Aggressive comparative advertising by largest retail chain
Today malls and supermarkets dot all Indian cities and with more joining in the fray, competition is fierce. This is the first time that any supermarket (review tagged at the end) has advertised itself so aggressively though. At first I watched the TV commercials with amusement. Determined people marching in hordes to Subhiksha, saying that Bachat hamara hak hai (Saving is our right). Hits home and is aimed to relieve us of any guilt about giving the neighborhood kirana (grocery) shop a miss. What in the world was Subhiksha I wondered, a trifle snobbishly. I preferred D-Mart or perhaps Shop-Rite.
However today Subhiksha has gone all out with this full page newspaper ad:
A comparative price list. And plus the results of an IMRB survey:
And then I did some research and found out that Subhiksha, is a Chennai based ten year old retail chain which has 500 outlets outlets already. I had seen the shop ofcourse and mostly ignored it. Had no idea that it was so big! 500 shops all over India and these are to double by the year end. The guy who started it, R Subramanian, happens to be from one of India’s premier educational institutes (engineering from IIT Chennai and an MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad) and a long time ago he made a decision to stay back in India and contribute. And he’s done more than that. He has built India’s biggest retail chain!
His advertising aggression is clearly related to the entry of multinational companies and that of Reliance in the retail space. And also to fight Big Bazaar which has always claimed that it is the cheapest supermarket. I go to Big Bazaar fairly often and the prices are the lowest I have seen anywhere, and this results in a stampede at times. Nowadays I avoid Big Bazaar (though I love bargains) not only because I don’t like to be pushed, but also because the supermarket is badly organised and cluttered. Every inch of space has been filled up by stacks of goods and I can never find anything. Well, Subhiksha is saying they are cheaper than Big Bazaar. Guess I’ll go and see if they are also better organised.
Update and Review: I visited Subhiksha today. Its nothing much, just an extension of the next door kirana (gocery) shop. Its definitely not a supermarket and is more like Apna Bazaar. Comparing itself to Big Bazaar like it did in the advertisement is absolutely misleading. Its a small little shop and the manager told me that all their shops are like this, thats the policy. I guess to keep the costs down. Well, this is not a shop that one can do one’s shopping in as most things were not available. Unless ofcourse you want to buy your rice and wheat. But even then the choice was limited. This particular outlet I visited was next to the bigger Tru-Mart and not far from D-Mart. No wonder it was deserted. The advertising is nothing but hype. I would not visit again.
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