THE modern retail business is experiencing stiff competition, especially supermarkets. A number of major players — such as Carrefour, Hypermarket, Giant and LotteMart — as well as smaller ones — including Yomart, Alfamart and Indomaret — are all engaged in the tight competition to grab a share of the market in Indonesia’s large cities. All of them are doing their best to win over customers.
The tough competition has not disheartened local players. One of them is PT Supra Boga Lestari, which operates Ranch Market. This supermarket, which is quite creative and innovative, opened its doors at the dawn of the reform era and presents new color and choice to its customers.
Initially Ranch Market was a franchise supermarket from the US and at first its business was not smooth. It was established in 1998 and the May 1998 riots led to the American pulling out of the country. “We had only operated for four months and the riots caused the franchisor to cease business. So, we continued on our own,” explained Nugroho Setiadharma, president director of PT Supra Boga Lestari.
Currently, PT Supra Boga Lestari manages eight Ranch Market outlets and three Farmers Market outlets. According to Nugroho, there is huge market potential based on the ratio between modern markets and the population. “It’s a challenge. The more progressive a nation, the higher the demand,” he said. The urban lifestyle of Jakartans and Surabayans has similarities to that of foreigners living in other countries as they need quality products.
Since its establishment, Ranch Market has been consistent in making available quality products, both local and imported. It has also successfully positioned itself as a middle-class and up specialty store with a customer target that includes expatriates. The target composition is 60 percent local customers and 40 percent expatriates. Ranch Market has another superior feature from other supermarkets as it consistently makes available fresh and quality products, such as vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.
Nugroho said that to win competition, there should be a unique difference and the right marketing strategy. Ranch Market avoids giving big discounts or selling at low prices because its market segment is more concerned about quality than price. “So we offer good food, quality products at very competitive prices,” said Nugroho, who was born in Kediri in 1966.
Ranch Market also provides excellent customer service. “A smile is not enough. We must be able to provide a solution to customers,” said Nugroho.
Just like any other modern supermarket, Ranch Market maximizes its store space for the best return. Each shelf is filled with unique products to give a larger margin. Thus Ranch Market is always innovative in finding the most unique products to meet market demand.
Nugroho also does not accept or deal with just any supplier, as can be seen in the fact that at least 10 major suppliers that supply other supermarkets have been rejected by Ranch Market. He wants Ranch Market to be a trendsetter as it is the only supermarket here to receive Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point certification from Australia.
Another innovation Nugroho introduced at Ranch Market is cooking classes, because according to him not every customer can cook well or is familiar with every ingredient and spice and so forth. Specialized chefs give cooking classes using products available at Ranch Market. The program was introduced not to make a profit but to give customers extra value.
The latest breakthrough is Ranch Market The Landmark, which is the largest outlet in Southeast Asia. The 3,200-square-meter supermarket located at Grand Indonesia East Mall is a flagship store and has more than 200 display racks, food counter and take away food bar. Ranch Market The Landmark offers a great selection of delicious quality food.
For this outlet, Nugroho had to prepare for two years with an investment of Rp 30 billion. Out of the total area, about 1,000 square meters is dedicated to the Ninety-Nine restaurant. The addition of a restaurant makes Ranch Market The Landmark the only supermarket in Jakarta that owns and manages a restaurant professionally.
Along with rising public environmental awareness, Ranch Market The Landmark sells various certified organic products. This is in line with the green value of Ranch Market and its mission to reduce global warming and preserve the environment in Indonesia.
To realize such a commitment, Nugroho, in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund, conducted a program called One Bag One Tree. Through this program customers can participate in reforestation on Mount Rinjani and can monitor the trees planted on their behalf in an interactive way using geo-tags through Google Earth and Yahoo! Map so they can see their names on their trees.
There is also the Seafood Saver program as Ranch Market is committed to sustaining the marine ecosystem for the food it makes available in the store. It also reduces the use of paper as the cashier asks customers whether a printout is needed. In line with the environmental values of Ranch Market, Ninety-Nine restaurant has a natural ecological atmosphere that includes plants and a mini-waterfall. It serves Western, Asian and local food prepared by an experienced executive chef.
Nugroho is determined to keep opening new supermarkets in Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali, where there is a huge market potential. All these steps will strengthen the brand image of Ranch Market for its commitment to quality, innovation and excellent service. (Ade Irwan Trisnadi)
The Jakarta Post, June 23, 2010