Category Archives: Asia

Green Certification Awarded to French Supermarket in China

China Certification & Inspection Group has reportedly issued the Green Market Certification to Carrefour’s six stores in Beijing, making the French supermarket one of the first retailers to gain the certification in the Beijing region.

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Liu Shengming, chairman of CCIC, told local media that the Green Market Certification has been fully launched in the retail sector of Beijing. Green Market Certification is a national certification system co-developed by the Ministry of Commerce together with the Certification & Accreditation Administration of China. Organizations that have obtained the Green Market Certification are allowed to use the uniform certification board. The Green Market Certification logo can be used in their marketing materials or other relevant information.

Luc Vandevelde, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Carrefour, has revealed the plan for Carrefour’s first green shopping center, where rainwater and energy can be recycled. Compared with a regular architecture, the green shopping center can save up to 30% in water and energy. In addition, it will use efficient materials to reduce the consumption of resources.

China Certification & Inspection Group, Shenzhen Company Ltd. operates a wide network of over 300 offices and laboratories which are located in major ports and cargo distribution centers around the world. With over 20 years’ experience in the inspection and certification field, CCIC has established cooperation relationships with more than 120 inspection and certification companies in over 60 countries and regions, including foreign organizations such as UL, CSA, and TUV Rhineland.(Source: China Sourcing News)

LVMH Group to fund India’s Ready-to-Wear Fashion Retail

The world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH Group, will launch its private equity fund in India, in an attempt to tap the burgeoning disposable income and rising aspirations of the country’s urban population, especially women.

L Capital, present in New York, Madrid, Milan, Shanghai and Singapore, will invest in India from its fourth fund, which is dedicated to Asia and has a corpus of $650 million. It also will focus on economies such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

“We are looking at investing in companies in the lifestyle arena in Asia, primarily from the aspirational segment, meaning people who are moving from mass-produced goods to the next layer up,” said Ravi Thakran, managing partner of L Capital. “We are not keen on top-end luxury in India. We may look at that, but that is not our main focus.”

Mr. Thakran said Indian high-end designers are missing out on the real growth story in fashion by focusing on couture, which caters to the richest 500 families, and the wedding apparel business. The opportunity, he said, is in the ready-to-wear segment.

Mr. Thakran–who previously worked at the Swatch Group and helped launch Indian jewellery brand Tanishq in the U.K.–also, is betting on discretionary spending gaining pace in India.

“Today the world is moving towards a new center stage, which is certainly Asia, but China and India are two pillars of that,” he said. “This was the case pre-crisis but post-crisis it is even more so.”

However, India lags behind China when it comes to scalable brands and businesses. “In China, there are already at least 10 businesses we might be interested in which are worth $200 million to $250 million, whereas in India none of the (best known) designers have even reached the $100 million scale,” Mr. Thakran said.

L Capital is looking to bring in expertise on operational improvements in areas such as product design, logistics, store design, visual merchandising, talent search and training and development. Assistance in these areas for an early stage growth company is more important than capital, Thakran said.

He will be looking for deals in shoe, apparel and wine businesses, makers of lifestyle furniture, beauty brands, apart from skincare centers and spas.

“This is where the new consumption is rising in India,” Mr. Thakran said. “When aspirations and disposable incomes rise, consequently consumption in new arenas, our targeted sectors, also rises.”

Fashion designer J.J. Valaya, in an e-mail response, defended the prevalent focus on couture and wedding dresses, citing “lack of infrastructure, distribution and adequate capital.” He added that ready-to-wear is profitable only if it achieves volume.

“At present the top names in the country are not prepared to reach those numbers single-handedly,” Mr. Valaya said. “In the West too, a Louis Vuitton or a Jimmy Choo achieved reach through strategic corporate associations.” According to Mr. Thakran, Indian fashion businesses suffer because the creative force, the designer, is forced to look after operations due to lack of resources.

This shortage of resources has prevented recognized Indian businesses from transforming themselves into brands with greater economic value, he said. “If the creative guy is busy sorting out the accounts and logistics, and looking after the retail store, he cannot focus on the creative part,” Mr. Thakran said. “If you can bring to them knowhow in these areas and to build that front end, these brands can really unleash their potential.” (Source: Online WSJ.com)

How to implement grocery retaling and e-tailing in India

We found this article by Avinder Batra, published on IndianRetailer.com very interesting because of its very detailed approach to the implementation of a home delivery service for those small groceries retailers that are facing the competition with by multinational like Wal-Mart. This is also a business model which is very sustainable, by lowering CO2 transportation emissions and by mainting vital the traditional small retail grocery business.

