In a crisis, the discounter has many chances to become the most dynamically developing trading format. According to most experts, a discounter today is the only format that will grow and develop faster than usual during a crisis. That is why it requires special attention.
What is a discounter?
Based on the dictionary definition, the discounter is a low-price store with a narrow range and a minimum range of services for customers. The management of such a store is aimed at reducing costs due to the modest design of the trading floor, simplified merchandising, reducing the number of employees, limiting the assortment by category, which is sold in large quantities due to low cost.
A classic shoe discounter is a store with an area of no more than 1 thousand square meters. m (usually 300-600 sq. m) and an assortment of not more than 4 thousand items of goods. However, it is worth distinguishing between discounter chains whose business is built on the sale of inexpensive shoe brands (the price segment is the average minus) and discount brand stores that collect the remnants of the unsold collections of a particular brand. Initially, these discounters solve different business problems. In the first case, the goal is to profit from the rapid circulation of goods at low prices, in the second - to eliminate the remnants of previous collections. In the context of the article, we will consider the first option of discounters and analyze what helps this trading format to be kept at a minimum margin.
Russian market of shoe discounts
The largest Russian shoe discounters today are TsentrObuv (more than 300 stores throughout Russia), Zh (more than 20 stores in Russia and regions) and until recently Mattino (they opened 46 stores). However, the latter company faced some difficulties. According to rumors in the shoe community, Mattino is closing its stores for a massive sale. Meanwhile, the press service of the group of companies does not confirm rumors about the closure. But they do not deny it, which is also significant. The press service is trying to communicate on this topic carefully: “We are closing the season, and this is what the sales in our stores are connected with,” they explain. - We really closed several stores in Kazan. But this is a difficult city that has not yet been given to any shoe company. " To the question: "Does it follow in this case that the advertising banner on the official website of the Mattino group of companies, which speaks of a certain closure, refers to the closing of the season?" in “Mattino” they answered: “Not only. It is still in question ”. As of early February, stores are closing not only in Kazan, but also in St. Petersburg, Voronezh and Lipetsk.
In addition to federal players, regional discount chains also work in Russia, for example, Pedestrian (part of the Obuv Rossii Novosibirsk group of companies) or Inter shoes from Krasnoyarsk. Pedestrian is a specialized discount network existing on the market since 2006 of the year. To date, the network has 11 stores in the Ural-Siberian and Central regions.
"Inter-footwear" is the largest Krasnoyarsk discounter. It takes about 400 sq. meters, and the range includes more than 2000 items of shoes, bags and accessories. All these discounters are considered “soft”, as they regularly hold all kinds of promotions, seasonal and holiday sales.
Key benefits of the format
For consumers, the attractiveness of a shoe discounter lies primarily in prices. Plus, the specific display of goods gives him the impression of an incredibly huge assortment. These factors have a positive effect on traffic, so there are always buyers in discounters. They usually become consumers with an average monthly income of 150 to 500 dollars per person who purchase shoes due to the complete wear of the old or some extension of the wardrobe. Nevertheless, their main motive for the purchase is to keep within the funds allotted for this.
The owner can ensure the success of this trading format at competitive prices by favorable (sometimes exclusive) conditions for working with suppliers, especially in organizing the sales process and logistics, as confirmed by the owner of Interobuv Marina Smirnova: “First of all, discounters must provide their area with goods at prices below the current level. Well-known brands at bargain prices in themselves attract the attention of buyers. We, for example, achieve this by bringing the remnants of shoes from our own boutique and from those stores with which we entered into a similar agreement. Over the years of work in the shoe business, we were able to negotiate with some shoe manufacturers and receive goods at lower prices than wholesale. Plus, we undertake the sale for one reason or another of unsold goods. Usually companies agree to take such measures in order to get rid of residues. "
In the format of the discounter, mainly products of the mid-low, mid-average price segments are presented. As a rule, these are shoes whose production was ordered in China. Sometimes it is sold under its own brand network. Typical examples are TsentrObuv, which implements its own Centro shoe brand, or Zh, with its own brand, Soviet Intelligence.
The assortment of discounters includes both domestic and European manufacturers. In “Matino” these are declared as European Villa Medici, Giani Gregori, from Russian - Aladen, Covani, Etor, Evita, Inario, Makfine and others.
As a rule, the breadth of the discounter range is estimated at thousands of models. So, in each store of the Pedestrian chain about 2000 options of women's, men's and children's shoes of all seasons and directions are presented. The range of “Pedestrian” is formed due to the drain of Westfalika stores (the main network of Shoe of Russia). Along with these shoes, models from Men Line, Yuros, Avenir are also sold.
The basis of the discounter assortment, as in ordinary stores, is women's shoes. Say, in “Interbuy” the ratio of models looks like this: 70% - for women, 25% - for men and 5% - for children, and in “Pedestrian”: 84% - for women, 13% - for men and 3% - for children. “Usually we look at which models are best sold and form an assortment based on the information received,” says Natalya Isaeva, a pedestrian of the network. - We single out the leader models and outsider models. Even if we include the most popular shoes in the assortment from season to season, we try not to repeat ourselves and make small changes to its design. As for the outsider models, we are analyzing why they became such (maybe they have an uncomfortable shoe or bad material). In the future, we use this information in the formation of the assortment for the next season. ”
Meanwhile, most buyers note that shoe centers sell the same type of shoes from season to season, and the predominant color of the leather is black. Sellers claim that our market began to depart from the trend of “black universality” quite recently, and changes are occurring mainly in the high and medium-high segments. In low, dark shoes are still popular among buyers. Accordingly, for discounters, its implementation is another opportunity to reduce costs by working only with running colors and models.
