Big Bazaar and Smart Bazaar are two popular retail chains in India. Both operate as supermarket/hypermarket formats and belong to the same parent company, Future Group. However, there are some key differences between the two chains.
Overview of Big Bazaar
Big Bazaar is one of India’s largest retail chains with over 250 stores across the country. It positions itself as a hypermarket combining the product range of a supermarket and discount store. Key features of Big Bazaar include:
- Wide selection of grocery, fresh produce, apparels, electronics, furniture, etc.
- Own private label brands across categories
- Discounted prices and frequent promotions/sales
- Large store sizes ranging from 30,000-50,000 sq ft
- Self-service format with most merchandise available off the shelf
Big Bazaar targets value-conscious consumers from middle and lower income segments. Its slogan is “Is se sasta aur accha kahin nahin” (Nowhere cheaper and better than this).
Overview of Smart Bazaar
Smart Bazaar is a relatively newer retail format from Future Group launched in 2008. It operates smaller sized neighborhood stores compared to Big Bazaar hypermarkets. Key aspects include:
- Store sizes ranging from 2000-5000 sq ft targeted in residential areas
- Limited product assortment focused on daily needs
- Deep discounts and value pricing on daily essentials
- Focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, grocery, staples
- Some apparel and general merchandise
- Self-service checkout counters
Smart Bazaar’s target audience is middle and lower middle income consumers residing in the store’s locality.
Store Size and Formats
The most visible difference between the two chains is their store sizes and formats:
- Big Bazaar operates large hypermarket formatted stores ranging from 30,000-50,000 sq ft
- Smart Bazaar follows smaller neighborhood supermarket format from 2000-5000 sq ft
Big Bazaar’s hypermarket format allows it to offer a much wider range of categories like furniture, electronics, apparel along with groceries under one roof. Smart Bazaar focuses on essentials for daily needs in a smaller localized store.
Product Range and Categories
The merchandising strategies of the two chains differ considerably:
- Big Bazaar offers an extensive product range with over 35,000 SKUs covering groceries, fresh produce, apparel, cosmetics, utensils, electronics, furniture, etc.
- Smart Bazaar primarily focuses on groceries, fruits/vegetables and some apparel. Overall SKUs restricted to 1000-2000 focused products.
While Big Bazaar provides one-stop shopping, Smart Bazaar selectively curates products tailored for regular neighborhood needs.
Private Label Brands
Both chains leverage their own private labels:
- Big Bazaar has over 30 private brands across categories like Tasty Treat for foods, DJ&C for apparel, Koryo for electronics, etc.
- Smart Bazaar has its own brands primarily in staples and grocery like Smart Choice staples, Which? breads, Smart Kitchen ingredients, etc.
Private labels allow them to control quality and offer competitive value pricing to customers.
Pricing and Promotions
Discount pricing is core to both Big Bazaar and Smart Bazaar:
- Big Bazaar runs weekly discount deals, bundled offers (buy 2 get 1 free), and occasional “Sabse Saste Din” sales with big savings.
- Smart Bazaar focuses on EDLP (everyday low pricing) for daily groceries and discounts on special promotion days.
Both chains aim to deliver strongly value-based pricing to their target shoppers but do so in slightly different ways.
There is a strategic difference in store locations selected by the two brands:
- Big Bazaar locates hypermarkets on high streets, malls or stand-alone buildings with parking suited for one-stop shopping trips.
- Smart Bazaar focuses on opening smaller stores within residential neighborhoods and communities making it convenient for regular grocery runs.
This aligns with Big Bazaar’s positioning for less frequent bulk shopping vs. Smart Bazaar for localized daily/weekly buys.
Target Consumer Segments
Both retail chains target value-conscious consumers but varying income profiles:
- Big Bazaar targets middle, upper-lower, and lower middle income groups with its broad assortment and hypermarket format.
- Smart Bazaar specifically focuses lower middle income consumers within local communities.
This influences their pricing, assortment, store sizes and location strategies.
In-store Customer Experience
The customer experience varies across the two chains:
- Big Bazaar positions itself as an exciting shopping destination with its vibrant, cluttered merchandising and decor. Interactions are friendly but transactions quick at checkout.
- Smart Bazaar has an orderly, no-frills store environment focused on convenience. Customer service is limited but checkout efficient.
Big Bazaar aims for livelier experiences compared to Smart Bazaar’s purely functional interactions.
Ownership and Management
There are some commonalities in ownership and operations:
- Both Big Bazaar and Smart Bazaar are owned by Future Group, a leading Indian retailer.
- Supply chain, procurement, IT and administrative functions are shared between the two chains.
- Top leadership like the CEO is common across Big Bazaar and Smart Bazaar.
But daily store operations, merchandising, marketing are handled by separate dedicated teams for each brand.
Future Group’s Retail Strategy
Smart Bazaar fills a specific need within Future Group’s broader retail portfolio:
- Big Bazaar hypermarkets cater to bulk shopping and wider needs.
- Smart Bazaar meets localized grocery and daily needs.
- Other formats like EasyDay provide mid-sized supermarket options.
Smart Bazaar helps Future Group penetrate specific neighborhoods and consumer segments as part of its comprehensive retail expansion.
In summary, the key differences between the two retail chains are:
- Store sizes and format (hypermarket vs smaller supermarket)
- Product range and assortment
- Target consumer income segments
- Location strategy
- Positioning as shopping destination vs neighborhood store
- In-store customer experience
However, common ownership, back-end infrastructure, value pricing and private labels create some synergies between Big Bazaar and Smart Bazaar.
Big Bazaar and Smart Bazaar compete with different retailers:
- Big Bazaar competes with other hypermarket chains like D-Mart, HyperCity, Spencers, etc.
- Smart Bazaar competes with localized supermarkets, kiranas, convenience stores.
But the two chains complement each other within Future Group’s retail ecosystem for Indian consumers.
Big Bazaar will likely retain its position as Future Group’s flagship hypermarket brand. Smart Bazaar aims to expand its presence rapidly across newer neighborhoods to serve local daily needs.
While independent, both chains leverage common backend infrastructure and supply chains for efficiency as Future Group continues expanding its reach and coverage across India.