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Respect Your Retailer
Understand Retail Behaviour


Brands are built in the minds and hearts of consumers. Many elements of marketing help building brands. One of the most important ingredients is the retailer. Therefore in brand building respect your retailer.

Is the understanding of the consumer behaviour sufficient to build your brand in the Indian context? I think it is necessary but not sufficient. In addition, it is important to understand retailer behaviour. In fact, sensitivity to the behvioural patterns of both consumers and retailers is the best thing for your brand’s health.

Why? Simply because it is the interaction between the retailer and consumer that leads to a sale. The quality of this interaction is among the most important determinants of not only your brand’s market share, but also of whether your spend on advertising your brand is being fruitfully translated to purchase conversion. Despite consumer demand for a well-advertised brand, if a competitor’s brand is pushed strongly by the retailer, chances of a lost opportunity on a sale are bright. If the retailer has managed to convert his customer to a ‘regular’, the latter could well entrust enough faith in him to consider his recommendations seriously.

The next concerns : service from the field force. He expects regular visits so that while remaining behind his counter, he can have his problems addressed and his information needs satisfied. Third, he looks for an assurance on regular supply before he puts in the effort to build the brand with the consumer. His regular customers are as important to him as loyal consumers are to brand marketers. If he is not able to come up with a brand after pushing it with his customers, he loses face and runs the danger of perhaps losing out on that much money or, god forbid, even his customer. No way is he going to risk that.

Finally, yes, he does look for wholesome, juicy profits and margins, including attractive terms of payment. The significant point, though, is that in his list of priorities, margins come fourth. The customer comes first, increasingly so in an environment that is getting highly competitive for his business.

That’s the whole point. Are you, as the marketer, putting in the effort to understand your retailer well enough to contribute to increasing his store traffic, helping him to increase his revenue through satisfied customers? For, he’s the guy capable of retaining your consumer for you over a lifetime, or even over generations.

Thus without the cooperation, participation and help from the retailer you may not be able to build brands. Hence, for profitable and vibrant brand building respect your retailer.


A marketeer should grow his brand by respecting the retailer. Earlier, I had suggested to understand retail behaviour for success.

Now, I would recommend crossing the 7C’s for retailer and brand success.

I would recommend that 7C’s be crossed before you can attain brand retail effectiveness to ensure healthy channel management.

The first “C” I would recommend is COLLABORATION

The approach should be to collaborate through a win-win situation between the Marketeers and the Retailer.

A healthy collaborative approach between retailers and marketeers is able to understand each others needs and work together so that both get a larger pie to share. This could be in the form of joint promotions, displays, demonstrations or other innovative ideas.

The second “C” to be crossed is CONFLICT & CONFONTRATION

Conflict & Confrontation are a part of life but need to be either avoided or settled fairly & amicably.

Confrontation and conflict do not yield good results. In the short term it may seem that through conflict you can win, but this is not true. It is better to keep away from this.

The third “C” I would recommend is CLOUT
There would be an increase in clout in the retail environment, which should be handled by marketeers in a healthy manner.

As retail chains develop it is but natural that the retail chains would expect more from the marketeers. This is because of higher volume. Marketeers should handle this maturely and positively.

The fourth “C” to be crossed is COSTS & MARGIN

Costs to the marketeer and margin to the retailer requires fine balancing for both to succeed.

Instead of having a tug of war, it is better to sit down and look at a mutual benefit.

The fifth “C” to be crossed is COMMUNICATION
Regular communication through a two-way process between Retailer and Marketeer would ensure a healthy relationship.

Lack of communication causes misunderstanding, hence plentiful of communication is indeed necessary to build up strong relationships with the retailer.

The sixth “C” to be crossed is CONCERN

Marketeer should have empathy and concern towards the retailer in a sensitive manner and Retailers must be respected.

The marketeer must try to put himself in the retailers shoes and understand their hopes and aspirations and their problems and despairs, so that there is a better appreciation of the relationship rather than depreciation of the relationship.

The seventh “C” to be crossed is CONSUMER

In the process of interaction between the Retailer and the Marketeer the Consumer must not be forgotten. In fact the consumer is the prime focus and priority for any business.

The consumer is the most important person to be satisfied, the consumer is critical in the growth and profits of both retailers and marketeers. Therefore only a satisfied consumer determines brand loyalty and store loyalty.

Thus in “Respect your retailer” article, it is important not only to understand retail behaviour but also to cross the 7C’s of retail for brand success.

The author is Brand Guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Tel: 022 28477700 / 7701 Fax: 28477699 E-mail: jkapoor@samsika.com

Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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