Rimping Supermarket – Example of Business Modification Triggered By Urbanization

     Our previous article entitled “Urbanization – New Approach to Supply Chain Management” (dated April 25, 2016) covers the impact of urbanization on supply chain management which has to be modified under the circumstances given the constant increase in consumer needs for both goods and services.  At the same time, various facilities available to local consumers have brought a change in their behavior causing shops, large and small alike, to seek adjustment strategy to survive.  Local supermarkets are no exceptions, especially in Chiang Mai where urbanization is growing steadily.  They have thus been compelled to undertake a total adjustment to ensure competitiveness and cope with an increasing number of players in the market comprising supermarkets in large department stores such as Central and Tesco Lotus along with numerous community malls and convenience stores. 

The Tantraporn Group, currently known as Rimping Supermarket (or Rimping for short), has been in department store business for more than six decades.  Faced with high competition through large department stores, Rimping has been compelled to adjust under market circumstances to ensure competitiveness.  As it turned out, they made the right decision despite critical business situations, which is the basic principle for doing business involving a SWOT analysis to identify business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and opting to conduct the kind of business with which one is adept.  In other words, Rimping knew that it was vital to maintain their core business, i.e. supermarket, and end others before engaging in serious analytical thinking and proceeding to develop anything that would generate business differentiation and distinguish them in the market from which arises the brand ‘Rimping Supermarket’ positioned as a high-end supermarket to attract sophisticated and discerning clients. Evidence of their success can be seen in the business expansion to include nine branches in Chiang Mai and one in Laos.

With the business vision to ‘determinedly make daily shopping an aesthetic pleasure where customers can enjoy fair prices and high standard customer care with long years of determination to realize the local community welfare and healthy environment’, Rimping has vividly conveyed this standpoint to the target groups of customers through unique operations, be they in the area of design and decoration distinctive of every branch as regards mood, tone and atmosphere or priority given to details such as the replacement of loud commercial ads with classical music, suitable lighting at each display spot, among others, all of which turn shopping into an enjoyable and gratifying experience.  Besides, certain merchandises are not available elsewhere.  Even with the provision of online shopping services, most customers still prefer to do their shopping at the stores.

A further Rimping’s accomplishment which squarely responds with differentiation to target customers’ needs lies mainly in the ability to understand and take interest in customers’ health with emphases on goods/food safety, fresh produce inspections to see if they contain pesticides and toxic pesticide residues and, more importantly, affixation of the five-color code on goods to describe/identify the method of produce growing under the so-called Green Grocery project, or five-color produce, ranging from 100% organic produce (green), produce grown with the use of pesticide-free chemical fertilizers at the planting stage (blue), produce grown with the use of pesticide-free chemical fertilizers which is stopped ten days prior to harvesting (yellow), hydroponic produce (white) to produce grown for general market (red).  The five-color technique is designed to provide data and help customers make better decisions. In addition, goods displaying the Rimping Select sticker indicates that the store has selected quality goods produced by small operators in the local community who lack a goods distribution channel.  Goods with a Rimping Select sticker being marketed at the supermarket to indicate that they are produced under the talent project include, for example, Ban Khwae dehydrated longan, Take Me Home tomato, Mae Jam crispy fried pork rind, Auntie Lek Khao Taen (rice crackers) and fresh bean sprouts produced by Ngok Nguei Farm.  This is in itself a means to help generate economic growth at the community level as Rimping achieves business success.

Rimping also runs bistro-style restaurant business including seafood/oyster bar, Japanese restaurant, wine bar, select coffee corner and cozy snack corner.  At Rimping Supermarket, one can stylishly combine shopping with fine meals and entertainment. As expected, home delivery service is available.

Aside from concentrating on customer understanding and growing with the trading partners/business stakeholders, Rimping never ignores business operations in consideration of environment.  This is evident in Rimping’s orange plastic bags which are degradable within eight months.  Furthermore, each bag denied by the customer means 50 satang donated to the company’s Helping Hands charity project to set up educational grants.  As such, theirs is an integrated business aiming to achieve sustainable growth. 

Although aiming to attract a small niche market, Rimping thoroughly understands customer needs and concerns.  An important lesson learned from the case of Rimping is to love what one is doing as every project, merchandise and service Rimping provides the customers, be it a pleasurable shopping experience, exquisite food or attentiveness to every detail, depicts the company as an exemplary business that has adjusted as well as distinguished itself through differentiation strategy resulting in better competitiveness amidst fast changing market situations – competitiveness that has been realized through great vision, business determination and genuine attentiveness. 

Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics

References and picture credits:  rimping.com, jive blog : UdornWeekly

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