Exploring the Retailer`s Perspective: Interview 04Madiha Syedain
Retailers carry the economic backbone of the retail industry. Unfortunately, the retail business of Pakistan is very scattered and in dire need of a proper organization to fill the gap between the retailer and the company.
The team of Pakretailers.com meets up with an experienced retailer Muhammad Shahid Mushtaq of Shahid Store, PCSIR in Lahore who talks about the issues faced by the retailers in Pakistan.
Like many other hardworking retailers, Muhammad Shahid Mushtaq and his two brothers are running a family retail business for the last many years. Having experience of 30 years in the retail venture, Shahid is well aware of the issues and problems related to the retail industry.
His other brothers work according to a set routine and have set the time of three to eight hours to manage the business. While talking about distributors’ visit, he commented, “approximately 10 to 12 distributors come to our store on a regular basis and we use mobiles to communicate with them. Order takers are also another mode of communication for us. The representatives of various companies visit the store, take orders and deliver weekly supplies. ”
As far as the supply issue is concerned, he commented that it is ‘unpredictable’ “the supply of well-reputed companies consisting of shampoos, tea or surf comes once a week.” Shahid showed disappointed that the trade margin is very low and they don’t know much about it because companies/distributors do not tell them. When the monthly bill is calculated, we try to find out our profit margins.”
The matter of trade promo or new product information travels through word of mouth. “When the product campaign or promo ends, we are informed. The order taker hides information in a deliberate manner,” said Mushtaq. He also shared his ‘reservation’ regarding the display of new products in his general store. “We do not take new items, since we are not sure about the sale of it’ otherwise, we tell the company representative that we would keep it but would pay them on a sales basis. Another option which we follow is to make the product available next time,” commented the owner in a clear manner. The retailer Shahid and his team receive a financial settlement with the company/distributor on weekly business.
The retailer is keen to decorate his shop but emphasized that it becomes difficult to handle excited order takers, who try to ‘overlap’ the promotions of various companies in this process because this leads to negativity in the eyes of the company. Another way of promotion is through well spacious wracks of the general store which carry the interesting front for consumers, company and the distributor. This with a promise of a fair margin.
Muhammad Shahid is not an avid mobile app user as his two brothers use it keenly. Addressing the challenges of the retail industry, he told that there is a serious issue of expiry, most companies do not care, when we tell them about expiry products. The distributor ignores us deliberately and tries to delay matters for days.
There is no end to retailers’ problems beginning from no or less information on trade margin, unfair profit margins, and supply issues. However, he is hopeful that things will improve in the retail industry and stressed the companies to provide better margins and inform retailers, as the country is going through severe economic crises and survival is becoming tough. He further suggested that expiry products should come into the immediate attention of the company and it should respond in a timely manner. “Well reputed companies keep regular checks but prior feedback with a company can make the retail business more successful for life,” said the owner.
Special Thanks to:
Video Facilities & Post: Team Pak Retailers
Written Content: Madiha Syedain
Subtitles: Zainab Khan
Interview Arrangements: Behzad Najam, Haider Ali