Is it really possible to compete with the MNCs on shelf in the present retail environment ?
Trying to compete with the MNCs following their way of advertisement and supply is never going to be a success story unless you are an MNC with a huge initial funding. But we are firm that you can compete with them if you follow a different and a more cost-effective model which facilitates you to monitor the market closely. First don’t look into what they have done, start working out the way which would be feasible for you. Knowing more about the retailer and the consumer is going to be the vital part of your business where you would take small and quick decisions in a more customized manner to have a winning score on the retail platform.
Why is that a local brand not able to sustain business for a long period in India ?
The problem with the local brands which fail in the Indian retail industry are increasing year after year. This is due to some confusion on the fundamentals. We see a lot of local brands that opt for expensive promotions and advertisement as they believe that telling about their product would raise sales. We totally differ from this idea. Sales should be your ultimate advertisement. Think big and start very small. All that you should keep doing is to increase sales day by day to facilitate a stable trade empire. Trying to expand instantly would drag you back to square one. Just be focused on the product and the end user, don’t concentrate on publicity.
Why should we follow different launch strategies for different places in India ?
We have burnt our fingers quite a lot of times when we launch a brand across states in India. We can never have a same launch strategy for all the cities. Certain places in India are really receptive to new products and are self- serving when it is just placed on right retail outlets, but there are places where a instore promotor has to be appointed to explain the features and the convince the targets. It’s all about what to do where and the answer would come only after various trials. This is what is referred as intuition and experience by aged retailers in India.
Why is a proper well-organized product launch necessary ?
Well begun is half done. According to our statistical analysis, 78% of the crowd in a retail market in a residential area buy from the same shop, people somehow settle with a shop for their daily needs. This percentage goes down to 43% on shops in tourist regions. So doing a perfect launch on the stores for the initial 3 months would directly reach more than 80% of the repeat customers of a store. If your product has a lot of technical inputs or is one among a lot of similar competitive product, it is very important to have a on store marketing camping. Most of the brands fail to understand this. Launch is the most important step that you should focus on. Launching small, correcting certain spoilers in that trail and scaling step by step is the best thing that would definitely work for the Indian retail market.
What are the common procedures that you’ll have to follow in the Indian retail store system to place your product in their store ?

Each and every store has their own set of rules when it comes to purchase of a new brand or a new product. But there are certain common procedures that are followed, some of them are:

1. Vendor registration - One should provide all the trading documents to list as a vendor of the store and should get an approval from the purchase department to supply the products to the store.

2. Bar Code registration – This is to register the SKU in the store’s inventory and billing systems. In most cases there would be a bar code registration fee for all the stores when it comes to modern trade.

3. Listing and placement charges – These are charges that would apply to place the product on shelf in a place which you prefer. Just entering a store has no value unless you are visible to the consumers, and that is why these charges are coined as visibility charges.

What are the common questions that an Indian retail store owner would ask for ?

Margin is the most constrain for many. Most of the questions are just asked to get answers which would support the retailer to demand for higher retail margins. Not all are money oriented, there are few who are really focused to give good products to their customers. But would always ask questions that would give them a surety that the products would move well on the store. Some of the questions that retailers would ask are:

1. What is the significant difference between your product and the ones that are already listed in their store ?

2. Justification for the MRP

3. Promotions that you would offer (like buy 1 get 1 free)

4. TV commercials

5. Frequency of visits and supply

What are the questions that you should ask yourself before jumping into the sea of retail branding ?

There are a few prerequisites which has to be fulfilled before you think of entering the Indian physical stores.

1. Do you have the production capacity to serve the market which you have planned to supply with the same quality ?

2. Do you have a strong backup for cash flow in case of bad debts or initial improper reception for your products to sustain the business longer ?

3. What is your supply strategy ?

4. What plans do you have to handle product returns ?

5. Do you think that the product would earn you at least more than the bank interest for your investment when you answer the above questions ?

What are the customizations that you will have to do on branding before you launch a product to different cities in India ?
The most important of all customizations is the Language. Labels and content has to be customized according to the target place. In some cases a customization on the offers and placements are crucial. Please don’t do for a monotonous packaging for all the cities in India. People are different, their tastes and preferences are not the same in every part of India. Reaching out to know what they would like to buy is the first thing that one should work on before trying to retail.
What should you do to scale up after your product’s success on online stores ?
Once you see that your products are very successful on online grounds, you must validate the repeat customer rates. If you find them to be high, you would already be aware of the locations in which your product sells more. Try to enter the retail stores there. In spite of the online boom, there are many in India who prefer the buying from their local store. In most part of India, shopping is a major entertainer. If you think that you are successful online, then get ready to be more successful. Try to enter in the market where more of your demand comes from. Most of the product developers start retailing in their own city and tries to manipulate the growth with it. You should definitely jump head over heels into making your product available for more audience.
Is just staying as a product available online, advisable ?
Staying as a product available online, advisable ? a. This question definitely has a binary answer. One should go with any based on the following analysis. I can give you some guidelines on how should think when this question strikes you. In what rate is your sales increasing ? How many costumers have returned for more of your product ? If the question for the first is positive and the second is not, you should go back and work on the product and should just remain online (this is not the right time to launch the product on physical stores). If you find both to be positive, why should you restrict yourself to just a small window ? Get into the bigger picture of the largest industry.
How big should the size of the market be when you launch the product ?
Selecting the right market size is not as simple as it appeals to be. Selecting a very small or a very big market coverage would turn disastrous. According to what we have experienced, we would urge you to start with at least a number which should be somewhere close to half the size of your manufacturing capacity.
Why is it important to have a minimum inventory on all grounds ? And how are you going to manage that ?
Inventory is money which would keep losing its value when time passes. It is the major place which affects cash flow. Maintaining a minimum inventory is not a trick to increase profitability, it has become a survival skill to resist the highly competitive Indian retail market. Some small and new brand owners, think that inventory management is all about maintain a minimum stock at their warehouses, but its much more that what you could imagine. Knowing about your customer’s inventory and planning parallel to their future needs is very simple said than done. First start to measure everything that is not consumed. Have accurate inventory reports on all grounds to facilitate analysis and quick implementations. Managing inventory is more important and misleading than money management.