New ways to un­lock value in re­tail

Mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sur­ing the im­pact of data-driven ini­tia­tives against com­pa­nyspe­cific met­rics such as gross profit, rev­enue and in­ven­tory car­ry­ing costs, can of­fer sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits.

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Contents -

Or­ga­nized re­tail in In­dia is only 10 years old but the sec­tor has shown ex­cel­lent adapt­abil­ity in ab­sorb­ing some of the best prac­tices and is mov­ing to the next fron­tier in re­tail and brand prac­tices. Most of th­ese changes un­der­way or afoot are good and pro­gres­sive but they need to be han­dled with care. Some of th­ese de­vel­op­ments for the re­tail in­dus­try to pay close at­ten­tion to are:

Re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence: Nowa­days, re­tail stores are pro­vid­ing unique ex­pe­ri­ence to cus­tomers be­sides sell­ing mer­chan­dise. For con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence and per­spec­tive, brick and mor­tar stores are still ex­tremely rel­e­vant; how­ever, cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence is some­thing that goes be­yond the bounds of the phys­i­cal re­tailer. For ex­am­ple, pro­mo­tional fea­tures like the use of tech­nol­ogy, dis­plays and in-store de­signs, per­son­al­iza­tion along with ser­vice and op­er­a­tional ex­cel­lence have been adopted and im­ple­mented by brands to at­tract foot­fall at re­tail stores. Th­ese ini­tia­tives help to build an im­por­tant con­nect with con­sumers.

Con­flu­ence of online and off­line re­tail: The trend is fast catch­ing up with shop­ping cen­ters in In­dia. They are re­al­iz­ing the need to com­ple­ment the phys­i­cal am­bi­ence of stores with an online pres­ence. Go­ing ahead, e-com­merce and brick-and-mor­tar will co-ex­ist and fi­nally reach a level of ma­tu­rity and trans­lat­ing into sound busi­ness sense for om­nichan­nel play­ers.

Re­search-based in­vest­ments: Big Data, fast data and data del­uge is tak­ing over the world of busi­nesses, espe­cially the cus­tomer-fo­cused ones, by storm. Re­tail is no ex­cep­tion as more and more cus­tomers leave dig­i­tal foot­prints with ev­ery trans­ac­tion, in­ter­ac­tion and en­gage­ment at ev­ery re­tail touch-point — online, mo­bile, so­cial chan­nels, in-store and even con­tact cen­ters. Tech­nol­ogy is en­abling busi­nesses to col­lect shop­per data from th­ese touch-points, an­a­lyze it and de­rive in­sights to make in­formed de­ci­sions, whether it is for pro­vid­ing a bet­ter cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, run­ning mar­ket­ing promotions, de­cid­ing on prod­uct as­sort­ment or gain­ing tighter stock con­trol. Mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sur­ing the im­pact of data-driven ini­tia­tives against com­pany-spe­cific met­rics such as gross profit, rev­enue and in­ven­tory car­ry­ing costs, can of­fer sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits. Dig­i­tal and m-com­merce: Post de­mon­e­ti­za­tion, con­sumers have adapted to dig­i­tal pay­ment in a big way and are us­ing dig­i­tal chan­nels for var­i­ous tran­sc­tions. The tran­si­tion from traditional com­merce to e-com­merce and now m-com­merce is be­ing driven by re­tail seg­ments. Mo­bile to­day is more than just a call­ing de­vice as the in­ter­neten­abled smart­phone is be­com­ing a point of com­merce for re­tail out­lets and cus­tomers. We see con­sumers now shop­ping across web­sites, apps and in-store as per their con­ve­nience. The growth is fu­elled by the avail­abil­ity of af­ford­able smart­phones and mo­bile data plans backed by an im­prov­ing tele­com in­fra­struc­ture.

To­day, con­sumers are split into two cat­e­gories – those who shop online and those who don’t as they pre­fer to ex­pe­ri­ence the look and feel of a prod­uct. The sec­ond type of con­sumer opts for cash trans­ac­tions, be­ing new to the con­cept of us­ing tech­nol­ogy as an en­abler for fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions. De­mon­e­ti­za­tion has thus for­mal­ized the process of go­ing dig­i­tal for fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions where con­cepts such as UPI (uni­fied pay­ments in­ter­face) have be­come eas­ily avail­able to con­sumers with the reg­u­la­tory and pol­icy push ac­cel­er­at­ing the process.

Look­ing ahead, the re­tail sec­tor is poised for sub­stan­tial growth and or­ga­nized re­tail­ing will grow at a rate of more than 18-20% CAGR. E-tail­ing will form a sig­nif­i­cant part of the rev­enue for var­i­ous re­tail­ers. Apart from cash­less trans­ac­tions, changes in the reg­u­la­tory environment with FDI, GST, and var­i­ous ini­tia­tives to im­prove the ease of do­ing busi­ness au­gur well for the fu­ture of re­tail in­dus­try.

The au­thor has over 30 years of learn­ings and win­ning ex­pe­ri­ence with Food Re­tail, New con­cept/ brands, FMCG and Or­gan­ised Re­tail. Cur­rently he heads Dubai Over­seas Trade of­fice in In­dia and is on the Board of Skill Devel­op­ment – SME for Re­tail – be­sides also ad­vis­ing on in­ter­na­tional food re­tail­ing in In­dia. He is reach­able at rakeshgamb­hir@im­ages­group.in

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