Understanding the minds of Indian shoppers

By Nayanima Basu

Book: "IT Happened In India"; Author: Kishore Biyani with Dipayan Baishya; Publisher: Rupa & Co; Price: Rs.99

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"IT Happened In India" is set in the backdrop of an India that is growing like never before, an India that is gradually emerging as the cynosure of leading global investors and an India which boasts of a billion plus consumers, hungry for brands but at affordable rates.

In this book, Biyani, the 46-year-old managing director of Pantaloon Retail (India), has very eloquently painted the picture of the modern India that, according to a report by global consultancy firm McKinsey, is soon going to surpass Germany as the world's fifth biggest consumer market by 2015.

While sharing his experiences in establishing Big Bazaar, Pantaloon's flagship store, as the shopper's preferred place for shopping, Biyani has very deftly portrayed the mind of an average middle class buyer for whom shopping is more than just an outing; it's about getting the right thing at the right price.

It's this understanding about him that has made most readers relate to themselves as those who have, may be for once, been part of the meandering queues that wait outside the Big Bazaar stores to eagerly avail themselves of the "ek ke sath ek free" (buy one get one free) offers.

The book also serves as a splendid guidebook for budding entrepreneurs who are aspiring to gain a foothold in the retail industry, often regarded as the 'sunrise industry' by experts and economists.

Biyani's maiden book comes out as a very honest and transparent biography as he describes how he failed to prove his abilities in filmmaking even though he had a commendable star cast and an equally good rapport with the who's who of the glittering film industry. But that experience has made him understand and better identify his abilities and inabilities.

According to some estimates, the Indian retail sector would grow into the size of a $427 billion industry from the current $328 billion, with organised retail growing as much as 22 percent.