Shaping the Future of Retail

Retailers bullish on the future of retail industry
Shaping the Future of Retail

The day two of “Entrepreneurship India 2013” also had session entitled “Retail 2020: Rethinking Growth and Revenue”. The session moderated by Ritu Marya, Editor-in-chief, Franchise India, had seen panelists including Rajesh Jain, CEO & Director, Lacoste India; Sanjeev Agrawal, MD, Skechers South Asia and Prof. PK Sinha, Professor in Retailing and Marketing, Chairperson, Centre for Retailing, IIM Ahmedabad.

Indian modern retail has come a long way, but still there exists huge untapped potential waiting to be tapped. The organised retail industry is expected to be a USD 1.3 trillion opportunity by 2020. What is the way forward? Which areas hold the maximum potential? Where lies the opportunities? How can technology help retailers to enhance today’s multi-channel customers? The panel of experts discussed on how you can build the capabilities in these challenging yet promising times to emerge as market leaders.

Experience Matters

With Indian consumer evolving more and becoming an informed creature, it becomes the top priority for retailers to deliver the ‘right experience’ across touch points. But, why it has become necessary now? Explaining the reason, Jain of Lacoste, said, with the economic growth, disposable income of the consumers have increased and they are willing to spend more. Besides, today’s customer is an informed person – he has exposure through media and internet towards the international market. Agarwal of Skechers, added, “The multitude of the brands have increased quite dramatically and consumers have more choices now.”

Untapped Potential in tier II and III Cities

Tier II and III cities offer huge potential for retailers. But, there are some cautious steps which retailers should keep in mind while penetrating into these cities. Highlighting the same, Jain said, “Retailers should deliver similar experience in these cities as in metros, but with local adaptations.” Besides, self service format might not work well there, as customers require far more amount of assistance. In addition, retailers in-store communication should be in local language, which is preferred by the customers. 

Serving the Customer

Experts agreed that retailing is no more a product business, it has now evolved to be a service business. Today, consumer don’t just come to buy the products, but it is the complete shopping experience which pull him back in the store. However, Agrawal said, “We should not get driven too much into the service aspect, because finally the product has to have a value for the customer to buy. It does not necessarily mean lower price, but the pride of wearing the brand.” He added that value needs to deliver to the customer, and service is a part of the whole experience.

Concluding the session, Prof Sinha said, “The country is evolving, hence retailers will require patience to understand customers and change themselves with the evolving customers.”

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