Sociocultural and ethical implications of entry of big retailers in India

The entry of big retailers would affect the sociocultural status of the country by reducing the extent and nature of interactions that occur in the market place. The small retailers offer a place for customers and retailers to foster social interactions. This is for instance evident in a case study that highlights how shoppers visit the malls only to review the prices then proceed to purchase from the small retailers (Srivastava 2009). Such market places thus serve as a place to build social relationship and trust, which the retailers for instance use to offer goods on credit to their customers. However, with enhanced penetration into the market and implementation of home ordering and delivery services, advantages that small retailers offer over the large retailers decline. Accordingly, such efficiencies could facilitate cultural transformation that diminishes the extent of social interactions that occur in open markets.

The entry of large retailers also poses ethical challenges regarding their business practices. In pursuit of cost leadership strategy, big retailers have resisted aspects such as unionization of employees while failing to address workers’ concerns in some of their markets (Zellner 2002). Replication of such strategies in the Indian market would present challenges to the implementation of policies that seek to better employees’ working conditions.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The opening of the Indian retail market to foreign investment provides opportunities for large retailers to enter the market. This paper evaluated the benefits and disadvantages that follow such entry. Entry of the large retailers would improve the supply chain and enhance farmers’ incomes by providing a direct market that avoids middlemen. Such retailers would also enhance the quality that customers get by reducing wastage through their cold storage facilities. However, the big retailers could result into the exit of small retailers that are a core source of employment in the Indian retail sector.

The Indian government should allow entry of such retailers but restrict their expansion to large cities. This would help to streamline the supply chain while providing adequate opportunities for small retailers in locations away from the cities. It would also offer alternative markets for suppliers thus avoiding their exploitation by middlemen or large retailers who gain enormous purchasing power. By enhancing competition, such entry would also encourage all retailers to enhance the service they offer to the customer.

For big retailers, India offers a good opportunity for growth. They should thus enter the market but use modes such as joint ventures to minimize liabilities associated with a diverse culture. Restriction of their initial stores within large cities would also help the retailers since the cosmopolitan population in such areas would be more receptive to and have the resources that enable strategies such home ordering and delivery services.


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