Retailer looks at some niche Southern Titans that have managed to set themselves apart from their peers.
Marred by diversity in consumer taste and preference across the length and breadth of the country, and other challenges such as expensive rentals and economic uncertainties, establishing a pan-Indian presence can be challenging, but for some niche regional retailers based out of Southern states, it is with the sheer domain knowledge that they manage to set themselves apart from their deep-pocketed and technological advanced peers. Retailer magazine looks at some lesser known, yet niche Southern Titans that have been around for a while and have used their domain knowledge to become profitable and successful.
1. Chennai Silk group
Present in: Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli and Karur
Group Turnover: Rs 2,000 crore
Founded by A Kulandaivel Mudaliar in 1962, Chennai Silk group today is deeply strengthened as a Tamil Nadu-centric saree retailer more than an integrated textiles company. Witnessing footfalls of 25,000 a day, and 40,000 on weekends, its front-end stores take care of at least one lakh customers during festival season and durimg New Year. Deeply embedded into the shopping psyches of people in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli and Karur the record-holder retailer exports to leading brands such as JC Penney, Walmart, Decathlon, Carrefour, TESCO and Hanes.
The Chennai Silk group also owns Sri Kumaran Thangamaligai, retail Jewellery store with branches located across the state of Tamil Nadu. The five-decade-old-family-business has extended into building an eCommerce portal for online buyers, and has around 40,000 employees on its rolls. Although the brand has a decent online presence across all major portals, it is the store fronts in Southern India that yields maximum profits and customer engagement.
2. Vasanth and Co
Stores: 61 (plus)
Present in: Chennai, Bengaluru, Kerala and Pondicherry
Turnover: Rs 500 crore
Vasanth and Co, a Chennai-based company engaged in selling TVs and other household appliances, expect the sales to elevate by 30 per cent in the current year. H. Vasantha Kumar, proprietor and founder of Vasanth and Co, a chain of consumer goods showrooms, said: “The business of consumer durables can be summed up in three words: manufacturing, selling and service. Beyond that, the best a firm can do is to get what the customers want. Implement it in the system and get them what they want at the earliest. For me, technology is alright, but our buyers are the core of everything. We are always thinking how we can serve them better.”
Vasanth and Co was started in 1978 and currently has more than 61 showrooms in almost every town in Tamil Nadu. Expanding the base to Bengaluru and Pondicherry, the company’s turnover is reported to be over Rs 500 crore. Vasanth and Co sells wide range of products, including mobile phones, refrigerators, air-conditioners, microwave ovens, washing machines and other household appliances. They are dealers of world-class manufacturers like LG, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Philips, Whirlpool and the like.
3. Poorvika Mobiles
Present in: Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Karnataka
Turnover: Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,100 crore
Starting out in a tiny outlet in Kodambakkam, Chennai in 2004, Poorvika Mobiles has grown to become one of the largest mobile retailers in Tamil Nadu. Founded in 2004 as a single retail outlet today, has 240 mobile showrooms across 43 cities in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Karnataka and a workforce of over 3500 professionals.
The brand, whose CEO N Uvaraj represented India in the Olympic Torch Rally in England’s Manchester, after being elected as one among the 12 ‘torchbearer’ businessmen in the world, serves over 40 lakh customers and is also venturing into its own online space to elevate to the next level of sales and convenience. The multi-brand mobile retail chain deals in mobile phones and connections, accessories, recharges and internet data cards. The chain was awarded the Power Brand Glams Las Vegas Award in the US in June 2013.
4. Himalaya Drug Company
Present in: 90 countries around the world
Turnover: Rs 2,000 crore
The ayurvedic brand, Himalaya – known for its products in the personal care segment and a history spanning more than eight decades in herbal research – has successfully transformed itself into a FMCG player rather than just pharma and herbal healthcare products manufacturer. Today, it has about 200 products across verticals such as personal and body care, baby care and animal health, and pharmaceuticals. In an earlier interaction with Retailer magazine, Philipe Haydon, CEO, The Himalaya Drug Company revealed that the company has witnessed a four-fold growth, from Rs 300 crore in FY2008 to Rs 1,200 crore in FY14.
