World Monitor Mag WM_June 2018 web - Page 59

EXPERT OPINION Kazakhstan is that they are very dedicated to the fresh products, which influences Kazakhstani people’s purchasing habits. There are green bazars around the country. This is a strength of Ramstore with 50% of the sales coming from the fresh products. When you enter our stores, fruit and vegetable is the first section that welcomes you. We feel confident about the other goods we sell in the store, but fresh stuff is our strongest muscle, I should say. This is what differentiates us from others – committing to what customers prefer. Eventually, they show respect to the brand. So, green markets were the first thing I realized arriving in Kazakhstan. People are accomplishing their daily purchases at such markets. Then we thought through and adapted our strategy according to these preferences. Why should our customers go to bazars if we can fill their needs in Ramstore? You have renovated the first Ramstore shopping mall in Almaty and today it is ‘All In’. Can you share more details about the concept? Being the first shopping center here, it makes Ramstore the oldest one. But a shopping center gets old day by day. And people change too. Ages change, new generations come and go and their expectations are adjusting over time as well. Our management decided to make these changes in the mall in accordance with customers’ expectations. Ten years ago, for example, a shopping mall was only a prospect for people. Today our customers expect many other things. They anticipate a social life to happen, not just being able to buy some goods and go for fast food. They appreciate a place where they can ‘do it all’: meet with family and friends, have something to eat, get a drink, have fun. Business is another constituent of the ‘All In’ concept. That is why we call it center, not the shopping mall anymore. This is a multifunctional trade complex. We have a business center here with Alfa Bank moving their office in. There are also street restaurants, cafes, a bar, a barber shop, a pharmacy, etc. Inside of the building we have a technology market as well. As I said we decided to do this because of our customers’ expectations. We also changed the layout, which makes it a totally new building. We spent around 20 million dollars to renovate. Ramstore as a brand made a strategic investment, even during an economic crises, which shows our commitment to investing in the country. We want to stay in the market and we are interested in contributing into Kazakhstan’s economy. We are gaining money here and as a circulation of funds we are planning to invest again into the development. We see that our customers are happy now. The feedback about the ‘All in’ concept is very positive. Whoever I’ve talked to has said that they are excited about the change. People have some nostalgia in relation to this place. So, we have something planned for them in the future – to bring back some activities. For instance, like the ice skating rink. It is symbolic for many people – for example, some couples met here. One of our clients mentioned his daughter made her first skating steps on the Ramstore ice, and she learned to skate and eventually joined the Olympics. So, we are ready to make surprises for our customers in the future. I hope we will have a fitness center here as well. During the day the Ramstore ‘All In’ is a business center. When work hours are over, this is a meeting point for people and an opportunity to have a cozy dinner. As per our Ramstore team, we are spending most of our time in this building and its premises, because we love what we do. This is our lifestyle! At least, speaking for myself for sure. We enjoy experiencing restaurants outside the building in the end of the working day. So, our facilities are a good relaxation opportunity place for us as well. What are the development plans for Ramstore in the upcoming future? The ‘All In’ concept is not our main direction. Our core business is retail. In retail we are specifically in the supermarket sector. So, we are planning to grow in this sector. We will be growing in this country and will be opening new stores each year. Our strategic plan for the upcoming years is to be opening stores: street stores as an example with an Express format as our focus. We are going after smaller stores with a limited assortment. Today we have more than 16,000 SQA products in our big stores. But in the express format of street stores we have about 5,000 products – commodity ones for daily shopping. This is our plan – to grow in this segment and keep fulfilling the needs of our consumers. We continue to follow our financial discipline as we develop feasible projects. We do take risks, but wisely. supported by EUROBAK 55 EXPERT OPINION Kazakhstan is that they are very dedicated to the fresh products, which influences Kazakhstani people’s purchasing habits. There are green bazars around the country. This is a strength of Ramstore with 50% of the sales coming from the fresh products. When you enter our stores, fruit and vegetable is the first section that welcomes you. We feel confident about the other goods we sell in the store, but fresh stuff is our strongest muscle, I should say. This is what differentiates us from others – committing to what customers prefer. Eventually, they show respect to the brand. So, green markets were the first thing I realized arriving in Kazakhstan. People are accomplishing their daily purchases at such markets. Then we thought through and adapted our strategy according to these preferences. Why should our customers go to bazars if we can fill their needs in Ramstore? You have renovated the first Ramstore shopping mall in Almaty and today it is ‘All In’. Can you share more details about the concept? 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