The discussion was themed on ‘commerce’ is important and the ‘trade channel’. Setting the back-ground of the topic Shantha Maheswari, Managing Director, Leading Products Industry Portfolio & Innovation Lead, Inclusion & Diversity Lead, Accenture India informed that the brand does not necessarily have to be online or offline. The brands should see what product mix works best for their products.
Cited the example of Naaptol she said, they have a website. However, when consumers think about the brand the very first think come to consumers’ mind is TV advertising, because they understand, it is the medium to serve their product well. It helped them to reach out the tier 2 and tier 3 cities. For them tv marketing worked best for their product range.
At last she concluded, “Omni-channel is about right channel at right platform that suits the particular product segment and same time satisfies the need of the customer at right time. So, it is about commerce that all enterprise should keep in mind.”
Taking the topic forward, Yogesh Samant, COO, Ritu Kumar, said, “We are present via 40 stores with more than 1000 SKUS. There are is no concrete strategy as far as omni-channel operation is concerned; we are still in learning phase as we are going along the way. We have the separate strategy for all three brands of our product-folio. Social media has given us the opportunity to explore newer customer engagement possibilities. For example, one of our sub brands, we are using Instagram actively, because the brand has very young consumer who is far away from traditional Ritu Kumar customer, so our strategy has to be different.
Expressing the views on similar topic, Ankit Gupta, Head-E-commerce, Bestseller said, “Being the fashion retailer the most important thing for us is ‘experience’, everything comes after that. Our first preference was the brand building, ones the people starts knowing the brand, not exploring different trade channel. We have just started our e-commerce and we are in process of upgrading the same. As we go different channels ensuring price parity is important for us.”
However, some speakers had the different views and did not hesitate going harsh. For example, K Radhakrishnan, Co-Founder, Grocermax.com said,” Omni-channel is an apology to offline. It is an defense mechanism and not an option to online. The importance of physical store can never be reduced.”
Going with the flow, Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste India( Sports & Leisure Apparel Limited, said,” Omni-channel is nothing but integrating offline stores to online(aligning all inventories together). Customers still want to experience the touch and feel of the offline store. Through we are also retailing our exclusive online store but exploring different arrangements to fulfill omni-channel operations.”
He also highlighted that deep discounting at marketplaces really worried the brand that is the reason Lacoste is not available at any of the leading market places including Amazon, Flipkart to name a few.
Speaking on same, Deepak Chhabra, CEO & MD, Crocs India informed, “We are in the process of linking our webstore to physical store.” He stressed that common technology is going at the faster phase to brands and the oblivious advantage of having offline store includes ‘emotional’ connect.
During the discussion, Unnat Varma, Managing Director, Pizza Hut, India, Sub Continent informed, “ 60% of our sales comes from mobile application”