Today, the company sells its products in around 90 countries, and its consumer products division that sells its face washes and lip balms account for 50 per cent of the Rs 2,000 crore sales revenue for Himalaya currently. It has been growing around 30 per cent annually over the last couple of years. Had M. Manal not stopped at the sight of restless elephants feeding on Rauwolfia serpentine, a pacifying herb, back in 1930, and rode through the Burma forests sans any curiosity, the traditional Indian science of Ayurveda would have smashed into oblivion for the majority of urban population.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder that affects millions of women around the world. PCOS often leads to a range of dermatological symptoms, including acne, pigmentation changes, and hair loss. In India, where PCOS affects a significant percentage of women, there is growing awareness about the condition, leading to the emergence of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands that offer products designed to alleviate the challenges faced by women with PCOS. This World PCOS Awareness Month, we take a closer look at how these brands are making a difference.
The PCOS-Dermatology Connection
PCOS disrupts hormonal balance, leading to an overproduction of androgen, a hormone that stimulates excess oil production in the skin. This surplus oil can clog pores and result in acne breakouts, particularly on the face, chest, and back. Moreover, PCOS can cause localized changes in skin pigmentation, known as acanthosis nigricans, and lead to hair loss or thinning on the scalp.
To address these skin concerns, brands like Deconstruct offer highly effective yet gentle solutions. Their Pigmentation Control Serum, for instance, combines Tranexamic acid and Glycolic acid to tackle pigmentation issues effectively. Tranexamic acid reduces melanin production, while Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin's surface, reducing hyperpigmentation. Their Breakout Control Serum, designed for acne-prone skin, is formulated to combat acne without causing excessive dryness or oiliness. In addition, their Mineral Sunscreen offers protection against UVA and UVB rays, which is crucial for preventing skin damage. The Oil-Free Moisturizer is tailored for those with oily and acne-prone skin, providing hydration without causing excess oiliness.
To complement these skincare products, Deconstruct also offers a comprehensive hair care routine, including a Nourishing Shampoo, Conditioner, and Mask that nourishes hair while preventing breakage and dryness.
Founder & CEO of Deconstruct, Malini Adapureddy, emphasizes, "Our range of skincare and haircare products offers tailored solutions to address the dermatological challenges that commonly arise due to PCOS. Whether it's acne, pigmentation, or hair-related woes, these products provide a holistic approach to manage these concerns effectively while maintaining skin and hair health."
The OZiva Approach: Holistic Wellness
OZiva, India's foremost clean, plant-based holistic wellness brand, is deeply committed to addressing the unique needs of women with PCOS. As PCOS affects a significant portion of women globally and in India, it is essential to tackle this issue head-on. The impact of untreated PCOS goes beyond the condition itself, extending to the risk of obesity, diabetes, and a range of hair and skin concerns.
Shikha Dwivedi, MSc Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Nutritionist at OZiva, underlines the significance of a holistic approach. "At OZiva, we firmly believe in holistic wellness for women. Our approach emphasizes spreading awareness on health issues for women, regular screening, daily physical exercise, and the promotion of healthy, clean, and plant-based nutrition."
A balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, leafy greens, and protein-rich foods plays a crucial role in PCOS management. Healthy fats and Omega-3 sources, such as walnuts, almonds, and flax seeds, help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of acne breakouts. OZiva offers Certified Clean and Vegan PCOS supplements with Ayurvedic herbs, herbal extracts, inositol, chromium, and digestive enzymes to assist hormonal balance and support regular menstrual cycles in women.
OZiva's PCOS Acne Relief Pack and PCOS Balance & Hair Nourish Bundle are designed to provide comprehensive solutions to manage PCOS symptoms and promote hair health. These products include natural ingredients like Chasteberry and Ashoka, which balance hormones and help regulate menstrual cycles. The Hair Nourish Bundle, on the other hand, promotes hair nourishment with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.
Dwivedi emphasizes the need for awareness and understanding. "Our survey shows that having understanding partners, supportive family members, and caring friends can help women with PCOS talk more openly about their condition. This highlights the need for society to change how they think about women's health in India. Therefore, we need to create more awareness around PCOS within our close circle of people and suggest healthier supplements like OZiva's Herbalance, which can help women with PCOS feel better, both physically and emotionally."
