Retail in a way is such a strange world of dichotomies. This, of course, is where basic economic theory meets the road. This is where you are supposed to generate demand, in such a manner that it should not be underwhelming, and it should not be outstripping supply either and reach a optimal point of bliss. Of course, you are to use, direct and indirect marketing to ensure stickiness, and attract new customers. This is where, we are starting to realize that word of mouth works effectively in the modern world too.
In one of the previous posts, I had talked about the world of socialonomics. That is so alive and kicking in India, and always has been. It will continue to work regardless of whether the Twitters, the Facebooks or the Orkuts of the world exist or not. With a population of 1.3Bn, the situation is so different. Take for example Wahid Miyan’s biryani in Lucknow. His sons run the two eateries now and with great elan. The picture on the left shows you one of the places. Has no ambience to talk about, is located in a hard to find bylane and their food stocks run out by 10pm every night. He sells the standard set of kebabs available all over Lucknow, biryani and some specialty food as well.
All the basics of retailing theory fail here. No location! No replenishment till the customers keep arriving! No great shopping atmosphere! But, works purely on quality of merchandise and word of mouth. What also works in this case is the lack of interest (from the owner) to perpetually expand his business. He is very happy (I spent time talking to him) with what he makes and remain in his niche. Its completely a different ballgame out here and this is why retailing in India will always be different. and I hope it remains that way instead of the nameless, faceless retailing of the west which totally lacks character.