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A STUDY OF CONSUMER PERCEPTION OF CONSUMER CO-OPERATIVE STORE A CASE STUDY OF APNA BAZAAR *Manish Kumar Rai, *Suman Saurabh

h & **Dr.R.Gopal

Abstract Consumer's cooperation is a very wide term and includes consumers supply societies, consumers thrift societies, cooperation insurance societies etc. These societies were originally organized to restrict unfair trading practices of private retailers and to prevent the consumers from exploitation of the various measures taken by the government to hold the price line. The development of the consumer cooperative stores has by far attracted the greatest attention. Today in this cut throat competition in the market between different retail formats where consumer is treated as god, and consumer satisfaction is every companys goal. But due to all this threats being surrounded the consumer cooperative stores which are owned by the people and dont believe in profit and gives more importance to consumers needs and wants With the advent of modem market economy the position has radically changed and growing number of market functionaries have interposed themselves, adding to the margins at various stages. The result is that, now there is often a considerable price-spread between the producer and the consumer. Cooperatives of producers on the one hand and the consumers on the other, offer one of the practical means of reducing this price-spread; Of the various measures taken by the Government to hold the price line, the development of the consumer cooperatives has by far attracted the greatest attention. The Objective of this study is to know the reach of consumer cooperatives among consumers and their perception about consumer cooperatives retail store. Key Words: Consumer cooperative store, Retail, Consumer Behavior.

*Ast. Professor (Business Management), Padmashree Dr D Y Patil University, Navi Mumbai ** Director Business Management, Padmashree Dr D Y Patil University, Navi Mumbai

Introduction: The philosophy of co-operation endeavors to empower isolated individuals who are individually weak, to come together in a democratic manner on the basis of equality to achieve the desired common economic interests. The concept of cooperation emphasizes on the collective action o individuals to achieve common goal which may not have been possible for on isolated individual. The movement has drawn inspiration from similar endeavors throughout the world. Nidhis were a precursor to the Indian cooperatives. In this scheme, the members used to contribute monthly for a period. They were give loan facility which could be repaid in installments. The co-operative movement has gone from strength-to-strength and today India has a strong movement catering to various sectors. (Bala Krishnamurthy, Shweta Dixit & Rachappa.S) The whole idea of Co-operative stores started in 1962 to serve people after the crisis of IndiaChina war to provide products at subsidized rates. This model has worked efficiently for more than four decades. A consumers' cooperative is a business owned by its customers for their mutual gain. It is a form of free enterprise that is oriented toward service rather than pecuniary profit. The customers or consumers of the goods and/or services the business provides are also the individuals who have provided the capital required to launch or purchase that enterprise. A consumers cooperative may be a supermarket, convenience stores, and other businesses owned by independently-owned, and run Co-operative societies, which benefit from joint coordination and co-operation in managing their businesses. As mutually-owned businesses, each member of a society has a shareholding equal to the sum they paid in when they joined. The first consumer cooperative store was established in Rochdale, England in 1844, and most co-ops are modeled after the same, original principles. They are based on open consumer membership, equal voting among members, limited customer services, and shared profits among members in the form of rebates generally related to the amounts of their purchases. Consumer cooperatives have gained widespread popularity throughout western and northern Europe, particularly in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain. Cooperatives typically emerge because community residents believe that local retailers' prices are too high or service is substandard. According to the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 Sec.2 (9) defines a consumer co-operative society as a society, the object of which is: The procurement, production or processing and the distribution of goods to or, the performance of other services for its members as also other consumers. The distribution among its members and customers, of the profit occurring from such procurement, production, processing and distribution are in proportion as prescribed by rules or byelaws of the society. The consumer cooperatives are playing an important role in providing essential and other commodities to the consumers at reasonable prices. The consumer cooperatives have continued to help in strengthening the distributive network of essential commodities and stabilizing price line to the extent possible for protecting, the interest of the consumers against artificial scarcity,

