Retailing Environments in Developing Countries

By Allan M. Findlay; Ronan Paddison et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter fifteen

The Indian retail environment

A look at some socio-cultural impediments to the development of customer orientation among Indian retailers

Hari Das and Malika Das


Introduction

Widespread poverty, low rates of economic growth, low levels of per capita income, illiteracy, and poor economic and social infrastructure, pose special problems to the marketing managers operating in the developing world. Past research studies have looked at several of these variables which influence marketing practices in developing settings. However, a critical variable, namely, the cultural history of the focal society is often ignored. This chapter discusses the effects of the Hindu caste system and values (for example, emphasis on doing one's duty without any expectation of reward), and the joint family system on the level of customer orientation of Indian retailers. It is argued that these-along with economic variables-have played a major role in reducing the customer orientation of Indian retailers.

Observe the following three scenes:

* Place: Ahmedabad, North India Time: November 1985, 7.00p.m.

The customer who entered the shop was in a hurry. The three sales assistants in the store who were busy discussing the previous day's film took no notice of the customer. The owner who was on the phone, briefly glanced at the customer but continued his conversation apparently ignoring him. Finally, one of the assistants came to the customer, and after listening to the customer referred him to a second assistant. The second assistant looked at the customer indifferently and started to pick items out of the shelf.

* Place: Madras, South India Time: February 1986, 9.25a.m.

The customer heaved a sigh of relief when he saw four taxi cabs in the stand. Thank God! Now he is sure to make his important 10a.m. appointment. His ebullience ended when he saw that there

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