According to the format, discounters are divided into two types: hard and soft. The second option for Russia is more familiar. Hard discounter does not imply discounts and promotions. The Russian buyer has the opportunity to purchase "discount shoes" with a good discount in the sales season. “A feature of our discount center is the regular holding of all kinds of holiday events, sales,” continues Marina Smirnova. “For example, Last Call.” We handed out discount coupons in 100 and 500 rubles to students and teachers of secondary schools. And for the New Year holidays, we traditionally hold a draw of audio, video and household appliances among buyers. ” Similar promotions are regularly held at other retail chains. For example, “Mattino” was marked by winter campaigns “The temperature outside is equal to the size of the discount” or “Come on your birthday and get a discount”. And yet, the most original shares belong to Pedestrian. One fall in the store, along with shoes, shovels, garden gloves and galoshes were sold at purchase prices. So to speak, a seasonal garden product that is valuable to discounter buyers. But the company did not stop there. When it was time to pickle pickles, lids for cans were rolled out here as a gift for buying, and in July heat, with the help of the Imarco company, ice cream trays were installed in network stores so that customers could cool. A whole set of actions followed: on Miner’s Day, customers were presented with a bottle opener in the form of a miner's helmet, on Tourist’s Day, lanterns and sewing kits. Such actions of the discounter administration attracted a lot of public attention and, as a result, increased traffic.
The challenges of organizing a business
However, the work of the discounter is simple only at first glance. The low price of the goods requires a clear business organization. This means that the assortment mistake can become fatal and as a result lead to the closure of the case. “Of course, along with the advantages of the discounter format, such as high throughput, quick turnover of goods, low costs for commercial equipment and storage and high turnover, there are a number of difficulties,” says consultant Olga Alyakrinskaya. - A fatal mistake could be non-observance of price segments within the assortment, for example, allocation of 50% matrix for the lowest prices, while 40% would be sufficient. The second mistake is to lay a high margin on goods that run the risk of remaining on the shelves. And the third option is if the owner does not control the number of SKUs in the matrix. This can lead to its "bloating", and the store shelves simply can not accommodate the goods. As a result, merchandising rules are violated and the buyer “loses” products on the shelf, ”explains Olga Alyakrinskaya.
In addition, to be afloat, the discounter must become a leader in costs. This can be achieved, for example, through merchandising, reducing costs due to the costs of servicing premises and personnel, as well as saving on a customs broker if the owner of the discounter is also a representative of cargo. Therefore, the usual way to design a trading floor is racks on which shoes are stored in boxes, and each model is exhibited here for presentation. Sellers assure that in the eyes of the client such a layout helps to present the store as “serious” and set it up for purchase. Nevertheless, at the same time, separate presentation zones can be distinguished on the trading floor, where the season's new products are displayed, reflecting the latest trends. Usually this is an economy panel (in some cases, with a mannequin, as in "Interbuy"), which presents fashionable color solutions, contemporary pads and the initiative wall (handbags, gloves, jewelry, etc.). “Today, part of our sales area is allocated for the sale of the remnants of non-seasonal shoes. In another part, there is a seasonal product at reduced prices, the next group is a new arrival of a seasonal product, and the bestsellers are highlighted separately. Within these groups, there is a usual division according to the assortment list: men's and women's shoes, by type of pad, color, materials. At the time of the action, the goods for which the discount is valid are separately allocated. And also the sales area of current products is clearly indicated, for example, a month earlier it was New Year’s shoes. In window dressing, we actively use accessories (clutches, belts, gloves, stoles), ”says Marina Smirnova.
G stores are interesting for their round shelving, each of which has shoes of the same size, which is certainly convenient for customer orientation in the store. In "TsentrObuv" the layout is organized by type of shoes: women, men, children, separately sports. Plus, the product is divided by season: closed and open shoes. A similar principle of merchandising adhere to the "Pedestrian". “The trading floors of our stores are divided into zones: men's, women's and children's,” explains Natalya Isaeva. - When laying out goods in each of these zones, we are primarily guided by the price (from low to higher cost). Since we have a winter, demi-season and summer assortment in our hall all year round, we divide the goods depending on the type of pad - fur, bike, leather. ” “The discounter works in a self-service format - anyone can immediately choose the size they need, because all the goods are on the trading floor,” continues Natalya Pauli, head of the PR department of Obuv Rossii GC. - As a result, less time is spent on servicing each client. The role of sales consultants is not as great as in single-brand stores, so there are fewer such personnel in discounters. In addition, we can seriously save on advertising. We do not need large-scale marketing support. Our customers are our promoters - thanks to the original design of stores and non-standard promotions. Rumors of “Pedestrians” are spreading rapidly throughout the city. ”
Today it is noticeable that during the crisis, some discounters began to save on packaging. So, in Interobuv the branded packages of the store were canceled. They were replaced by the standard “Thank you for your purchase”, as well as the manufacturer’s packaging. In any case, these difficulties are completely solvable, and if the outcome is successful, the development of a particular discounter will go faster, and the business will become more efficient.
For your information: The first low-price shops were grocery supermarkets. They appeared in Germany in the mid-1950's. Today in Germany, such stores account for more than 40% of the total turnover, while the profitability of the sales area of such outlets is ten times higher than that of traditional supermarkets. According to statistics, in the same Germany out of 1,26 million Armani buyers 75% at least once visited Aldi (the largest grocery discounter in the country). And of the 830 thousand people wearing Versace, 78% at least once made purchases at the discounter. All this allows us to talk about the spread in Germany of the consumer phenomenon of a new type, which is called smart shopper (cunning buyer). In various consumer situations, such a buyer behaves in the opposite way: in something he pays more attention to luxury, and in something, on the contrary, he is looking for the cheapest product. And it is precisely with the growth in the number of such customers that there has been an increase in the number of sales at discounters.
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