May 2008 | Sujata Agrawal

Star Bazaar for a shopping spree

Hypermarkets offer customers a value equation that includes quality and convenience in an unbeatable combination

Hypermarkets like Star Bazaar are changing the way people shop for their groceries and household essentials. People who used to visit the local shops and vegetable markets frequently are now buying at hypermarkets such as Star Bazaar that offer customers a variety of products at affordable prices, in a comfortable environment. But while affordability is a big factor for customers, they also seek value and quality which they know they will get at Star Bazaar, a Tata enterprise.

The uniqueness of each Star Bazaar store lies in the size and spread of its merchandise range. Shoppers can select from a large range of staples, fresh goods, apparel, luggage, consumer durables, household products and much more and also enjoy the benefit of generous reductions on the market rate.

"A customer who is buying in a hypermarket is, in his mind, comparing it with what is available elsewhere. There is always in the customer’s mind a value equation and we have to be able to deliver that," says Neeti Chopra, head, marketing, Trent.

The stores stock goods according to regional customer preferences, as customers in different regions favour different essentials. For instance, in Gujarat, people tend to stock up on their pulses whereas in northern India, basmati rice is a big item.

Star Bazaar is aware that people today look at value as a critical component while shopping. And that the first visit may be put down to curiosity, but customers will keep coming back only if they are satisfied with the choices, the quality and the value of the products on sale. So the big focus is on understanding its customers — who they are, what they want, what is relevant to them, and how to package it in a manner that makes the store more attractive to them.

Regionalism also comes into play in the back end of the retail operation — Star Bazaar has tied up with local and regional vendors for supplies and transportation of goods. The chain will focus largely on the metros; by year 2010, the chain hopes to have 20-25 stores across the country.

Fact file

The beginning: The first store opened in Ahmedabad in 2004.

The store: Operates in the hypermarket space. It stocks a whole range of products from food and grocery, to apparel, home and personal grooming products.

The spread: Four stores in three cities (Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Mumbai).