With a growing understanding of the impact of PCOS on skin and hair health, D2C brands like Deconstruct and OZiva are offering products that empower women to take control of their well-being. By addressing PCOS and its associated dermatological challenges, these brands play a vital role in improving the self-esteem and confidence of women facing this condition. As awareness and support for PCOS continue to grow, it's a hopeful sign that women are receiving the assistance they need to manage this complex hormonal disorder.
As the global economy experiences fluctuations, one constant remains - the allure of gold. The recent surge in gold prices has posed both challenges and opportunities for the jewellery industry. To navigate these uncharted waters, jewellers are adopting innovative and revived marketing strategies to engage their customers, communicate the value of investing in gold, and ensure that their businesses continue to thrive. In this article, Tejas Nagda talks about the strategies that jewellers are embracing to make the most of the gold price surge.
1. Educating Customers about the Importance of Investing in Gold
Gold has long been considered a safe-haven investment, and jewellers are leveraging this reputation to educate their customers about the significance of gold as a stable and enduring asset. By providing information on the historical resilience of gold in economic downturns, jewellers are encouraging customers to view their purchases not just as adornments, but as a safeguard against economic downturns
2. Placing More Emphasis on New Designs and Collections
In response to the changing market dynamics, jewellers are focusing on innovation and design differentiation. They are launching fresh collections that capture the essence of evolving consumer preferences. By introducing contemporary designs that cater to a diverse range of tastes, jewellers are revitalizing their offerings and ensuring that their products remain relevant and desirable.
3. Creating Light Weight Jewellery
Jewellery that is comfortable and versatile is gaining traction in the market. To meet this demand, jewellers are crafting lightweight pieces that can be worn daily without compromising on style or quality. These pieces not only appeal to modern sensibilities but also make gold jewellery more accessible and practical for everyday use.
4. Promoting Jewellery in 18kt and 14kt Purity Gold
Recognizing the sensitivity of some customers to higher gold prices, jewellers are promoting jewellery crafted from 18kt and 14kt purity gold. This enables price-conscious buyers to invest in gold without having to stretch their budgets. By offering a range of purity options, jewellers are accommodating a wider audience and ensuring that gold jewellery remains within reach for various segments of the market.
5. Highlighting Craftsmanship and Quality
Amidst the price considerations, the timeless value of craftsmanship and quality is not lost on jewellers. They are spotlighting the meticulous artistry that goes into creating each piece of jewellery. By emphasizing the unique techniques and attention to detail, jewellers are reaffirming the enduring value of their products, which transcends fleeting market trends.
6. Offering Loyalty Rewards
Jewellers are recognizing the loyalty of their customers by introducing rewards programs. These programs not only incentivize repeat purchases but also enhance the overall shopping experience. Through exclusive discounts, early access to collections, and personalized offerings, jewellers are forging stronger connections with their clientele.
7. Organizing Events and Trunk Shows
Face-to-face interactions continue to be invaluable in the jewellery industry. Jewellers are hosting events and trunk shows to engage with customers directly, showcase their latest creations, and share insights into the world of jewellery design and craftsmanship. These events provide a platform for customers to ask questions, touch and feel the pieces, and make informed decisions.
As gold prices soar, the jewellery industry is embracing a multi-faceted approach to navigate the evolving landscape. By educating customers about the investment potential of gold, offering innovative designs, and prioritizing quality, jewellers are poised to thrive in the midst of market volatility. The combination of these strategies not only highlights the enduring value of gold jewellery but also strengthens the bond between jewellers and their customers.
India’s e-grocery market, as per Grand View Research, is slated to grow at a CAGR of 37.1% from 2021 to 2028. While it’s tempting to test the murky waters of online supply chain, lack of experience and technological support have caused many a player to fall flat. Yango Tech, a technology solutions brand from UAE, has restructured the processes of leading Saudi Arabian grocery players such as Nana Direct, and has great news for India and Asia-Pacific. Max Avtukhov, CEO, Yango Tech, elaborates further.
