Pak Retailers – Interview Episode 03 – Mr. Muhammad Irfan – Al-Qasim General Store

Q: Your name, educational background, and work experience?
Ans: My name is Mohammad Irfan and I have done ICS and I have been managing Al-Qasim general store for 3 years now. Q: Are you aware of your trade margins?
Ans: Yes I am aware of my margin because price is mentioned on every product and we calculate our margin on each product accordingly. Q: Do you have any concerns regarding margin transparency with distributors?
Yes it happen at times. They tell us something else and send something else. The things we buy from other places are more profitable in terms of margins and the margin on the product delivered at the store are quite low. Q: How many distributors visit you on a daily/monthly basis?
Ans: On a monthly basis, 10-15 distributors come to visit us and they are distribution network’s owners, supervisor, GSM or SM. Otherwise, 30-4- order takers come to visit us on daily basis. Q: How do you contact your distributors?
We have their mobile number or their number is mentioned on their bill and we call them on the provided number. Yes.. On call Q: How do you get to know about new products?
The new products are usually mentioned in the bill and the order taker guides us too about the new products. Most of the time, we get to know from the customer and he gives us positive or negative feedback after using the product. Q: How early do you get to know about the seasonal trade promo?
We get to know within a week because the trade promo comes one week before we are informed about the trade promo. At times, we see ads on TV and the customer demands for that product which leads us to demand for that product. Q: How important do you think is inside and outside store branding for your business?
Ans: It is very important and the reason is that people buy what they see. Display is very significant for all kinds of work. Q: Do you attend trade conventions arranged by the companies?
Ans: They invite by considering the extent of the business. We have a small-scale business that is why they seldom invite us. Do the company representatives visit you?
Ans: Yes, they come and they visit us when a product is about to launched. They normally inform or visit people with whom they have good relation. Do you participate with your family in fun musical programs and family musical programs?
Ans: No, we are not facilitated in this regard. The big stores are facilitated only. Q: Do you have a Debit/credit card machine?
Ans: No Sir.. we did not even try to get it. Q: Do you have any idea about the QR payment machine?
Ans: No, I do not know about it. Q: Are you interested in getting business loans at simple terms and conditions?
Ans: Yes, we will take it.. because keeping in view the extent and condition of the business today, we have to benefit from it by expanding it otherwise it will stay the same. Q: Do you want the publicity of your business on the internet?
Ans: Yes. Q: Do you have a smartphone?
Ans: Yes. Business cannot be managed without smartphone these days. Q: Have you ever used any mobile app?
Ans: Yes. Whatsapp, Facebook, (beep), Careem and Uber. Q:In your opinion, what are the major issues faced by retailers?
Ans: Retailer has issues related to timely supply of the products. The second issue is related to his communication with the order taker. The third issue is related to the margin and its transparency. The fourth issue is that we order something and something else is delivered or the excuse is that the ordered product was out of stock. This affects the customer inflow and the reputation of the store is also damaged that this product is not available at his store. Q:What measures must be taken by companies to facilitate retailers?
Ans: Retailer must be facilitated by the companies through proper communication. A cell must be established where complaints can be lodged and they must directly reach the owner of the company or the SM so that they also get to know what issues a common retailer is facing.

Norman Bunn

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