overcharging of prices, supply of sub standard goods and the unfair trade practice restored by private traders. The retail market in India is estimated at about US$ 410 billion and constitutes about 60% of private consumption and about 35% of India's GDP. With Indian GDP expected to grow at 7-8 % in the next coming years, the retail market is expected to touch US $860 billion by 2018. In recent years, this sector has witnessed a lot of interest from both domestic and global players, who have committed investments worth US $30 billion, which will lead to increase in the share of modern retail from the current 4.5% to almost 25% of the total retail market by 2018. Cooperatives entering the organized retail sector have to face different types of challenges: 1. They are weak to attract good manpower; the low cost model does not permit them to be competitive with the retail majors. 2. Their expenditure on advertisement is almost nil so only references to get customers. 3. They do not concentrate on packaging and attracting customers 4. They do not have promotional campaigns None the less, they are known for quality, simplicity, feeling of belongingness and trustworthiness. Research Methodology Definition of the problem Today India is at the verge of developed country, filled with lot of opportunities and people have a good income level and spending capacity. Due to this the retail scenario changed its design and formed various sectors and formats giving the people various choices to make. Though the government cooperatives made by the people have remained same. So as India is a young populated country there are very few to visit there stores. They should change and provide a new shopping experience to the customers. Primary data: 1) Interview Researcher had interviewed the customers of Apna Bazaar regarding their shopping experience. 2) Field Work Researcher visited Apna Bazaar mall and collected data. Interview was conducted and researcher collected information about the experience of the customers in Apna Bazaar store in Navi Mumbai so the survey was restricted up to Navi Mumbai. The research has been conducted in the APNA BAZAAR store Area of research- Vashi, Navi Mumbai Sample Size-:

Sample Size is very significant part of the research because it shows the representation of all the customers coming to the stores. It is one of the significant bases of the project on which the whole research depends Sample size- 80 Secondary Data: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Retailing management author Swapna Pradhan Retail Management by V. V. Gopal Magazines Newspapers Website

Literature review-: Retailing Management by Swapna Pradhan, Second Edition. Retailing Management (Text and Cases) by Swapna Pradhan has presented Retailing Management from the Indian perspective. The second edition of the book seeks to expand coverage in the important topical areas of merchandise management, customer service, retail marketing communication, and financial planning among others. The focus of this book has been on explaining the concepts & practices in retailing management, particularly in the Indian/ Asian setting. The author has taken a practical approach to make the treatment sound and interesting. This book has two unique features- the retail snapshot and case studies of Indian retailers. Retail snapshots have been provided to illustrate concepts and practices and to enhance leaning. The section on cases for study provides with insights into the strategies adopted by some of the leading Indian retailers. Retail Management by Chetan Bajaj Third Edition This comprehensive textbook, tailored to meet the needs of MBA students studying retail management in India, contains detailed analysis of marketing management, market segmentation as well as product and brand management strategies. The text is fully supported by numerous examples and charts and diagrams. Retail Management by V. V. Gopal First edition Jan 2006 The retail sector in India is highly fragmented with the organized retail contributing to only 2% of the total retail sales. The retail sector in developed countries was also highly fragmented by the emergence of large chains like Wal-Mart, Sears, and Mc Donalds led to rapid growth of organized retail and growing consolidation of the retail industry in the developed countries. Indian Retail Space by Nitin Mehrotra March 2006 Second Edition This book tries to analyze the Indian Organized retail sector in the light of the emerging landscape. It tries to capture the organized retail sector characteristics, with an overview of the current status and also depicts the future scenario. It is broadly divided into two parts, the first part, covering the industry analysis and, the second part, presenting the brief profiles of top rung organized retail companies in India. It adopts a lucid approach by presenting available

