Converting smart ideas into profitable business

The session “How smart ideas translate into profitable business: successful innovation in Indian retailing” obviously revolved around innovation in the Indian retail.  A report on successful innovation, a collaboration by Retailers Association of India (RAI) and market research organization, Booz & Company, was unveiled in the session at RLS 2013. “An Invitation to the Innovation” is the core theme of this year’s Retail Leadership Summit (RLS). Raghav Gupta, principal, Consumer & Retail Practice, Booz & Company, started the session underlining the importance of converting smart ideas into profitable business.  The survey conducted by RAI and Booz & Company has revealed that the key challenge in the Indian retail sector is how to ensure profitable growth in a business. There is an interesting finding by the report which is in contrast to the US market where food & grocery leads in terms of innovation. Whereas, in India, it’s apparel and footwear which hold the foremost position as far as innovation is concerned.

The survey emphasizes on the innovation that generates successful consumer impact, the time relevance and adaptability.

It’s proven that not investment but simple, well-executed idea can actually translates into much coveted business profitability. The report cites ample of examples, ranging from the business strategy that Tanishq follows to Chitale Bandhu’s, a well-known Pune-based mithaiwala, innovative application of rapid billing process through RFID technology.

In case of innovation in lean store operation reverse logistics plays a crucial role that gives scope for rejected products to be refurbished and be on store shelves, essentially in the tier II cities or online. This essentially leads to lean store operations. The report also scripted Fabindia’s supplier co-ownership model, which is another great story of innovation.

The report also stresses on the innovative ideas, which have not be necessarily path-breaking.

The report takes up 40 innovative cases and they all clearly indicate that there’s a need to innovate, highlighting co-relation between business success and business innovation.

Mark Kesteloo, senior partner, head – Global Retail Practice, Booz & Company comments that the process & sources for idea generation are partly determined by the strategic choice of being a “first mover” or a “follower”.  The report identifies the key pointers for successful innovation as Leadership and Resourcing, Culture, Capabilities, Consumer Insights and Process Discipline.


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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.