“Our technologies range from end-to-end solutions for e-grocery, including client experience and applications, warehouse solutions or picking solutions, last-mile solutions, supply chain solutions for any player wishing to break into online,” he said, mentioning about their B2B software services slashing years of time hitherto spent independently on development a fool-proof online grocery system. Yango Tech’s solutions have empowered 500 dark stores with an accumulated GV of 1.3 billion dollars currently and have solved pain points of many traditional retailers who face stiff competition from tech-first e-grocery players.
For a retailer with no experience in e-grocery, the cumbersome process of independently arranging solutions online require huge investment of resources with poor returns. Brands often struggle with sending substitutes of products originally ordered, miss deadlines, and create a poor customer experience.
Avtukhov shares an example of a top Central Asian grocery retailer that scaled with their solutions. “They bought a startup and opened their own grocery vertical, but couldn’t cope with it. The quality was awful and the cost was staggering when they approached us in the beginning of 2023. We launched in April after several months of incubation. Our end-to-end solution helped them grow threefold from June, soon after marketing commenced. They saw their route to profitability and understood operational shortcomings. Our implementation team guided their personnel and we started implementation of their loyalty programme,” he maintained.
Challenges in India
The reason why penetration of e-grocery remains low in India is the lack of adoption, feels Avtukhov. If a brand ensures good quality of products delivered, it’s providing a trustworthy alternative to visiting 10 odd shops for your daily grocery chores. The brand is then slated for financial growth. Grocery, says the CEO, can alone drive the overall e-commerce shift in India if only this pain point is solved. To do that, a lot of processes such as stock visibility, shelf life tracking, and date of delivery must work in unison.
“Our warehouse managing system enables true stock transparency by monitoring temperature, shelf life, and delivery location of products for hundreds and thousands of daily orders. If you give transparency to end-user, the substitutions are eliminated from the equation. That’s how you digitalize the life-span of a grocery item. You can also correct the order of picking items for delivery based on varying shelf life,” he added. Good visibility of products empowers business owners to rearrange their dark stores and optimize online delivery. The processes can be managed by algorithms and back-end technologies.
Grocery is now totally driven by consumers who demand convenience. To Avtukhov, grocery has become less efficient than traditional grocery because it employs more people and the supply chain is less developed. With technology solving these inefficiencies, investments in e-grocery will be more beneficial. In developed markets, there will be robots, while India will experience organised e-grocery with the right approach to tech adoption,” concluded Avtukhov.
As the year 2023 unfolds, the retail sector in India is experiencing a remarkable resurgence, particularly within the mall segment. After enduring the constraints of the pandemic era, there is a palpable sense of optimism as people flock back to malls, indicating a long-awaited return to normalcy. The upcoming festive season is poised to act as a significant catalyst in propelling the retail sector and India's economic growth trajectory to new heights.
Festive Footfall Surge: A Testimony to Resilience
The synergy between the festive spirit and irresistible deals has historically been a driving force behind the increased footfall during the festive season. In 2023, this trend is expected to reach new heights, as consumers eagerly anticipate indulging in festive fervor while seizing the opportunity to capitalize on attractive discounts. This surge in footfalls is not merely a reflection of pent-up demand but also indicative of the shifting tide towards economic revival.
Experiential Retail: Pioneering a New Era
A prominent trend emerging in 2023 is the rapid adoption of experiential retail. Consumers are no longer content with merely purchasing products; they now seek immersive and memorable experiences that extend beyond the transactional aspect. This evolving consumer behavior has prompted retailers to reimagine their physical spaces, transforming them into immersive environments that engage the senses and evoke emotions. From interactive displays to personalized shopping journeys, experiential retail is proving to be a game-changer, offering consumers a compelling reason to step into malls.
The Post-Pandemic Liberation and Return to Normalcy
The post-pandemic era has witnessed prolonged periods of confinement and uncertainty, leading to a collective yearning for normalcy. As restrictions ease and vaccination efforts gain traction, the joy of physical shopping has resurfaced as a cherished activity. Malls, which serve as social hubs, are not only offering a wide array of products but also a space for individuals to reconnect with friends and family. This sense of liberation, coupled with the inherent human desire for social interaction, is driving individuals back to malls, rejuvenating the retail landscape.