facts to establish trends, the changing competitive landscape and the fierce battle for gaining critical market share among leading players. A strong correlation of economic growth, coupled with changing consumer behavior is leading to increased penetration of organized retailing in India. It also provides insights into changing buying trends, strong global interest and entry of leading Indian corporate giants in various formats to join this ongoing retail revolution. This is an attempt to present facts, along with showcasing the lacunae in the system with regard to available infrastructure support, government policies and human resources, required to make organized retailing in India a revolution. Retail Management : strategic Approach by Prentice Hall 4th Edition March 2006 Covers major retailing topics, including consumer behavior, information systems, store location, operations, service retailing, the retail audit, retail institutions, franchising, human resource management, computerizations, and retailing in a changing environment. Its decisionmaking orientation provides a real-world approach focusing on large and small retailers. It also provides the latest information from current trade press sources. Many chapters have been revised to capture the diversity, varied perspectives, and current spirit of retailing. Retaining its features and strategic organization with coverage of international and ethical issues in practice; this market leader provides a balance between theory and practice, and useful career information. Covers major retailing topics, including consumer behavior Retail Management by Michael Levy 6th Edition April 2008 It provides a balanced treatment of strategic, "how to," and conceptual material, in a highly readable and interesting format. This edition continues its cutting edge coverage on the latest topics and developments in retailing including globalization; customer relationship management programs; multi-channel retailing; supply chain management, the use of the Internet to improve operating efficiencies and customer service; and legal, ethical and cooperate social responsibility issues. Retailing Management by Levy and Weitz is the bestselling textbook in the retailing market. Known for its strategic look at retailing and current coverage, this new 6th edition continues to be organized around a model of strategic decisionmaking. Managing for Higher Retail Success by DMS Retail 6th Edition There are proven ways of significantly increasing your sales volume, increasing profitability and achieving higher customer retention rates. All of this will finally be within your control after reading and applying the proven principles in Managing for Higher Retail Success. You will no longer be caught in the trapthe trap of focusing on lack of traffic or weather or other things that are beyond your control. This guide will empower you to move forward and succeed despite many obstacles. You will quickly begin to approach every new day with excitement and renewed enthusiasm. You will be in control of most of the factors that have real impact on your results. Managing for Higher Retail Success will show you how to get and stay, in the driver's seat. If you are managing, that is where you have to be. You simply cant let circumstances throw you off course. You simply cant settle for mediocre results. You are in a competitive industry and you are a winner who wants to achieve great results and lead a great team. Retail Management by Barry Berman Ninth edition

An Overview of Strategic Retail Management; Situation Analysis; Targeting Customers and Gathering Information; Choosing a Store Location; Managing a Retail Business; Merchandise Management and Pricing; Communicating with the Customer; Putting it all Together Retail Store Management by Paul Henry Nystrom sixth edition It provides a balanced treatment of strategic, "how to," and conceptual material, in a highly readable and interesting format. This edition continues its cutting edge coverage on the latest topics and developments in retailing including globalization; customer relationship management programs; multi-channel retailing; supply chain management, the use of the Internet to improve operating efficiencies and customer service; and legal, ethical and cooperate social responsibility issues. Retailing Management by Levy and Weitz is the bestselling textbook in the retailing market. Known for its strategic look at retailing and current coverage, this new 6th edition continues to be organized around a model of strategic decisionmaking. Winning at Store Management by DMS Retail, second edition Winning at Store Management success manual illustrates how to hire the best and training them for ultimate success. In addition to hiring the best and training them well, managing your time and the many changing priorities you have every day is incredibly important. But its very challenging, isnt it? Not with the skills youll develop with this manual. Youll easily manage every hour, every day, every week and so on. Youve heard that old saying Plan your work and work your plan? Its so true. Planning and managing your time will make a huge difference to your success in Retail Management. With this manual, youll even become highly effective at long range planning. Gap Analysis: After analyzing all the literature available we have found that there is a huge scope for the study in the areas of Consumer perception and their loyalty to consumer co-operative store and henceforth the topic has been chosen and likely to continue in forthcoming papers with other dimension related to these issues. Objective of the study

1) 2) 3)

To study the consumer perception for the consumer cooperative stores. To study the floor level store operations system of Apna Bazaar. To give recommendations to the consumer co-operative store Apna Bazaar.

Discussion & Results:In this study we are trying to find out the store operation overview as well as the floor level operation at Apna Bazaar hence in this context we have taken qualitative test and we met Mr.

