A call for small

There was a time when a large format store was the rage. Today small is the call for retailers. They are following the trend with a dash of innovation to keep the consumers flowing in. Here is the latest from the scene
Croma Zip Store

Small format stores are springing up all around the country. Probably which begun as an effective tool during the slow down, has now become a trend in retail. How would you define a small format store? According to Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, small format stores can be defined as those between the area requirements of 50 sq. ft – 250 sq. ft. 

Key players 
Not just the new entrants in retail, but the big format retailers are also showing a keen interest in this small format and are coming up with small stores. These stores are designed keeping in mind the limitations of space. Croma has introduced ‘Croma Zip’, a small format store. On the opening of the format, Ajit Joshi, MD and CEO, Infiniti Retail Limited said, “This new concept reflects a fundamental transition that our industry is going through. Given the pace of infrastructural developments including new clusters of residential areas and developing commercial areas, rising affluent population, changing lifestyles - there is a growing need for electronics stores. The zip format will help fuel the demand by its sheer presence in high footfall areas. Despite the small size, we expect these stores to draw new consumers to Croma and set the tone for an aggressive expansion. This new format of zip stores will mark the beginning of the penetration for Croma in both existing cities and newer towns.” Reebok introduced their Fish Fry Reebok stores for showcasing their ‘Fish Fry’ collection by Manish Arora. There are many others who are fast adapting to this format as well. Nilgiris intends to concentrate on small-format stores in the metros, tier-II and tier-III towns in south India, while ‘Provogue’ as its recast business strategy, shifted its focus on small format stores. Bharti Retail is also a part of the small format store bandwagon.

Advantages of small formats
Small stores spell small investments. Therefore, the very significant advantage of small format stores is that they are low on investment. The rentals are lower and further the cost of visual merchandising and designing of the store are also economical. Joshi spells out the advantages, “Faster roll-out because of easier availability of smaller floor plates, better throughout and profitability per square feet, easier operation, and lower operating costs.” If a store is smaller, the customer service can be more personalised making the consumers’ shopping experience a memorable one.  

Key to success
Though retailers are taking up the concept of small format stores, they need to keep in mind that the key to help them stand out is ‘innovation’. They need to be creative when designing the store. An eye catching theme and the use of bright and vibrant colours can do the trick for you. Joshi tells, “The store will have a trendy ambience, fresh face and a logo that has a new look with a dash of colour in it. It will attract the young people who are interested in the latest electronics and the format will be small, powerful and zippier!” In addition to that, you need to have in place an efficient supply chain operation to be able to make available the fill-up as and when required because as the store is small there will not be a lot of space available for the storage of the merchandise. Agreeing Joshi says, “Fixturing and layout should be carefully designed to avoid cramped feel and inventory management is critical.” 

If you have plans to open a new store and do not have a big space available, do not hesitate. Put in a little thought and you can plan and design a small store effectively. In addition, if it works out, your small store can make it big!

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