SHOPPING TRIVIAL THOUGHTS – BIG C – Dec 13, 2011

I have thought of writing something relating to marketing for a long time but every time I have intention of typing, all these ideas seem to leave me for somewhere, regardless of my effort to recall all of this. The first reason is that my knowledge of Marketing or relating fields is still limited. Therefore, regularly, the concept of Marketing I try to relate was not underpinned by strong theoretical foundation.  The other reason is that I often forgot all the ideas I have constructed in my mind. A lack of continuity in mind is also a significant hindrance to my intention of writing a new post.

Since I paid more attention to Marketing, I get into the habit of observing everything in my life and try to analyze them from the perspectives of Marketing ( in some cases, I am not sure of the link I constructed between them). Today, while shopping in Big C, I also made myself pay high attention to the arrangement of Big C, the color, music and services or discount policy offered by them. A stroke of thought came across my mind, resulting in this post. I will try my best to write anything I know about Marketing, Business, Shop Layout to make some of my own analysis. Warning: Do not expect to read a professional post of Marketing or something like this here. I am just on the way of building some of the most basic concepts in this field, trying to express all of my feelings through the eyes of a consumer and a student, hoping that it will help me understand more about my own career goals.

It’s enough for the start of my new series. I do not want to make my post verbose anymore.

1. General information

Big C is one grocery and merchandising retailer, headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand. It was established under the auspices of Groupe Casino. For many years, it has been a leading hypermarket chain in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. In 2004, Big C made an entry into Vietnam market. Immediately, it has become the leading hypermarket in Vietnam.

In recent years, after Vietnam engaged more and more significantly into the global market, living standard has been improved substantially, resulting in the increase in  consumption demand. Consumers are no longer satisfied with the grocery stores, which are often small in scale due to its lack of good diversification. Realizing this opportunity, many foreign retailer penetrated into Vietnamese market with a view to exploiting this promising land. Metro and Big C could be considered a case in point. Against the invasion of these foreigners, there exists some relatively weaker efforts from the domestic retailer, such as Coop Mart, Hapro Mart, Citi Mart, to name but a few. (as far as I know)

For your information, I want to resort to some figures found out by AT Kearney in 2011, Vietnam is among the countries with the fastest growth rate of retailing industry. Many thanks go to the high population density and young population. Retailing revenue in Vietnam is also proceeded to reach $85 billion  in 2012.

The five most leading retailing corporations in Vietnam are: Metro ( wholesaler – in fact, it is retailer), Big C ( retailer), Parkson ( focus on industrial goods), Lotte, Louis Vuitton. Of these five above-mentioned supermarkets, I just have chances to go to Big C and Parkson. Intuitively, Big C brings me with a feeling of familiarity while Parkson made me overwhelmed with its pricey goods. On the basis of popularity, Big C is the most popular destination for consumers, especially the ones coming from the middle and lower class of the society.

2. Further analysis

In this part, I want to point out some factors, I believe to help Big C, particularly Big C Thang Long become the market leader in the area of Hanoi.

Based on Marketing Mix:

– Price: Price often accounts a substantial part in the decision-making process of consumers. Big C has succeeded in building the image of a low-price supermarket in the mind of many customers. It is often associated with a generous discount policy, which is advertised widely to every household around the year long. As a result, Big C is always crowded with people from all walks of life. Almost everyone coming here can easily find out the goods which fit with their own income.  Sometimes, I feel that this policy seems to have counter-effect. As discounting policies seem to be offered every time in the year, people feel that it is not special anymore. Along with some scandals relating to the quality of food in Big C, there are some doubts questioned at the quality of good in Big C. To some people, they think that Big C supplies with only low quality goods at low price. Anyway, Big C is still one popular destination for customers with low and middle income.

– Product: Big C offered with a wide variety of products at various level of prices. I often come here to buy clothes because of its inexpensiveness and diversification. Besides the goods of the other companies, Big C also produces some brands themselves, such as Wow! or eBon. One thing I believe that makes Big C popular is its bread. Big C bread has been long appeared in the dictionary of many families. There was a time, consumer demand for Big C bread was very high, people had to queue in a long line to buy for one piece of baguette. Some people even took advantage of this situation, buying lots of baguette, standing in front of Big C to sell the baguette for the ones who cannot wait in the queue to buy the bread.

– Place: Big C Hanoi is located in a very favorable place, which is at the cross section of important roads in Hanoi. In comparison with Metro, it had advantages in place.

– Promotion: I seem to mention it too much in the part of price. Big C scatters their leaflets regularly to every household. Big C leaflets are very popular in many families. I don’t know when I started to get into the habit of checking the leaflet to look for the clothes price. It is somehow akin to the newsletter you receive weekly from your organization of interest.

In addition, Big C had a good display. Some months ago, when I came to Big C with my sister, I was impressed enormously with its glamorous display. At that time, autumn was coming. On the leftmost aisle, they decorated the two edges with red-leaf maples. And today when I came in, as Christmas is about to take place, they put a lot of snowflake and made many bare trees with snow dust covering. Though I know it is just artificial product, I still can not get my eyes off the lay out of the supermarket. Along with the music of Christmas, the customers are motivated more to buy the goods. There are also another places decorated very gracefully. Something I don’t like about the display is that in some parts, the goods are put in a disorganizing ways, which prevented customers from moving easily through the shelves.

Big C has set its slogan as “Big C – Supermarket of every family”. To some extent, they have fulfilled their objectives. Besides, there are some drawbacks such as the quality of some goods, the heavy traffic in the holiday, making Big C less attractive to some customers. Big C Hanoi also meets the competition from some domestic retailers and in the future, when Lotte completes its retailing complex, it will be a serious competitor of Big C Thang Long. For the time being, however, Big C is still a popular supermarket of almost every family, in my opinion.

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