Mahesh Kambli, CEO of the co-operative retail chain, Apna Bazaar, which sells provisions, food products and medicines, marks fresh food and vegetables segment as the focus area to sustain its growth. The plans are to consolidate on what already exists. The following question we discussed to understand the overall store operation at Apna Bazaar. Q) What is the current strength of Apna Bazaar? Any plans to increase the number of outlets? A) Apna Bazaar has 86 outlets, of which 46 are company owned and the rest are franchisees. The network includes seven department stores, six supermarkets, 26 food stores and five specialty chemist stores. We're now planning improvement on whatever we presently run. Q) Looking ahead, what are the latest plans? A) We are more in to consolidation than expansion, and to form strategic alliances. We will soon partner with the Japanese Consumer Co-operative Union (JCCU) in areas of training the staff force, visual merchandising and setting up a co-operative food brand. The company is also foraying into co-branding exercises to offer value to its consumers. We have already introduced a new section - Food and Vegetables, operational in stores at Vashi, Andheri, Charkop, Mulund and Fort. We have started with the Mulund store, and it is the first consumer cooperative store sector in India to have air-conditioned. Upgrading the skills of our manpower, create vehicle parking facility are also in our agenda. We are focusing on the new generation customers, and talks are on with PlanetM, RPG Group etc. We may have a tie-up with Citibank on co-branding. Regarding credit card, we are on the verge of signing a MOU with SBI, the details of which cannot be disclosed. As visual merchandising, a new way for presenting the products will be introduced. Q) What is the idea behind establishing alliances with the likes of Japanese Consumer Cooperative Union? A) These alliances will be based on exchanging strengths in areas of training, visual merchandising and developing co-operative brands. Their expertise can be used for ours stores that are the value-additions. These brands will be cheaper than the existing ones, and the quality maintained. Q) How far has the upgrading skill of manpower reached? A) We have roped in consultants to impart training, done through in-house facilities and affiliations with the Asoka Mehta Institute of Management and Research. Talks on an exchange programme of our personnel to JCCU are going on. All the stores have started staff training. Q) What will be the new focus? Also, which section of the society are you looking at? A) We have marked the fresh food and vegetables segment as the focus area to sustain growth. They are currently available at four stores, and will extend it to other outlets soon. We are looking at building an all-round image by targeting the upper middle class segment as well. We are bringing in initiatives like specialized counters and food courts at its department stores and super markets. People in their 40s are already coming to us. What we are targeting now is the still younger generation, the people who possess spending power.

Q) What has been happening on the Inventory management? A) To ensure minimum inventory and maximum rotation, the plan is to centralize the supply chain management. While the super markets would be serviced directly by the companies, the requirements of franchisee outlets would be met by Apna Bazaar to ensure better co-ordination. Back-end automation has already been started in some stores with specific emphasis in areas of inventory management. The front-end and back-end of six department stores in Mumbai will be computerized. We have already tied up with Radhakrishna Hospital Services (RKHS) for supply chain management, who will manage the back-end supply chain management. Q) What is your annual turnover? A) We are projecting sales of Rs 165 crore this fiscal year, including the franchisee contribution of Rs 30-35 crore, down by Rs 10 crore from last year. We have closed down our export division to concentrate only on the core activities. The processing unit at Jalgaon is also closed down. The spices and dal factory at Taloja are being outsourced now. These moves have affected the sales. Meanwhile, we have stopped the plans of going online, on the lines of Sangam Direct, the online initiative of HLL. The home delivery concept would not work unless there is delivery density. As such, the earlier plan to start a call centre parallel to this is also halted. Q) What has been the response to Apna MetLife Policy? A) Issues regarding Apna Life Policy cannot be disclosed; furthermore IRDA clearance must be acquired. The response is very good for the policy. Q) What do you want Apna Bazaar to be known for? A) When it comes to food it has to be Apna Bazaar that must come into one's mind. I will say the punch line for Apna Bazaar will be - when you think about genuine products, think about Apna Bazaar.

To understand the floor level store operation and to identify customer behavior regarding shopping at Apna Bazaar Consumer co-operative, A survey has been carried out with random selected respondent through a systematic questionnaire.

SURVEY FINDINGS -: Q.1) What makes you to visit the store?

SAMPLE SIZE-:80

Customers visit the store because the store provides them with affordable price that is below MRP, which satisfies their daily needs. Apna Bazaar follows the EDLP (Everyday Low price) pricing strategy as the organization doesnt believe in making profits.

Others Trust
Price Quality Trust

Quality Price

Others

Q.2) Are you satisfied with the ambience created by the store? The customers feel the ambience created by the store is not that appealing likewise that is the product display, aisle space, dull lights, flooring etc. The products are not displayed on the racks properly as it creates the problem for the customer. There is very less space between the racks, so during over crowed days it becomes very congested for picking up the product. The lights are very dull and very poor flooring. Q.3) Does the Apna bazaar products give guarantee? The customers agree the products available in the store do give guarantee because each product goes under tests conducted by the staff as well as the brands , they are against duplication and adulterated products as the store is not in greed for profit and they are well known that it can hamper their image in the market. As well as it makes them unique in the market as compare to other retail formats.
No

Yes
Yes No

N o
Yes

Yes

N o

Q.4) Are you satisfied by the customer service provided by Apna Bazaar? The customer service provided by Apna Bazaar is satisfactory because they dont provide after sales service like home delivery or warranty for the electronic gadgets .They dont have a specific parking available for the customer for their vehicles. The staff out in Ana Bazaar are not well trained they dont give proper attention to the customers while queries. Q.5) Do you feel comfortable with the cash machines during billing transaction? Apna Bazaar is always over crowded whether it is weekdays or at weekends, so it becomes difficult for the staff to handle the crowd .During the billing system as do follow the cash machine system which is time consuming and not that accurate which makes the customer to wait for longer duration.

