Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Reliance Digital Experience on 9th June 2013

Visiting Tech Retail stores is my passion . Over the years , I have been to many parts of world and visited stores of all sorts , However visiting the IT malls and superstores selling tech goods have been of special interest to me. I can spend hours browsing through the aisles , looking for “that” exclusive deal and checking out the new cool stuff.
So when Indiblogger announced “ the Reliance Digital Experience” contest , I was very comfortable to explore my favorite past time activity but with a very definite objective – Review the Reliance Experience - Happiness in Store

The day started with Heavy Rains and I was not sure if I could make the store visit today but a small break between showers was good enough for me to make dash to Reliance Digital store at Times Square , Andheri Kurla Road.

The store is not new me as I have already purchased my phone and washing machine from the same store a month back , however observing the store with a different lens was very interesting.

Reliance Digital

Let me talk about what I like about Reliance Digital store first –

The store was brightly lit and well organized, in fact I was wondering if this was the brightest IT mall in the world. The aisles were well displayed and well lit up with very clear signage about the product offers. The range of products was decent and also showcasing a few house brands. Over all the product showcase and availability is decent at Reliance Digital and that has promoted me to buy the Washing machine and Phone from the chain.
The store Manager, Ms. Gupta was very warm in welcoming to the store. She politely refused when I asked permission to take photographs to be included in the blog stating the reasons of pricing and competitive information may get revealed. My suggestion of censoring photos if needed was also refused. It was strange as a marketing campaign , you want your stores to be reviewed but without any pictures which give a positive experience to the reader.

Anyway , I was browsing through the aisles and the first pit stop was at All in Ones and Notebook section . No PC expert was in site and I have to ask a few times to get a PC person to answer my queries. There were many PC / Note book models but it was left to the buyer to make a choice of the relevant model and no assistance was offered. When I asked about any student offer for notebooks , I was given a blank stare. When I asked about Intel’s latest PC campaign where Reliance Digital is mentioned as a store partner , I was told the store has no details , Over all The PC section gets 3/10.

The phone section was well manned and the girl was able to show me around different models and also offered free advice on what product I should buy. No upsell for phone accessories or insurance. Lots of phones on display and across all popular brands. Overall the phone section was buzzing with activity and gets 6/10.

I asked a casual question if the Sony blu ray player can play my US blu ray disks and I got a 200% assurance that any blu ray disk will work on the India region blu ray player. Only after asking another senior sales person , the region locking truth came out and I have to leave the aisle without buying the blu ray player. The AV section is good with mid-range products stocked. Very few options for ipod docks or mid range AV systems.
The TV section was playing a move clip and not showing any HD quality sample which all TV companies share . It is not possible to understand the resolution and color experience if you don’t get to see a HD clip.

I asked if the store has any expensive floor standing speakers , the response was LG and Sony. When I asked about the special home theatre showcase area in the store and speakers displayed there , I was very reluctantly shown the goods there. I asked to show me a trial of Home theater with  Jamo speakers. The sales guy disappeared for 10 minutes and finally was spotted talking to another customer who was in store to buy a 20K TV. Interesting fact was that the same customer was being serviced by 2 more sales persons and here I was a “rich “ customer wanting to splurge my money.

The wait resulted in a USB stick with mp3 content which I refused as I wanted to see a Blu ray or a good audio CD. Another 4 minutes later , A Shrek Blu Ray CD emerged but this time no remotes available for the Sony AMP. Finally , I told the sales person that I will come back again to see the working home theatre experience. Frankly speaking this was the worst demo of any high end product at any Indian store I have visited. Over all the AV section gets 4/10

The consumer durable section is well stocked and sales persons were keen to add accessories and additional warranty and also managed to offer me an additional discount after consulting the store manager.

The payment section was efficient with iphone POS, additional counters will be useful for payments.

I think Reliance Digital has all the ingredients to make a good IT retail experience but they need to work on training their staff properly and ensuring that the customer gets a good experience.

Last but not least , I don’t like stores frisking their customers at the entry with a metal detector, something which I never seen at Croma , E-zone or even at Big Bazzar…

So , Reliance digital team , need some tweaks on your store experience strategy to get customers spend big money with you. Offers work but the Experience is what customer will share with 5 more new customers.