I’ve been to Metro Cash & Carry in Yeshwanthpur, Bangalore a couple of times. Following are my observations:
Access, membership and ambience:
– You can’t access the store unless you have a Metro membership card. To get one, you need to present a Sales Tax invoice, which is basically used to establish that you are some kind of a seller (shop owner, businessman, etc.) and not a regular person who’s come looking for bargains. That’s because Metro is a wholesaler, so it is technically supposed to sell to retailers.
– The Metro membership card is like a photo ID card. It has your photo and membership number. Once you have a membership card, you can take one person along with you into the store.
– Not sure about this, but I think the membership is renewed every year via the same procedure.
– As for the Metro stores, they are quite huge with a massive amount of space to display the entire range of products on a single floor. It’s almost like an aircraft MRO workshop. Parking outside is also sufficient.
Products and pricing:
– Metro has a wide product range, and sells everything from apparel and footwear to luggage bags, toys, food and beverages, alcohol, furniture, electronics, kitchen accessories, etc. Pretty much like Big Bazaar, Spar, etc. The difference is that these are retailers, and Metro is a wholesaler, so you will (technically) get the same things for cheaper here.
– Although prices of many items are less than in retail stores, certain items may not be cheaper than outside. Particularly I’ve noticed that prices of electronics (TVs, DVD players, fridge, washing machine, etc.), mobile phones and so on tend to remain static there, whereas outside there’s almost a daily fluctuation. So when you go there, make sure you know the outside prices beforehand.
– Since Metro is a wholesaler, there are also certain clauses on purchases. For example, minimum purchase has to be Rs. 1000. Again, many items are not sold in single quantity. If you’re buying shoes, you may have to buy minimum 3 pairs. Likewise, 6 pairs of socks, or 2 jackets, etc. So some items would make sense to buy only if you’re buying for a group of people. Then again, if you’re a shop or business owner, you’re gonna buy in bulk anyway so that’s fine.
– There are also good deals on product combos. For example, TV + DVD player + Home theatre. Or queen size bed + cupboard + dressing table, etc. These deals tend to be quite good usually.
– Metro has a fortnightly product brochure that it sends out to its members. It’s called Metro Mail , and is like the full page ads or leaflets of Big Bazaar, Spencer’s, etc. that we get with the newspaper. It basically has the prices and hot deals for that fortnight. So with that, you can stay up to date with the prices and offers without having to go there.
– Metro website (http://www.metro.co.in) also has the same information available. You need to login with your membership number to view it.
Payment, delivery and service:
– As for payments, be prepared for a rude shock! Last time I checked (1 year ago), they only accepted Citibank credit/debit cards! It’s either that or cash! I just can’t understand this logic. It’s nothing short of high-handedness. What if I don’t have a Citibank card, but I purchase items worth Rs. 1,00,000? Am I supposed to walk in there with a lakh rupees in cash??
– As for delivery, I think it’s pretty much the same as any large store. There may be hits and misses like any store, so I won’t go much into that. My uncle, who has the card, has bought many things from there and so far he has not had any delivery or after-sales service issues.
– After-sales service has the reputation of being cumbersome, as per my uncle. You need to retain the bills and take the product back there if any defects. Or go to the local service centre of that product. Same as any other shop, but troublesome for some reason.
Overall, it’s good but access is not for everyone. Also, you’d be advised to check the prices outside before going there.