In todays world of cut throat competition, Retail has become a challenging business, with competitions popping out of the blue. Retailers who are able to create a distinct identity for their stores in the minds of the consumers will be able to sustain in the market profitably in the long run. This requires building a customer-centric culture and monitoring the global trends on a continuous basis. To set themselves apart from the competition, retailers must build a brand image for their store. This will give them a two-fold benefit of maintaining goodwill with both the manufacturers and the consumers. Brands are one of the most valuable assets, and creating a good brand image is crucial for retailers as it is for the manufacturers, especially as retail competition is at its peak in the recent years. Brand building consists of creating an image for the retail store, advertising, and implanting their store logo in the consumers mind.
The Global Retail Scenario:
Brand plays an important role in the retail arena. It identifies a particular product and differentiates it from its competitors. Today nobody goes to the store to buy a soap, or salt or butter. They want to buy a Lux, or Tata, or Amul. Consumers do not want to shop in a retail store. They want to shop in Wal-Mart, or Marks and Spencer, Zara, and the like. Such is the presence of brand image in the minds of the consumers. 16 of the worlds top 50 brands are retail brands.
A successful branding strategy should:
- Generate customer value,
- Provide perceived value, and
- Be difficult to copy.
Initially, the retailers notion of having a brand image did not go through well. The classic ideas of the retailers did not match with the simplicity of brands. Also, the retailers mind-set to expect an immediate return on their investment did not go with the prolonged time brands need to spread their influence in the market. But later on, retailers started understanding that, their biggest asset apart from the retail space, and supply chain are the shoppers themselves. So, having a strong brand image is a pre-requisite for success. Strong brands become transferable, and extend their operation into new service areas.
Textile Retailing and Branding:
Textile industry is one of the most highly competitive industries in the world. In todays textile world, branding has become an extremely complex task. There are so many textile companies, and every one of them wants a share in the pie. Retailers began to see the necessity of having a strong brand in their business to provide exceptional insulation and demand. Gap, Mango, Zara, Marks and Spencer, and H&M are a few to name among the top global retail brands dealing in clothing. Mango operates in 89 countries, Zara 68, and H&M operates in 28 countries with a universally strong influence. The ability of the brand determines the customers ongoing loyalty, repurchase and retention, ultimately influencing the retailers profits.