New Delhi. Retail chain Bigger Bazar is aggressively recruiting vegetable and fruit hawkers for its on store sales teams. It has already appointed Raghubir Yadav, a prominent hawker from the sabzee bazar to head its Fruits and Vegetables division.
The decision came after despite of strategic planning by a battery of management professionals, sales at its counters for vegetables and fruits failed to take off just like at many other similar chains.
“The need is to train the sales force to passionately call out loudly ‘Bhindi 15 rupaye paav, pachaas ka killo‘ to entice the customer into first buying bhindi and then purchasing half a kilo instead of the usual 250 grams,” said Raghubir immediately after joining.
Dressing the sales men in pyjama and baniyaan is one of the key changes contemplated by Raghubir who completed his MBA without the M from a non existent college in Bihar in 1998.
“Our dhoti clad sales-women will even take up fights with customers to give them a real vegetable market feel. Such contrived altercations will be started with select customers after systematic profiling and will be process driven. Retired males who buy vegetables and fruits for a household would love this and start coming to the malls in hordes,” he said, with glee in his eyes.
Pooja Joshi, housewife, 33, who would visit Bigger Bazar regularly but rarely bought vegetables, commented,”I cannot buy vegetables from a vendor till I negotiate the price downward by using the ‘how much – too much’ negotiations. If the vendor says 15 rupaye to a paav then I must buy at rupees 12 and if he says 12 then my price is 10. Without this haggling I feel cheated”. Raghubir believes that his team will have the desired finesse after years of hawker-ship to carry out such ‘sham negotiations’ with customers.
Top management at Bigger Bazar see these measures as most innovative marketing strategy but for Raghubir it is just another day at work.
A recent market research survey has found that customers badly miss the ambiance of a local vegetable and fish market at the air conditioned stores, “The customers do not get their daily dose of ‘hulla gulla‘ and random cross talk here. The sales persons at the malls are never heard shouting sales stimulating phrases like, “Achchey din aa gaye – Neta tamatar khaa gaye or Sun meri Billo – pyaz pachaas rupaiyye killo.”
“We lack the highly profitable art of turning stale potatoes into ‘Pahaadi Aalloo’ by soiling them and then selling them at a premium for 50 rupees a kilo instead of 40 for the normal potatoes,” Dr. S S Swaminathan, the marketing head of the retail chain commented, “Raghubir will bring to the table many such strategies.”
In future, Kishore Biyani, the celebrated retailer plans to write a case study on this ultimate coup in salesmanship by Bigger Bazar. IIMs are already queuing up to include it in their curriculum and planning to call Lalu Yadav to enlighten the students with his expert analysis.