As we’ve discussed in the last few posts, the shopping experience for premium brands in various categories is often less than satisfactory. This post takes a quick look at some of the reasons why this is so. While we started out thinking that low investment in training might be one of the reasons, conversations with a few industry folk told us otherwise.

Part of the reason is a huge shortage of manpower and widespread attrition. People often switch jobs in less than a year – some more than once a year (!); many brands are constantly losing their best, well-trained sales staff, and constantly investing in training to bring others up-to-speed.

To make matters worse, the job is not seen as aspirational by many of the staff, it is merely a stepping-stone, a temporary stint till something better comes along. Somehow, something about having to serve other people makes the job less attractive, more so in the Indian context.

Of course, there are a few other factors at play too, we’ve mentioned these in earlier posts on the topic. In trying to live up to international standards of service and maintain their image, some brands lean too much towards being non-intrusive and end up alienating the Indian consumer who expects more service. There are also a few instances (of a very successful brand) where the sales staff was overconfident and felt that the pull of a powerful brand was enough and they did not need to sell it at all.

Overall though, shortage of appropriate manpower – in terms of attitude, aptitude and skill – seems to be the overarching reason for the mismatch between the brand promise and the shopping experience.


The Escape Velocity Team