A Sneak-Peak At Pi-Shop (Planet-I Shop) – The Student Run Retail Store At IIM Indore

Life at IIM Indore can be hectic with all the lined up classes, back-to-back schedules, chasing deadlines and what not? Imagine, amongst all this rush, if students have to go out to get daily supplies, yummy food, etc. and considering Rau circle (3km) as the closest civilisation spot…UFF!
That is when Merchand-I (The Retail Club of IIM Indore), Planet-I’s very own Retail Club comes to the rescue… Sticking by our motto, “Bringing Life to Planet-I”!

Pi-Shop: Planet-I Shop, fondly known as Pi-Shop by the planet-I residents, is a not-for-profit retail store. Here we make avail a wide range of products like bakery items, stationery, personal care products and various varieties of food and beverages.

Now, what would you do when you go to a retail store? You shop for your products, pay the bill and leave. But very few of us know what goes at the back end to provide the consumer with a smooth shopping experience. And that is what we are dedicated to doing at our own Pi-Shop.

The entrepreneurial journey of the club started with the Pi-shop, a not-for-profit retail store, in the month of July 2008 in a small space with limited operations. The club now has a dedicated space and has grown in size and the scale in terms of products range made available for the Planet-I residents. The transactions are computerised and the club members perform the POS transactions. The club has also employed two dedicated store personnel to support daily operations; One of them, fondly known as Praveen Bhaiya is the backbone of Pi-Shop. He ropes in contacts of wholesalers, distributors etc to bring in the best deals to the campus. Praveen Bhaiya guides us throughout our day to day operations and plays a major role in the implementation of our suggestions.

Every member of the Merchand-I club spends a dedicated 75 minutes as part of operations of the Pi-Shop where we take care of billing, inventory management, observing consumer behaviour etc. The shop timings are from 4pm-12pm everyday where we take slots according to our individual schedules and work. Yes! Initially, it is hectic to spend an additional 75 minutes every day amongst classes, assignments, projects, parties etc. But this is where we learn a lot of things and the theory taught in class comes into practice. We get to know about a plethora of organisational concepts like consumer behaviour, stocking the shelves in order to achieve more visibility, maintaining the inventory levels of various products and holding safety stock, negotiating with wholesalers, etc. Financial theory is also put into practice by preparing quarterly balance sheets and income statements and reviewing daily cash flows. We also have monthly meetings where we come together to discuss how to improve overall operations. Apart from all the work, we also take time off every now and then to go out partying which also helps us bond as a team. The most important part of running Pi-Shop successfully is teamwork. Without being able to work as a single team Pi-Shop would not be where it is today.

MI-Mart , Merchand-I Mart: Merchand-I welcomed 2017 by launching its new venture Merchand-I Mart the Planet-I’s exclusive retail merchandising outlet (MI-Mart, pronounced as my mart), beside Pi shop (old tailor shop next to vegetable vendor)The club, already being very active in numerous merchandising activities – be it in designing and printing customised t-shirts, mugs or other paraphernalia and IIM-Indore branded products, takes pre-orders in bulk and delivered to those who made their orders. In order eradicate waiting for someday for the bulk deals, it provides Planet-I residents with the opportunity to grab their favourite goodies off the rack at MI-Mart.

Everyday Food Bulk deals: As a treat to all the Foodies’ taste buds, Merchand-I brings in prominent food chains on a daily basis to Planet-I at a dedicated space at one of the hostel basement. We have partnerships with prominent food chains namely KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Faasos, Singh’s Restaurant, Behrouz Biriyani, Noor’s Kitchen etc and we hope to expand further in the upcoming days.

Merchand-I aims to grow bigger by offering more such services to our fellow residents of Planet-I by constantly exerting its efforts to serve the community in a better way

“Leave your burdens to us and make the most out of your life at Planet-I! :)”

Swathika Selvam

Swathika is a computer science engineer from Coimbatore and currently, she is studying in IIM Indore. As part of the senior team of Merchand-I club (the Retail club of IIMI), one can often spot Swathika at their retail shop (a.k.a Pi-Shop), in the campus. With the passion for writing since young, Swathika has written and published a storybook titled “2 Meddlers” and hopes to publish more of her works in the coming years.