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Enter the want makers

mumbai Updated: Dec 08, 2010 01:40 IST
Lina Choudhury-Mahajan
Lina Choudhury-Mahajan
Hindustan Times
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A regular 10-hour day at work for Mayank Badola means interacting with customers, visiting markets in his area, looking at potential store sites and ensuring the stores in his jurisdiction are running smoothly.

The 27-year-old regional retail manager for Titan Watches will tell you this is no small task, considering that in a watch market worth Rs 3,500 crore, Titan has captured more than one-third of the market.

A graduate from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, Badola decided to join Titan because it is an established brand.

The merchandising and retail industry in India has unbelievable growth potential, Badola says. That is why professionals like him are in great demand.

Merchandising involves techniques and practices used to make commercial ventures profitable.

In a retail store or your neighbourhood mall, merchandising means everything from how products are displayed in the window and inside the store to how much the staff knows about the products and how they convert

window-shoppers into customers.

“Today, merchandising is about large-format stores, training your staff to serve customers well and the right placement and pricing of your brand. Retail merchandising follows the pentagon rule — location, product, price, people and brand value,” says V Govindraj, vice-president (integrated retail), Titan Industries.

He says only 5% of the Indian retail market is organised. “It is a $400-billion business. There’s huge scope for growth and we need fresh talent and new skill,” he says.

The retail market has changed drastically over the years, experts say. Merchandisers and retail chains are expected to be equipped with a whole new set of skills.

For Badola, for example, the watch shop has gone from a hole in the wall in a busy market to swank showrooms located on high streets. “It’s all about giving the customer a great experience and meeting his or her requirements with the best product we can offer,” says Badola, who is based in Mumbai but supervises Titan markets in the rest of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

Badola’s day at work begins with holding conference calls with store managers in areas he supervises. He has to take stock of the stores’ sales figures, renovations and other requirements.

Customers today are also a lot more aware and demanding, which makes his job more challenging. “The customer is judging us at every step and we cannot falter,” he says. “It is our job to give him the best service, whether it is at 10 in the morning or 9.30 at night,” Badola says.

Badola, who still finds time to write about his day in his personal diary for an hour every night, is gearing up for busier days ahead.

Titan has tied up with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and FCUK and also markets watches of these brands through Titan showrooms. “Customer awareness about brands is very high nowadays. We believe in catering to all segments,” Badola says.

Pankaj Gupta, who heads consumer and retail practice at the Tata Strategic Management Group, says modern retail is growing very fast.

“The last two years have been a period of consolidation that continues to hold. Recent research confirms that the top eight retail markets comprise 20% of the aggregate business in the country,” Gupta says. “Mumbai is one of the leading cities in modern trade.”

Employment opportunities in the sector are varied. You could be a merchandiser like Badola or handle the back office or be a part of the customer service team. Starting salaries are modest, at Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh a year, but the money increases as you gain experience.