Osia Hypermart's 50:50 food to non-food selling proposition emerges as a unique model for organized retail in India
Progressive Grocer|December 2019
From a single store in Ahmedabad in 2014 to a trailblazing expansion across Gujarat with 15 stores that occupy 3,65,569 sq.ft. of trading area, the retail journey of Dhirendra Chopra, Managing Director, Osia Hyper Retail Ltd., is one for the management case studies.
Zainab S Kazi

The man started from scratch and single-handedly scaled his enterprise to unprecedented heights in the face of a tough fight from longstanding and established national supermarket/ hypermarket chains. And more remarkably, Chopra has scripted this epic success within five years, which even doughty entrepreneurs would take decades to accomplish.

How many of us can even dream of launching a business without counting the pennies in our pocket or bringing our dough to the project? But that’s exactly what Dhirendra Chopra of Osia Hyper Retail Ltd managed to pull off. When he launched his first Osia store in Ahmedabad in 2014, it was without bringing in any personal capital investment, thanks to his wonderful rapport with the vendors that he had cultivated over the years working for other retail stores.

“All I had back then was the credit and fund of goodwill with the vendors that I had developed working for a regional store in the State. When I set out on my own, each of them came forward to extend a lot of support in making Osia such a prominent name that it is today. With the goodwill I had earned over the years, I was able to get a 10,000 sq.ft. space on rent. I thank the landlord who agreed to rent me the place without any deposit or advance.”

Dhirendra Chopra’s initial years in the retail industry were spent working the line at stores where he learned the ropes and picked up tricks of the trade. After slogging for 13 years in other stores, he decided it was time to move on and start something of his own. “Even though I was happy with my job, the entrepreneurial bug bit me, and I took a leaf of faith because I knew there was a lot more for me to achieve. I had held various jobs including that of General Manager in retail stores, which gave me the necessary experience I needed. So, when I quit my job in 2014, I moved quickly to open my first Osia store in Ahmedabad.”

Chopra has been part of the retail industry for almost 17 years now. For the first 10-12 years, he was primarily occupied with sourcing and also with running the management and operations of regional stores in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Over the years and in the course of his stints, he developed his core strength in sourcing, especially soucing different categories of non-food items – apparel, household products, handicrafts, home furnishing, gift articles, footwear, etc. “I succeeded in building a strong network of vendors from India and China and managed to grab the best deals for the stores,” he says.

With the business launched, Chopra took on in earnest with the expansion of his store chain brick by brick. By dint of his dedication and perseverance, Osia Hypermart has clocked excellent growth in the past 5 years and has become a leading retailer in Gujarat with a reputational edge in value retailing and offering products at competitive prices. Today, Osia Hypermart operates 15 stores spanning 3,65,569 sq.ft. of trading area across the State of Gujarat and has a bench strength of 700 dedicated and experienced employees.

Creating the DNA of Osia Hyper Retail

Explaining the USP of Osia supermarket/ hypermarket, Chopra says: “Osia works on a very unique proposition and that is our 50:50 split between food and non-food. I can say that no one has successfully and fully worked out this equation until now in the organized retail of India. This is the biggest USP of Osia.”

But despite the equivalence in the weightage to food and non-food departments, Osia’s core strength lies in the non-food category. The retailer has a huge non-food range that includes apparels, handicrafts, toys, bags, footwear, household products like crockery, utensils, plastic ware and home furnishing items like bedsheets, carpets, and doormats, besides a whole enchilada of other FMCG products and accessories.

“We cater to every household needs of the customer. Our stores fulfill all the needs of customers required on a daily as well as monthly basis. We carefully select our suppliers to ensure that we sell only good quality products and periodically evaluate our suppliers to ensure that their production standards meet our criteria. Also, all our categories are shaped by customer preference and we sell our products at the most affordable price,” states Chopra.

Apart from the huge product range, assortment mix, and competitive pricing, the retailer has also floated eye-catching schemes and offers for its shoppers. “We provide customers with gifts on a minimum purchase of Rs. 1000. This scheme is applicable throughout the year and it has succeeded in creating valuable customer satisfaction considering that they end up getting more value for what they have paid thanks to the savings on account of the various attractive offers and discounts. Very soon, we shall be launching our portal for customers where they can place their orders online and have their items delivered right at the doorstep,” reveals Chopra.

But attractive discounts and offers by themselves alone do not make a retailer a magnet for shoppers. “The trick lies in designing the deals and offers in a way that they immediately connect with customers and help to build customer loyalty. And customer loyalty is not just about pampering the shopper with discounts. It is all about building a personal connect with the customer and make her feel one with your retail store,” confides Chopra.

To keep customers engaged, the retailer believes in quickly passing on the discount benefits to customers. “We prefer passing instant benefits to the customers, which satisfies them. Every customer looks for the savings in their bill and any benefit due to such savings makes them come back to our stores for future shopping. Providing customers the right product at the right time and the right price is the key along with relevant promotions, which leads to the building of customer loyalty.”

Elaborating on the customer loyalty theme, Chopra adds: “Customer satisfaction is key in the long-run success of any retail business and we believe in providing customers with instant benefits. To keep customers engaged and make them come back to our stores, we have initiated a few schemes. One of which is to reward our customers with a month of shopping free if they shop at our hypermarket for 12 consecutive months. We also offer cashback vouchers where we offer discount to the customer on his next purchase. The benefits of this scheme are transferable, i.e. if you are not able to avail of the benefits of this scheme yourself, then you can transfer it to any of your family members or friends. We also run attractive cashback schemes during the festive season under which customers receive an instant cashback on the very next bill with no conditions applied.”

Another interesting customer engagement initiative by the brand is to provide them with a cornucopia of choices in its private label food and non-food portfolio. In addition to carrying various brands preferred by local customers in a particular region, Osia retails private-label goods, including foods and staples which it buys in bulk quantities. “After passing through our quality checks and inspections, we package and brand the goods. We believe that our merchandising and private labels have helped us differentiate ourselves from our competitors, in addition to offering us good margins. We also sell groceries and staples by weight depending on the availability of space and consumer preferences, both of which may differ from one store to another,” says Chopra.

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