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Encourage small traders

Filed under: People and society by Hari
Posted on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 at 15:11 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 21:36 IST)

It's lucky I live in a country where superstores like Walmart haven't yet made an impact. I was reminded of this again, a few days back when I went to a small newly opened music store near my house. This shop not only offered a minimum discount of 10% for all products on display, they actually gave as much as 40-50% off MRP on many of the collections.

On more than one occasion I've come across an instance where a small shopkeeper/store owner is not only willing to give offer discounts to encourage sales, he is actually pleased to do so, in order to establish customer relationship. It's a myth that the bigger shops including supermarkets offer discounts because they can afford to. Fact is, they do enough business so they can afford to ignore individual customers far more easily and therefore they couldn't care less about customer satisfaction. The personal touch is also missing in the large supermarkets. Nobody even cares whether you're a regular customer for years at a supermarket (I know this by experience).

Big supermarkets and mega-stores offer (usually pathetic) discounts only to rid themselves of old stock and/or to undercut the competition and drive the small shopkeepers out of business. Apart from the ethical issues involved, indeed here's a good business reason for all of us to keep the small traders in business: preserve competition and don't let the supermarkets dominate the retail scene.

10 comment(s)

  1. Yeah, my wife and I try to buy from locally owned places here in Austin first before going to chains. And we never set foot in a Wal-Mart. We'll go to Target if we can't find elsewhere and if they don't have it, well, we'll just order it online from some mom and pop shop from that point on.

    Comment by drew (visitor) on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 @ 18:33 IST #
  2. I know Wal-Mart is very popular in the US, but what kind of prices do you get with the smaller stores? Are they competitive or struggling against the mega-stores and supermalls?

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 @ 19:00 IST #
  3. exactly hari, the quality they sell in discounts are pathetic and is worser than wat we have in our Tnagar platforms. frankly speaking Saravana stores gives far more best quality than these people.

    Comment by Logesh TamilSelvan (visitor) on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 @ 19:50 IST #
  4. The smaller stores will carry a higher price on most things, sometimes it's cheaper. Just really depends on what your after really. But that's one reason we try to stay local. Better for economy in not supporting the mega stores/chains for healthy competition and supporting local businesses. Better for environment as well.

    Comment by drew (visitor) on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 @ 00:47 IST #
  5. It's pretty hard where we live, because all the small town stores are gone. They closed up because the big stores could sell a lot cheaper. We have to drive 70 kms to get to Red Deer, and mostly what there is there is Walmart and stores like it.

    Comment by Tim (visitor) on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 @ 06:33 IST #
  6. Tim, I think the retail scene in the West is a lot different from what we have here, because the big superstores are already well entrenched and hence done the job of effectively wiping out the small trader. Mega-stores like Wal-Mart are not suited for a country like India where a large number of small traders thrive and drive the economic activity of the community around them. Throwing open the retail industry to globalization will destroy their livelihood.

    If/when the big supermalls drive the small traders completely out of business, they'll have a monopoly and therefore have no reason to offer any discounts.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 @ 07:40 IST #
  7. The smaller stores will carry a higher price on most things, sometimes it's cheaper.

    Drew, in India, it's the other way round currently. Big stores always seem to sell stuff at MRP and they couldn't care less because they get the crowds in any case. They attract the higher classes of society where people don't care about saving a few bucks and people shop for the ambience.

    On the other hand, since there are a large number of small traders in a country such as India, there is a lot of competition among them and they feel the need more than anybody else to establish customer relationships in order to boost their business (either through word-of-mouth recommendations or otherwise), so it's a slightly different kind of situation here.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 @ 07:56 IST #
  8. Where I'm at, the nearest Wal-Mart is 10 miles away, so it's a major inconvenience to go there. Unfortunately, it's really hard to find the kind of things we'd buy since they've already been driven out of business. What I really wish for are small corner grocery stores that you would find in Japan. It also doesn't help that I live in a uni town in denial.

    Comment by tuxdev (visitor) on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 @ 09:54 IST #
  9. Yes, tuxdev. I forgot to add that because of the geographical spread of small shops/stores, they are more conveniently accessible from residential/non-commercial areas.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 @ 12:02 IST #
  10. I appreciate your concern.

    Comment by Shrinidhi Hande (visitor) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 07:30 IST #

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