When he started out, Kishore Biyani was so impressed by the likes of Wal-Mart and Tesco that he began his early Big Bazaar stores with well-organised shelves, properly labelled aisles, and staff trained to be professional and helpful. Sales were tepid. Biyani spotted the missing ingredient quickly: the chaos, bustle and noise of a local Indian market.
Authors John Mullins and Randy Komisar note that he quickly shuffled around shelves, made the aisles narrower leaving things in the way, and got staff to announce offers over the PA system every couple of minutes. It worked. Over the years, Biyani made mistakes - overleveraging his cash flows, for instance - but he unveiled the power of organised retail, and that too without any foreign partner. As organised retail inches forward slowly yet steadily, millions of Indian customers and farmers will have Big Bazaar to thank.
By Anusha Subramanian, Anand Adhikari, K.R. Balasubramanyam, Rajiv Bhuva, Josey Puliyenthuruthel,G. Seetharaman and Sunny Sen