Selling in India can be tough. The challenges are awesome, the country huge, and the Indian market has a way of upsetting apple carts. In such a scenario, information is power. And the more precise it is, the better.
And yet, even the best of information can be quite useless - when data is so voluminous that it has to 'mined' to glean out nuggets of relevant information. For instance, ORG-MARG's Retail Store Audit - the main source of retail-level data on consumer goods in India - can discourage the average marketing man on account of the sheer amount of data it packs. Yes, the tracking is extensive, ranging from toothpastes to cigarettes to tyres to soft drinks to batteries, covering of over 100 product categories from 30,000 retail outlets across 367 cities and 983 villages nationwide. Such data is great, but to be useful, it has to be precise. And user-friendly.
Keeping this thought in mind, AC Nielsen has launched its high-technology enabled, MR software AC Neilsen Advisor. Referring to the need for precise information, Sujit Das Munshi, associate vice-president, ORG-MARG Research Private Limited, says, "The huge amount of information that we gathered was making market researchers and software specialists of our clients, rather than facilitating their task."
What the AC Nielsen Advisor does is it organizes the Retail Store Audit data into information via personalized reports. These reports can be organized depending on key business issues, providing the user with market intelligence, category insight and brand performance information.
For example, in the Advisor, flexible tables allow users to drag-drop dimensions to discover patterns in the data. Such data can be crucial in identifying potential areas of high growth. "Often, what happens is that the information does exist, but the time and effort needed to find it makes it too difficult," says a marketing executive with Nestle India. AC Nielsen Advisor reports focus on business issues, helping to identify opportunities based on over 200 ready-to-use measures that expand analysis capability. Advisor also allows pre-defined conditional reports to filter through vast amounts of details, and then uses the analysis to frame 'rules' from which the key points can be identified.
The market for precise information is expected to grow at around 9 per cent a year, according to industry estimates. And despite the challenges of the Indian market, and the trough that organized retail in India is facing - retail chains such as Shoppers' Stop have seen losses mount - there seems to be promise. According to a CII-McKinsey report, organized retail in India is expected to touch $300 billion (Rs 14,10,000 crore) by 2010. "Indian retail has enormous potential. The way I see it, it is on one stage of the evolution curve," avers Russell Farmery, managing director, Retail Measurement Services, Asia Pacific.
While the AC Neilsen Advisor promises to offer precise information on the minute aspects of the Indian market, such information may not automatically translate into better performance, especially for organized retail. The Indian retail scene is beset with challenges… sourcing and supply-chain deficiencies, lack of infrastructure. And even a decade after liberalization, organized retail accounts for a mere 2 per cent of the Rs 5,00,000 crore Indian retail universe.
Of course, if the Advisor lives up to its promise, perhaps there'll be fewer challenges to contend with…
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