Mumbai: Big Bazaar and its affiliate retail formats may have made Rs150 crore in additional sales on Akshaya Tritiya, considered an auspicious day for purchases, particularly gold. It was celebrated this year on Sunday.
India’s largest retailer, the Future Group, is focusing on the panchang, or Hindu almanac, to capitalize on the tendency of Indian consumers to reserve big-ticket purchases for auspicious days, said Ashni Biyani, director of Future Ideas, a part of the Future Group. She is the daughter of Future Group’s founder and chairman Kishore Biyani and spoke to Mint on Friday, before the festival.
Sales strategyFuture Group’s Ashni Biyani says the retailer—which may have made Rs150 cr in additional sales on Akshaya Tritiya—is seriously targeting one-third of the 150 auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. Kedar Bhat/Mint
About 30% of total sales of modern retailers come from promotions centred around specific festivals and occasions, said Arvind Singhal, chairman, Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd, a retail consultancy firm.
In an interview to Mint, Ashni Biyani, 23, said a team set up six months ago comprising experts on Indian mythology and religion, retail and even an expert on “days”, “seriously targeted” one-third of the 150 auspicious days in the Hindu calendar.
While the Future Group has typically pushed sales through marketing strategies such as sabse sasta din (the cheapest day), this year was the first time that it targeted Akshaya Tritiya in a major way through television commercials.
On a day such as Akshaya Tritiya, aggregate sales from unorganized and modern retail could amount to Rs7,500 crore, said Biyani.
Aiding the Future Group’s effort is the Mumbai-based Salgaonkar family, which publishes Kalnirnay, India’s largest selling almanac, in seven languages with sales of 10 million copies a year.
The Salgaonkars confirmed their participation in Future Group’s recent exercise. Jayendra Salgaonkar, director, Sumangal Press Pvt Ltd, said the Biyanis had “several sittings” to understand the dos and don’ts of Indian rituals and festivals.
“We are mapping all the communities in India on how they shop and how these calendars work. We understand intuitively, their customs, their rituals,” said Biyani, adding that this was part of a larger strategy to engage customers and to attract “that India which lives in the deep-rooted communities”.
However, others tracking the retail industry take a slightly different view.
“This is not so much as a community initiative since the end objective will be to get more sales throughout from Future Group’s own outlets,” said Singhal of Technopak.
Instead, he added, “It is a very intelligent and creative marketing effort, and should provide an even better ‘connect’ of Indian consumers with Future Group’s different retail businesses.”
Purnendu Kumar, associate vice-president at Technopak Advisors, said about 60-70% of shopping for apparel, consumer durables, and home furnishing, among other things, happen during festivals. At least 40-50% takes place during the peak festival season, between September and November.