How Connectivity will Democratize Retail

The second session on the Day 1 of Retail Leadership Summit 2016 was Moderated by Bijou Kurien, Board Member, L Capital Asia.

The distinguished panellists discussing on the subject included:

Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop Ltd.

Suresh, Managing Director & CEO, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Limited

Kabir Lumba, Managing Director, Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd.

Latif Nathani, Vice President and Managing Director, eBay India

Rakesh Biyani, Joint Managing Director, Future Retail Limited

Sahil Sani, Chairman & CEO, Just Buy Live Enterprise Pvt. Ltd.

Venu Nair, Managing Director, Marks & Spencer India

According to Board Member, L Capital Asia, it is too ambitious to think that online retail to take over total retail soon. There is a lot of urban migration and rural migration. More than 50 million people migrated to towns and hence the biggest challenge is ‘Where do I buy products from?’

Sahil Sani, Chairman & CEO, Just Buy Live Enterprise said that technology is nothing more than an enabler. He shared that it is now possible to know exactly what a customer bought, what where and when and how and hence we can collate a lot of data. Retailers now can avail of technology to help consumers make a democratic choice.

Venu Nair, Managing Director, Marks & Spencer India shared that the company currently runs company operated offline stores as well as has a presence online. And is quite positive about omni-channel presence. Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop Ltd likened omni-channel to Chitragupta, the mythological figure who keeps a track of every minute of every human’s life. When customers are buying a product for convenience, visual merchandise enhances assortment and makes them shop more. At core of retail, it is about customers buying products. It is about adding value, social and emotional connect. Operational excellence is hygiene.

One of the aspects of retails is two-way communication. The moment you have two-way communication, it opens retailers to the consumers and helps in shaping experience.

Kabir Lumba, Managing Director, Lifestyle International highlighted the two aspects of Image branding: Experience and convenience. The biggest joy is consuming the product. If you get 70-80 % satisfaction marks from consumer, they will give you positive response. Execution is extremely important here. If that is taken care of, positives on social media and consumers will follow.

Like Marks & Spencer (M&S), it is important to be able to use the online to drive footfall to the store. Nair of M&S informed that 50 % of its sales come from omni-channel – initiatives like click and collect. There are three different areas technology boom happens

  • Convenience of where, how and what to buy
  • Choice- There is a plethora of technology to choose from
  • Information – Information on brands is available. Customers should be made first preference. They can give product reviews and share it on their network. We get feedback quickly, products which are fast moving and is very important for us

Today, retailers are able to offer consumers exactly what they are looking for, using the information and technology available. Technology is making it possible.

Monish Chandan, www.monishchandan.wordpress.com

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Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.