Economic Implications and Growth Trajectory
The surge in footfalls during the festive season is expected to have far-reaching economic implications. The increased consumer spending during this period will not only boost the revenue of retailers but also stimulate related industries such as hospitality and transportation. Moreover, the festive season acts as a precursor to a sustained growth trajectory, as the renewed consumer confidence spills over into subsequent quarters, fuelling economic expansion.
A Bright Future for the Indian Retail Sector
In the midst of a transforming retail landscape, the year 2023 stands out as a testament to the resilience of India's retail sector. The convergence of festive excitement, enticing deals, and the embrace of experiential retail is rejuvenating malls and drawing consumers back into their fold. As the forthcoming festive season approaches, it holds the promise of not only bolstering the retail sector but also serving as a significant catalyst in propelling India's economic growth trajectory to new heights. The journey from pandemic constraints to a revival of the retail sector underscores the indomitable spirit of adaptability and resurgence that defines India's retail landscape.
Sameer Verma, General Manager, LULU Mall, Lucknow
In an era dominated by digital screens and virtual interactions, the significance of maintaining optimal eye health has surged to the forefront of public consciousness. Amidst the proliferation of direct-to-consumer (D2C) and retail lens sales, the imperative for stringent quality control and rigorous regulation emerges as a critical safeguard not only for consumers' visual well-being but for the integrity of the eyewear industry as a whole.
The Rise of D2C and Retail Lens Sales
The meteoric ascent of the digital age has spawned a paradigm shift in consumer behavior, significantly impacting the eyewear market. The allure of procuring eyeglasses and contact lenses through D2C channels has fueled an exponential growth trajectory. Industry players have adeptly seized this trend, proffering an expansive array of products that encompass prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and even fashionable variants, all obtainable at the mere touch of a button. While this landscape ushers in unparalleled convenience for consumers, it concurrently ushers in a multifaceted set of inquiries about the safety, quality, and credibility of these readily accessible optical solutions.
Upholding Quality Control Standards
In the realm of commodities that substantially influence human health, such as eyeglasses and contact lenses, the assurance of meticulous quality control procedures takes on paramount significance. Ill-crafted or inaccurately prescribed lenses wield the potential to trigger a litany of discomforts ranging from blurred vision and irritation to more severe ocular complications. Thus, it is imperative that these ocular aids conform to the most exacting quality standards to mitigate such potential hazards.
Traditional retail opticians have, over the years, been held to uncompromisingly stringent quality control norms. These benchmarks encompass not merely the precision of the lenses themselves, but also extend to the intricacies of the fitting process, which stands as a pivotal determinant of visual comfort and clarity. When navigating the landscape of D2C and retail lens sales, the emulation of these stringent quality benchmarks emerges as a formidable challenge.
Navigating The Regulatory Maze in D2C Sales
Unlike their brick-and-mortar optician counterparts, D2C eyewear entities frequently traverse geographical boundaries, sometimes even headquartered in jurisdictions characterized by disparate regulatory regimes. This dynamic presents a formidable obstacle for regulatory bodies, striving to establish a cohesive framework of universally accepted standards. While certain countries have commendably robust regulations governing the sale of ocular accessories, others might grapple with a dearth of resources or mechanisms to effectively supervise D2C sales.
A plausible approach to surmounting this hurdle lies in international harmonization. Regulatory authorities across the globe can collaboratively devise a set of overarching benchmarks for D2C eyewear transactions. This approach not only safeguards consumers on a global scale but also levels the playing field for businesses, fostering healthy competition grounded in quality rather than disparate regulatory variations.
Elevating Transparency and Augmenting Consumer Awareness
In the domain of D2C and online retail, the linchpin is transparency. Consumers necessitate comprehensive insights into the products they contemplate purchasing, encompassing exhaustive descriptions of lens specifications, materials employed, and manufacturing methodologies. Furthermore, the labyrinthine process of choosing fitting lenses contingent on individual prescriptions is often intricate, demanding scrupulous information for astute decision-making. Facilitating comprehensible guides and tools empowers consumers to make judicious selections reflective of their optical requisites.
Educational initiatives extend to the judicious use and proper upkeep of eyeglasses and contact lenses. A multitude of ocular issues stem from improper maintenance or protracted usage. D2C eyewear purveyors hold the potential to play a pivotal role in nurturing responsible lens maintenance, underpinned by lucid instructions and resources.
