10 Sacrosanct Principles Of A Retail Marketing Internship

A plethora of products stacked in numerous shelves with which caters to almost every shopping mission of a wide customer base; that’s what an experience in retail has to offer. When you have got to sell everything under one roof to everyone, you need to understand the subtle needs of the customer as well as the business to meet your KPIs. Every corner of that store is significant, and each touchpoint has something valuable to offer in terms of influencing your shopper.

Before I introduce you to the ten principles of a retail marketing internship, I would like to introduce you to a summary of my project. I did my summer stint for METRO Wholesale where the central objective of my project was to boost the number of buying customers all over the country. My project primarily revolved around market research for a population of over 15 lakh customers across 24 stores all over the country. My learnings, as well as experience, is epitomised in these principles.

10 Principles Of Retail Marketing

The First Principle: 

Think and plan before you head out to that store or field.

The second or third slide of your Project Timeline on your final PPT needs to be made at day 1 of your project which you can pivot and change along the weeks as you progress but most importantly make that slide. It’s wise to understand the core proposition of that business before you move onto the store and sightlessly observe what’s going on where. The ideal thing to do would be to take a look at the planogram before heading out to the store so that you can understand the flow of categories as you navigate through the different verticals. This will give you a fair construct of how you are going to monitor the different in-store touchpoints.

The Second Principle: 

Know your arsenal and allies well

Get acquainted with all the different departments that you’ll be interacting and working with and start understanding how you could leverage different resources that will be accessible to you from various departments. Almost every person outside that cubicle of yours has been there longer than you, and it would be wise to get out of your shell and start socialising with everyone as every individual might offer you with a critical customer insight that you can work with. Have that co-intern friend who has a similar project and indulge in his/her project as well, as you both may learn a lot by helping each other out. Keep your campus friends at the touch of your fingertips.

The Third Principle: 

Make every minute in the field count.

A small thing to remember would be the scale you operate in. It’s almost next to impossible if you have a Pan India project with numerous stores and you plan to visit every possible one and fix every single problem that exists in each of the stores. You always need to have that effort to impact matrix going inside your head and look at only on the maximum impact zones. So, have your set of field objectives before you move to the field and most importantly get a focused idea of what to look for rather than just looking at everything because that one store visit or field trip might have more to offer than what your open mind can handle.

The Fourth Principle: 

Challenge the status quo.

Trust your gut feelings and more importantly trust KOTLER. Rather than just believing that a particular system is perfect because it has been in place for decades, question its necessity and existence. Hypothesise it, float it and prove or disprove it by the voice of your millions of customers rather than just blindly trusting the management perception.

The Fifth Principle: 

Believe that the competition is better; even the weakest one.

Know your competition better than you know yourself. It’s only when you perceive that they are better; you’ll be able to identify even the most minute areas where they may have a competitive advantage which is necessary to understand switching behaviour among customers as well as find cues to induce customer loyalty

The Sixth Principle: 

Be selective when it comes to customer interviews.

It’s not about the numbers but the insights from your in-depth interview which count. The flow should be good enough to know when it’s no longer required to ask any further questions and move away to the next customer. To reiterate it might not be the customer level but the customer segment level problem that you would be solving hence it’s wise to understand who falls where. 

The Seventh Principle: 

Data once collected cannot be changed.

Refresh your Market Research and Analytics Knowledge before you float that Survey.

It’s fairly significant to understand the mathematical methods you’ll be applying beforehand to prove or disprove the hypothesis. You have to understand what the data might unfold the requirement of more data for drilling down further into the problem statement would be a wise thing to do because the existence of a problem might need some data and solving that or proposing recommendations may require some other.


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The Eighth Principle: 

Visualise and simplify that data.

Understand that you are out of your college and you might be presenting across verticals who may not specialise in your domain. Heat maps and parents in your tables are essential, and only the most critical graphs need to be there rather than bamboozling your mentors or managers with a ton of charts. The takeaways from every slide must be self-explanatory without your presence.

The Ninth Principle: 

Don’t be reluctant to seek help from your friends or colleagues even if the problem is simple.

It’s necessary to obtain multiple perspectives on a single problem statement even if it’s simple. Sometimes you may bump into a more straightforward solution just by explaining the problem to a friend or a colleague.

The Final Principle: 

Be resolute when it comes to implementation.

Task interdependencies among various verticals could be taxing, and you may come across multiple bottlenecks. Have a strong follow up with all the departments you are working with and make sure you meet the daily objectives that you set for yourself every day.

The above 10 principles are meant to provide direction to someone who would have a marketing stint at retail. Retail itself is very diversified hence the article is intended to reinforce the importance of structure and daily diligence for getting maximum work done in a short span of time.


To read more internship experiences, click here.

Aninda Halder

Aninda Halder is a student at IIM Bangalore PGP 17-19. He is a fitness enthusiast conflicted by his love for food and enjoys good music and movies.