and superior Information Technology tools and reduction in Communication barriers has led to immense opportunities in Direct Selling. This gives the consumers easy and uninterrupted access to products available throughout the world and that too at a lower cost. The consumers not only have a wide spectrum of products to select from, but also have better access to a variety of products. As individuals become more and more computer savvy, they can book the products of their own choice on line. Also, the product manufacturers are gradually exploring ways and means to reduce the number of channels through which their products are distributed for gaining proximity to customers and rationalizing costs.
In India, retailing is one of the largest source of employment after agriculture and has the deepest penetration into rural India generating over 10% of India’s GDP. The retail industry in India remains fragmented, with several small and medium players accounting for a sizeable portion of the total market size. In the rural segment, the consumers and farmers purchase their daily necessities and other items from the unbranded stores and distribution outlets. The urban centres have witnessed the mushrooming of retail/ departmental stores and many Indian group companies have constituted their own retail outlets for circulating and distributing their products. Indian firms are making concerted efforts to reengineer their brands and drive sales volumes. However, the performance success of retail stores lies in their ability to achieve economies