by Anushree Ghosh
We the consumers are stuck in the retail web for umpteen daily activities, whether it is about buying essentials, eating at restaurants or seeking entertainment. Retail shops have become the life carrying nerves for all urban settlements. The Positioning of these retail shops depends on the proximity to residential or commercial space, luring elements inculcated in the presentation, relevance to the necessity of the people crossing the space or the availability of the parking, etc. As the number of customers increase, the establishment begins taking a shape leading to the economic progress in the process of urbanization. These shops feed on the available facilities like transportation and propensity of social interaction amongst the consumers.
Retail strategy for a well-developed city must include a clutter-free environment where shops do not block any indispensable activity, providing a high quality and safe shopping experience to the customers. These shops must not act as an obstacle for any civic element related to the life of the city. Such a settlement would also offer all kinds of leverage to the pedestrians who could associate themselves to the small shops offering daily items of necessity and luxury.
When we observe the unorganized retail sector of Delhi, we cannot possibly miss the chaotic set up of Chandni Chowk – the narrow streets are surrounded by irregular blocks, most of the huge buildings are used in many ways with shops at the front and warehouse at the back and the floors above it are used for residential purposes. The charms of this place lies in the hustle bustle that lies in the markets, specifically selling jewelry, clothes, spices, lights, chemical, electronics, etc. Likewise, Nehru Place in Delhi is India’s largest electronic goods market. The place struggles with poor civic facilities and parking unavailability, due to the chaotic set up of the market.
However, in India, the unorganized and organized retail sectors are breathing in the same space. The co-existence is a result of the already established market due to the inhabitation and the retail planning that came after the establishment of mall culture. The budding trend of shopping malls in Delhi has been a result of the changing social pattern that is linked to the design of the city. Breaking through the clutter, it is based on inhabitation requirement and is executed through planning. Mall culture has successfully incubated experience too, rather than totally focusing on only buying items. Coming out with an attractive retail mix to allure consumers is the basic strategy to increase footfalls in the malls.
Ideally the retail set up of a town or city should be planned before the inhabitation but since retail in India is an ancient concept that began with hawkers collaboration to sell products of necessity through temporary markets called ‘Haat’; the unorganized establishment is an extension of this. And now when the concept or organized retail through malls has penetrated the minds of the citizens; both of these set up will remain and serve their own target consumers.