There’s something about Ratnadeep that makes it distinctive from a food retailing standpoint. It’s a super supermarket in what is probably one of Asia’s most competitive grocery markets, India.
Ratnadeep Retail Pvt. Ltd., embarked on its glorious retail journey in 1987. Over the last three decades, the brand has established itself as an innovative gamechanger that has become a household name. The superregional brand is winning with shoppers across its trading area, with a three-pronged value proposition that they describe as Quality, Variety and Freshness.
Aside from this motto, customer experience has always been at the very core of the Ratnadeep, the foundation upon which the brand has been built. Throughout the brand’s journey, its core focus has always been to cater to the needs, wants and whims of its customers by providing a wide range of quality products and unmatchable service and towards this; the brand has constantly evolved with its customers, their palates, and their choices. Their exceptional team always ensures that only the finest and freshest products find their way onto the shelves, so customers never have to check what they buy for superiority.
Today, Ratnadeep is one of the most awarded and fastest-growing supermarket chains in South India and a key factor in reaching this landmark is customer experience. The brand has successfully broken the mold of the standard supermarket to create a distinctive and hyper-local grocery-shopping experience.
With a rich legacy to fall back on, and which is continually being polished further, a careful mix of measured risks and rapid expansion, Ratnadeep is counted among the most credentialled regional supermarket chains in India.
In a tête-à-tête with Progressive Grocer Bureau, a spokesperson at Ratnadeep Retail talks about how the brand was successful in reaching the milestone of 100 stores even during the COVID-19 crisis.
Ratnadeep recently launched its 100th store in Hyderabad. Tell us about the journey of your brand as it reaches this milestone? How did you plan and execute this in such a short span of time?
To achieve this landmark of 100 stores, all the departments of Ratnadeep worked hand-in-hand, always in-sync. The intent was to identify each other’s concern, remove any blockages in the process while jumping back and forth and in the end, make it happen! With this perfect harmony, and thanks to the selfless, relentless and endless commitment of Team Ratnadeep, this target of 100 stores was achievable!
Since its inception, Ratnadeep has concentrated on building powerful strategies pertaining to consumer experience, store expansion, location and marketing. In the aftermath of the crisis, the brand tweaked these strategies further to not only navigate the uncertainties seamlessly but also to serve consumers in a more efficient way.
Tell about your market presence pan India? Which cities are you looking forward to opening more stores in 2021?
Within a short span of time, we covered so many milestones like 25 stores in 2017, 50 Stores in 2019, 75 Stores in September 2020, and 100 stores in December 2020. The vision is to make Ratnadeep Retail a pan India hyper-local chain of supermarkets in the coming years.
The company has commenced the new year with aspirations to open more than 50 stores across South India (Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka) with an average size of 3,000 sq. ft. per location.
Having opened our 7th store in Bengaluru last year, we have been enjoying great success and appreciation among the Bengaluru citizens so far. Keeping this into consideration, we aim to reach out a larger base of audience by reaching a target of 12 stores in Bengaluru.
Despite the pandemic and manpower challenges, Ratnadeep has maintained a steady growth and expects to cross a ₹800 crore year-on-year turnover by the end of FY2020. With a well-structured expansion plan and aggressive strategy, the company plans to achieve a turnover of approx. ₹1,200 crore by 2021.
Along with our expansion plans in South-India, we’ve been increasing our footprint through our multiple formats stores: Ratnadeep Supermarket, Ratnadeep Express and Ratnadeep Select with a focus on the core values of quality, variety and freshness, across formats. Every new store format is launched after extensive research and consumer understanding of what they need.
Ratnadeep Supermarket: Our initial store format is a full-fledged supermarket that allows you to find all the products you need to keep your home running smoothly for the month ahead.
Ratnadeep Select: Our large-format store boasts of an experiential shopping experience by offering curated international products & brands and a larger SKU count.
Ratnadeep Express: Our smaller pick & go format stores target daily needs and cart refills and are conveniently located around neighborhoods that look for a trusted brand and a better shopping experience.
Game Changer: Essential Departments Who Made This Milestone Achievable
Property Acquisition: To be in the right location is a key part of the success of a retail store. The location strategy for Ratnadeep is a very carefully curated plan for obtaining the optimal location for all stores by identifying the following factors:
Basic Eligibility factors: Store Size, Parking Feasibility & Ground Floor.
How promising is the catchment?
The approach to the store (w.r.t. to logistics, customer flow, facilities, and other factors).
Other set up factors like cost vs. value derived.
Keeping all these aspects in consideration and with multi-level filtering, the brand was able to freeze 25 best locations out of 150 options. For every upcoming store, the idea has always been to identify and improvise certain elements in order to enhance and deliver the wow factor in the form of the Ratnadeep Experience.
Projects: The Projects Department which works round the clock to ensure our every store launch is a successful one. They ensure that the time taken from property handover to store launch is least possible. Team Ratnadeep has been maintaining an average of 26 days throughout (as compared to the industry average of 40-45 days). When our target of 100 stores was clear, the Projects Team hit a record-breaking average of 18 days.
Buying & Merchandising / Category: The team ensures that only the freshest and finest products make it to our shelves. To ensure a smooth launch of the 100th store, the team planned the assortment 3 months in advance as compared to 2 months. The message was communicated to all vendors/ partners and a strong assortment plan was frozen well in advance, which ensured a better fill rate.
Operations: Operations, in total, ensure that the efforts put in by all the departments are delivered to the customer in the form of a happy shopping experience. And to ensure that this experience remains flawless and smooth throughout the 100+ stores, the NSO Team (a specially curated team of 12 people who look into new store launches) was restructured and further divided into 4 teams to gear up for multiple launches on a single day. The entire planning was delegated and remarkably executed by the team with little guidance.
As a contingency plan & with the help of a proper dashboard, a buffer store was getting ready as a backup in case there was any hindrance in the launch of 100 stores. Also, the launch date was squeezed by 6 days (from Dec 31 2020 to Dec 25, 2020) to keep some buffer time in case we were unable to launch on the date decided. However, all the work was carried out flawlessly and we were able to launch the 100th store on a predetermined date as well as launch the buffer (101st store) before Dec 31, 2020.
Logistics and Warehouse: Supply chain is a lifeline to our organization, and therefore there is a crucial link between all the teams. They keep the company moving by connecting the efforts of all the departments with their expertise in fleet management. For the 100th store, the team upgraded the extra feet requirement to fill in newly chalked routes with help of third-party logistics. They worked hand-in-hand with the Procurement & Projects team to deal with the asset requirements of upcoming stores. They were also in sync with the Buying & Merchandising or Category Team, to assign spaces for all the upcoming stores, hence holding the store-wise merchandise & assets together at warehouses.
Procurement: The Procurement Team is indeed the backbone of Ratnadeep, as they work day-in-day-out with vendors across the country to ensure only the best products be part of the company’s assets. While preparing for the 100th store launch, they ensured the bulk procurement of assets for 25 upcoming stores. The Procurement Team left no stone unturned in processing all the orders in record time, along with the alignment of the company’s requirement with the vendors’ capacity. They synced with the warehouse team to ensure the safety of the material as well.
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