Thứ Sáu, 6 tháng 1, 2017

Local retailers have big advantages over transnational chains

 The current generation of Vietnamese are struggling with the most profound demographic transition ever and nowhere is this more evident than in the world of small retailers, speakers at a recent seminar in Hanoi have said.

local retailers have big advantages over transnational chains hinh 0 

Population growth, urbanization and the transition from small to larger businesses go together, they have said, averring that the large urban centres set the stage for enhanced innovation, efficiencies and competition.
In turn these factors provide the synergy for the country to move from low to middle-income status. No country in history has ever reached high income levels with low urbanization.
Whether this higher level of competition relates to retail, agriculture, manufacturing, services – or any other sector of the economy – it has and will continue to change the face of small business in Vietnam forever.
However, far too many people constantly complain that heightened competition is hard on the country’s generally small local retailers because they can’t compete with their larger transnational counterparts, said Nguyen Van Than, chair of Vietnam Association of Small Companies, at the event.
But that assertion is not true to any meaningful extent.
Mr Than said, with respect to transnational retailers, the complaints that he hears most is that they hire disinterested employees, are always out-of-stock for products customers want, have awkward return processes and always play music in the store far too loud.
They also charge unnecessary high restocking fees, have messy shelves and in general, customers struggle to find the products that they want in the store because they are not consistent in product placement or items stocked.
On the other hand, the small retailers in Vietnam, said Mr Than, can ensure that every employee in each of their stores is passionate about customer service and the products they sell— and easily outperform the larger transnational companies on customer service and inventory matters.
More importantly, small entrepreneurs willing to take a chance now have unlimited opportunity to source innovative products from all corners of the globe and bring their own unique tastes to the Vietnamese retail market.
Enterprising retailers can now search the globe for the unique dress, hat, handbag, necklace or other product that doesn’t look like the one everybody else is wearing that came off the discount rack at a Big C, Lotte, AEON or other transnational retail establishment.
There is a definite tectonic shift in Vietnamese consumers shopping habits away from visits to brick-and-mortar stores that offers another colossal advantage to Vietnamese small retailers.
Today’s consumers lead busy lives. Shopping takes time and more and more they view it as an unfavourable task. Notably, young consumers find researching and shopping on the internet far more convenient than brick-and-mortar visits.
They would rather shop online and then go directly and pick it up in-store.
The advantage to local retailers is that these shoppers would rather pick up at a storefront on the streets in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City anytime rather than fight the parking maze at the large malls.
If you've ever found yourself hopelessly lost in a mall in Hanoi you’re not alone, said Mr Than.
Just the thought of having to navigate the parking entrances, the motorbike exhaust fumes, and then zig-zag a trail through the parking garages and to a store and then back is disorienting.
What is stopping local Vietnamese retailers from success certainly is not the competition from transnational companies. If anything, local retailers should embellish the competition.
If they want to find a good location for a store, place it on the right side and within two blocks of any large transnational retail establishment. Make sure they have a big sign with quick and easy in and out access.
Entrepreneurs who succeed turn their smartphones off and spend time with personal development. They learn how to communicate in a clear, concise and compelling manner with associates and customers.
The simple truth is that there has never been more opportunity for a small retailer with the will and drive to succeed than there is in Vietnam today— if they reach out and seize the opportunities presented to them.

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