‘I am Excited that RED is on its Way to Becoming a Global Phenomenon’: BS Nagesh
In 2011 and 2012, the Retail Employees’ Day (RED) celebration was just a round of ‘Thank Yous’. In subsequent years, the idea gathered momentum; it became widespread through social media, TV and print advertisements. The positive vibes spread, with more r
In an exclusive interview, the initiator of RED, talks about the popularity and success of the occasion.
Asimple idea can sometimes become very powerful. If the idea connects with the people, then it can turn itself into a movement. This is what retail industry stalwart, BS Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN (Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India), said when he launched one modest idea – Retail Employees’ Day (RED). The idea was conceptualised in 2011, when Nagesh met a few retailers and suggested they spend one day every year just saying a simple ‘Thank You’ to all those who worked for them, adding soul to their businesses. It started with just a few stores celebrating RED on December 12 every year. Today, hundreds of brands and malls are celebrating the day as RED in India, and Nagesh’s idea has indeed became a movement.
In 2011 and 2012, the Retail Employees’ Day (RED) celebration was just a round of ‘Thank Yous.’ In subsequent years, the idea gathered momentum; it became widespread through social media, TV and print advertisements. The positive vibes spread, with more retailers- large and small jumping on the bandwagon.
In an exclusive interview, the initiator of this mega-retail program says that the success has only made him more determined to forward his efforts to make retail associates feel cared for.
Retail Employee’s Day is into its seventh year of success. How do you see this achievement?
If I look back at the last six years and the journey that we have had of just a few stores celebrating in 2011 to now hundreds of brands and malls celebrating in India, I think we feel very happy. Last year, a few local associations joined in as well. The feather in the cap has been the Federation of Shopping Centers & Retailers (TAMPF) & UAE coming on board to celebrate the day with their retail partners. A simple idea is on its way to becoming a global phenomenon.
I am very happy with where we have reached but our dream is to witness the entire world celebrating Retail Employees’ Day in the next 15-20 years. But yes, the needle has started moving and that is important for us.
Is Retail Employee’s Day meant for only front-end store personnel?
The whole objective of this day was to create a day for retail employees. I believe, every employee who works for retail whether he is the Managing Director or an associate, is still a retail employee at the end of the day.
However, over the years, since the celebrations are planned by the management team to thank the retail front end associate, the message had got percolated that the event is only for them. Whether it is offline, delivery, warehouse, backend, managers, associate, supervisors & even the Managing Director, I believe all of us should celebrate the day together.
My dream is to take the day global. Just as
Turkey celebrates this as ‘Shopkeepers Day,’ I want
Dukaandar Diwas (Retail Employees’ Day) to be celebrated all over India one day. It is not just about the brand but is about spreading happiness amongst retailers & retail employees.
How many companies are associated with the RED celebration till now and how do you initiate to get more on board?
As of last year, we have had over 400 brands and 80 + malls celebrating the day in India. Over 4 million retail employees have been part of the celebrations in India, Turkey and UAE.
If we look at our mission that we have set at TRRAIN, we clearly believe we are a thought leader and a catalyst. Our job is to continuously encourage and motivate people to join hands such that the industry at the lowest level to the highest level, where human beings are present, can be very happy. So, we will continue to work on this.
On my visit to France last year, I met several retailers who were interested and are keen to celebrate RED and I am hoping that they will celebrate the occasion and cherish the moment in 2018. We are eagerly waiting to pursue them as well. In my lifetime & in this journey, I will continue to talk about Retail Employees’ Day to everyone, every individual, every organisation, every corporate, every country that I visit.
TRRAIN has always been into empowering grassrootslevel retail staff? Tell us how you do it?
When we started TRRAIN, we identified 6 areas of work and each of these 6 areas aredirectly connected to the way the retail employee has felt. And each area is converted into a project that has moved into execution.
For instance, how can we create pride for all those in retail. We created Retail Employees’ Day.
How do we create respect? That was done through the TRRAIN Retail Awards.
How do we get inclusion in retail- We launched Pankhwings of Destiny which we create livelihood for persons with disabilities?
How do we upskill the employees - Through the TRRAIN Aptech Retail Education Program.
Can we help them to save and earn more? This is happening through our latest project- TRRAIN Circle.
And thus, our whole mission is to upgrade the lives of people in retail, both at work and at home.
What does the future of retail hold in coming five-ten years?
Even if GDP grows by 7-8 percent, retail will grow because eventually, the consumption is going to grow both online & offline. We will find a shift in the roles and the skills required for the role & therefore the overall requirement of numbers will increase. For instance, the role of a backend merchandiser which is currently a numerical skill will get into a skill that will use data analytics & artificial intelligence. However, the skills required to run a retail business will continue to remain the same. So, I foresee the future of retail as: Consumption driven growth in economy
Wide spread use of technology, mostly through the mobile.
Large number of Indians working for retail in different parts of the value chain.
What kinds of association do you aim to build with retailers, corporate and the government?
We have a simple theory. ‘Whosoever is part of the value chain, and whoever has a heart that ticks, we would like them to be involved with TRRAIN so that they can excite& spread happiness for every associate he /she is involved with.’
What are the key elements that are necessary for creating a good retail service environment? Explain from both the customer and the retailer point of view.
I think the most important element is that every employees’ individual purpose &the organisation purpose have to get aligned. Secondly, the organisation must imbibe customer centricity as their core value. And lastly, the business as well as the processes must be simple so that everybody involved in the value chain is happy.
Which sector has been more receptive to your initiatives? Till now, it has been fashion and food with electronics and jewellery playing a smaller role. For me, these four sectors along with automobiles, pharmacy and home improvement should be our target for the next 1-3 years.