The Chitragupta of data will deliver the best retail experience

By Elton Noronha

The retail experience has evolved from one that was once synonymous with shopping only at neighborhood markets, to now progressing into an era that delivers unbound shopping avenues in the real world as well as the digital realm. Bijou Kurien, Independent Consultant and Member – Strategic Advisory Board, L Catterton Asia, highlighted this trait of the business as he reckoned, “Retail and shopping is now a ubiquitous experience.”

Sharing his view on the data accumulated from the shopping and retail culture in today’s world, Jamshed S. Daboo, MD, Trent Hypermarket Pvt Limited (Star Bazaar) said, “Everybody in the chain of the retail process will get ‘smarter’, and data gained from the process will play a vital role in business strategy. This ‘Big Data’ gives clues to key aspects of shopping patterns that helps you take real time key decisions and to deliver a better shopping experience for the consumer”.

Inciting how analytics provides a clear view of what customers want and the means to deliver it, Adnan Khan, MD, Accenture, stressed upon how essential it is for retailers to build on analytics to create better KPIs, thereby enhancing their overall business ecosystem. “Technology can give you on demand data and power to analyze it. The thing is, organizations have to adapt with speed, especially when it comes to technology and what it has to offer” he said, assuring that doing so will ensure that retailers are in step with the customer and the ever evolving market trends.

“Customer Experience deserves to be at the center of any retail strategy”, is what Vikram Garg, Principal, Blackstone, emphasized, as he provided a consolidated insight to dealing with the ever-evolving market landscape, with due consideration to government rules and regulations, effervescent competition horizon and various layers of the retail process.

In terms of online and offline retail experience, Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop Ltd. noted the prowess of the online medium’s ability to reach several micromarkets in a far more effective manner, which has enabled businesses to better understand consumer shopping trends. He also noted that physical location and other such geographical factors play a huge aspect in determining the shopping mindset of the consumer. “The cumulate of such varied and diverse data sets will allow you to understand the mindset of the consumer, and afford you the power to reinvent your strategy in sync with the various ways in which your consumers evolve”, he asserted, sharing that one’s business strategy must involve a precise mix of Discipline, Direction, and knowledge of when to ‘Accelerate’ and when to ‘Decelerate’. And championing the cause of ‘One view of customer – One View of inventory – One view of order’, he further said, “If you’re Chitragupta – someone who knows almost all of their customers’ preferences, and deciphers the true meaning of that data – only then will you be able to develop optimum means to use these preferences and deliver a truly wholesome retail experience to the customer.”

Conclusively, the best way for retailers to deliver an optimum customer experience promoting a highly personalized and convenient shopping experience is by consolidating and synergizing the online and physical realms.

The above article is based on Based on the panel discussion ‘2020: Great Indian Retail Journey’ at the Retail Leadership Summit 2017. Moderated by Bijou Kurien, Independent Consultant and Member – Strategic Advisory Board, L Catterton Asia (a part of the LVMH Group), the panel saw participation from: Adnan Khan, MD, Accenture; Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop Ltd; Jamshed S. Daboo, MD, Trent Hypermarket Pvt Limited (Star Bazaar); Vikram Garg, Principal, Blackstone.

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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.