No
Yes

Yes

No

No Yes

Yes No

Q.6) Do you require after sales service? The customer requires after sales service as they buy in bulk for them to it becomes a necessity. As the electronic gadgets must along with warranty and guarantee with proper service for one year.
N o

Yes

Yes No

Q.7) Are you aware about METLIFE Insurance tie-up with Apna Bazaar? As there is no promotion of the scheme in the store nor the staff makes an effort to make the customers to know about it. But there are few who our in touch with the news paper is aware it is lack of marketing done in part of the store. Marketing which plays a very important role in todays market to make the customers aware about the companies on going process.

No Yes

Yes No

Q.8) According to you what does Apna Bazaar lack? The customer has given more focus on customer service and security. Security because there is no CCTV or a security near the entrance so the customers are not that save

Go o d A b c m ien e

Se rity cu C stom u er S ervice In form n atio T n ech ology C stom S ice u er erv G ood A bien m ce
In rm fo atio n T h o gy ec n lo

S ecurity

while shopping in the store. Shoplifting is a common fashion going on in the stores, due to lack of good security in the store. Information technology is not that satisfactory or the ambience been created. Q.9) Are you satisfied by the private label products of Apna Bazaar? The private labels of Apna Bazaar they are Pickles, Oils, Masalas etc which available in compare to other companies private label customers prefer to buy the products of Apna are of good quality and guarantee. Rice, Wheat, cheaper rates products. So Bazaar which
N o
Ys e

Ys e

N o

Suggestions given by the customers-:

According to customers there should be some progress in the following factors like-: Security Information Technology Customer Service Good Ambience

As there is no security in Apna bazaar as there is no CCTV or any other technology .The customers are not save while shopping and there are more cases of shop lifting. There should be more security guards near the entrance of the store.

They are very satisfied with the private label products like oil, Masalas, rice, wheat etc.

As they are available in affordable prices as compare to the kirana rates.

There are frequent suggestions given by the customers are-: -Good Ambience -Trained Staff - Security - Good Product Display

- Bar code system - Technology RECOMMENDATIONS-:

1) Getting more techs savvy i.e. adopting new methods for billing like computers and having electronic displays of the currents offers.

2) Have shorter size of racks so customers are able to reach the products more easily.

3) Change existing iron racks with steels ones which are polished.

4) Government interference has had a major effect on the democratic setup of Apna Bazaar. Therefore, lesser dependence on government should be opted for Government should help stores like Apna Bazaar with credit at cheaper interest rates.

5) Changing according to times is inevitable. Apna Bazaar has to change its traditional viewpoints. It should adopt new techniques and accept change wholeheartedly.

6) Recruit more staff and train existing ones on providing better customer service.

7) Get trolleys of different sizes i.e. small, medium and large for the convenience of customers.

8) Provide valet parking or else have a spacious parking area for its customers.

9) Have electronic detectors at the entrance and exit points to prevent shop lifting.

IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATION TO SUSTAIN IN TODAYS MARKET-:

1) Change the ambience:-

-Changing the flooring from tiles to marbles

-Making the store centrally air conditioned -Increase the size of the store vertically and horizontally to give a more spacious feel. -Increase the number of cash counters so the rush will decrease. -Improving the lighting to make the store look brighter

2) Train the employees -: Though Apna Bazaar offers self-service, the staff needs to be more customer friendly, and interact with the customers. There is also a need for professionalism.

3) Proper Division of staff -: This is necessary as there can be overcrowding of staff at some places.

4) Introduction of a bar coding system -: To mark items would make things easier for billing and payment procedures. The management of accounts would also be easier.

5) Going Global -: In the fast moving market of consumer commodities, it is very essential for Apna Bazaar to understand the importance of making their customers happy and thus they must adopt reforms in their approach to work.

References:

Research Paper: Dr.K.T Chandy: consumer cooperative problem and challenges

Retail Management by V. V. Gopal

Retail Management by Swapna Pradhan

www.apnabazaar.com

Retailer,10th November 2010.

India today 25th November 2009