Batra identifies a big trend in the grocery business- home delivery- due to two main reasons:

-High fuel price: Indian families are not interested in spending time on these products
-Families want more leisure time for themselves: Since both the partners are working, shoppers find this activity as waste of time to collect groceries in weekends

“When most of the big retailers are fighting for larger space, opportunities can be foreseen where you do not have compact space and can still run successfully through Etailing the Grocery model” Batra says.

The solution could be a mix of website, mobile, IVR.

High rental costs have made the retail business cumbersome for the independent players.  As told by Ragib Hussain, VP, Vice President Strategy at e.Soft Technologies,  “This type of model does not need much of investments. Etailing models (having virtual shop) can help retailers in expanding the business thus by covering larger area & reap good volumes.”

Small independent retailers need to increase their customer base: Online services and then home deliveries would fetch revenues only when you have large customer base. Margins are the rewards which an investor gets and this is what he has to work on to have with minimum liable cost.

Develop tie-ups/partners: Developing partnership agreements with the kirana shopkeepers and others nearby shops in the area that would reach the consumers through home delivery systems. This should  be the initial step of building a strong network in the areas concerned you want to cover.

 Also, it would decrease the liability on the retailer—warehouse cost, maintenance cost, procurement cost, etc. 

Develop your own site and make a strong viable back-end system for smooth functioning of the business model: either by creating your own hosted website or by opting for cloud services, this is a very important step. Cloud services would play a vital role to make updated connections with your suppliers, logistics suppliers, CRM updates and drop shipping suppliers. Because time is a critical factor, efficient distribution is of utmost importance. Technology plays a key role in enabling an efficient dairy distribution model.

 This is the back bone of the whole concept when the business starts working and it is the most challenging part of the business to make real-time connectivity with them.

Home delivery services: By tying up with the partners in the local areas, investor can direct the orders to those shops and through delivery boys; the task can be executed smoothly. This would even increase the revenue prospects of the local partners.

 If the business model is churning profits, there is no harm in having your own warehouses and company owned shops in the localities. This could be the way to expand your business model and make it stronger.

Each small outlet should be centrally connected to the warehouse to record the sale and updates are on real time basis. This would help to replenish the goods which are going out of stock.

Delivery system: Tempos and other mini trucks can be used to provide deliveries in the located areas if orders come in bulk in particular area. (Source: IndiaRetailer.com)

Chinese consumers are willing to pay for sustainability

We have already talked about China as one of the fastest growing markets in terms of customer awareness towards sustainability: Chinese do appreciate and search for sustainability.

A study released on April 18th by global advertising and international marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather answer to the question that our customers usually ask: “Do consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products?”. The study shows that the answer is “Yes, Chinese consumers are willing to pay a small premium for environmentally friendly products”, but they place responsibility to fix China’s environmental woes on the government.

Convenience is the main factor driving shopping decisions for more than half of the 1,300 Chinese consumers across China, but 71 percent said they would pay up to 10 percent more or higher for some “green” products.

“Within about a 15 percent price band, if two items have comparable brand image, people will go for the sustainable option,” Kunal Sinha, the lead author of the study and head of the company’s sustainability practice in China, told Reuters.

“But if you were going to sell it purely on its sustainability credentials, it wouldn’t fly,” he said, referring to the range of green products and sustainable behaviors covered in the study, from toiletries to food and vacations.

Shoppers were willing to open their wallets the widest for sustainably produced milk, at premiums of 17 to 20 percent, the study said, an indication of how severely scandals involving tainted milk have damaged China’s dairy industry.

The study noted large gaps between the sustainable behavior Chinese consumers profess to and their actual consumption habits, a trend that also exists in developed markets such as the United States.

One measure of their optimism: more than 90 percent of those surveyed said they thought the sustainability movement was growing. But fewer than a fourth or respondents said they felt empowered to solve environmental problems on their own, and instead looked to the government to fix the country’s environmental woes.

Chinese consumers have long been hesitant to loosen their purse strings, more so than consumers in other countries at a similar stage of development. But domestic consumption is picking up quickly and many analysts think it has reached a turning point.

That means Chinese consumers’ buying power may be out-pacing their green ethos. The survey said the concept of sustainable living is not yet mainstream, with respondents saying those leading the movement in China are seen as idealists.

Joel Backaler, a director at the consulting firm Frontier Strategy Group who blogs on Chinese consumption trends, says mainstream Chinese consumers are focused on aspirational purchases in the short to medium-term and will not begin focusing on green and sustainable consumption for years.

“The vast majority of China’s middle class are for the first time learning how to spend and join the consumption phenomenon that their counterparts in the U.S. and Western Europe have long enjoyed,” he told Reuters in an email. (Source: Reuters)