Leveraging Tech For Regulatory Precision
As technological strides persist, their integration can substantially fortify regulation and quality control in D2C and retail lens sales. The assimilation of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can be harnessed to gauge prescription accuracy and lens quality. This could potentially identify discrepancies and preclude the dissemination of subpar products to consumers.
Additionally, blockchain technology emerges as an invaluable tool to engender a transparent and incorruptible trail across the entire supply chain — from lens fabrication to the point of sale. This level of traceability not only substantiates the authenticity of commodities but also expedites product recalls in cases of quality exigencies.
Forging Symbiotic Alliances Between Industry and Regulators
While stringency in regulation remains imperative, a symbiotic relationship between the eyewear industry and regulatory authorities can be mutually advantageous. Instead of being juxtaposed as adversarial entities, both stakeholders can collaboratively fashion a framework that reconciles innovation with safety. By proactively participating in shaping norms that mirror technological progressions and evolving consumer preferences, companies underscore their commitment to quality and safety, thereby cultivating consumer trust.
Industry luminaries have the opportunity to take part in the articulation of standards that resonate with technological advancements and dynamic consumer predilections. This proactive engagement signals a commitment to the twin goals of innovation and consumer protection, establishing a dynamic equilibrium that augments industry vitality while ensuring consumer well-being.
The Role of Consumer Advocacy
Within this intricate landscape, consumer advocacy groups function as instrumental players in upholding the sanctity of D2C and retail lens sales. These groups morph into vigilant sentinels, holding companies accountable for the products they offer. They engage in autonomous quality evaluations, proffer recommendations to consumers, and even foster synergistic alliances with regulatory bodies to address systemic concerns.
Consumer advocacy functions as a conduit bridging the chasm between individual buyers and regulatory entities, furnishing invaluable feedback on product quality and amplifying awareness about potential risks. Moreover, these advocacy groups are well-positioned to contribute to the formulation of guidelines that genuflect to the tangible apprehensions of consumers.
A Visionary Coda
In the tapestry of metamorphosing eyewear sales dynamics, safeguarding ocular health via meticulous quality control and efficacious regulation emerges as a collective prerogative. Both D2C eyewear enterprises and regulatory authorities bear the mantle of responsibility to coalesce efforts and reconcile innovation with vigilance. Through the strategic integration of technology, an unwavering commitment to transparency, and a spirit of international cooperation, we can collectively ensure that consumers are endowed with eyewear products that not only amplify visual acuity but also engender an era of ocular well-being in a digitally charged milieu. The vista of ocular health lies in lucidity, and this voyage commences with fortifying lenses to uphold the zenith of quality and safety.
Prasun Kumar Dubey, Business Head, Aqualens
The restaurant business can be understood in the 4D's because today the Restaurant scene feels different in the ebb and flow of service, how when, and what people order — the pandemic has meant seismic shifts for an industry defined by its resilience and adaptability, development.
Shift in Diner Preferences
In the "New Normal," I observe profound changes in the restaurant sector that has shown exemplary grit and adaptability during the Pandemic. Today, food brands are undergoing new changes brought forth by diners themselves, which have irrevocably changed the dining landscape. There are one set of Diners who are the ‘hangry’ must-eat-now crowd, and then there are those who want to wine and dine and be entertained. This has split the sector into two categories. There will be hollowing-out in the restaurant world. On one side, there will be restaurants on the upper ends spectrum doling out bespoke experiences, and then there will be the fast casual & QSR restaurants. The middle restaurants will be much more squeezed and fewer.
The Delivery Dilemma of Delivery
The India online food delivery market attained a value of $7.4 billion in 2022. More restaurateurs are investing in direct delivery network in 2023 and want to not rely on aggregator marketplaces like Zomato and Swiggy alone. The ‘own’ digital dining pivot has also prioritized delivery app menus and mobile app-based loyalty programs. As per a Restaurant India survey, 47 percent restaurants would be offering food delivery directly through their restaurant in a defined radius up to 10-15 km. The reason is simple – restaurants want to expand their reach. Drive-through is up 13 percent, particularly with highway restaurants increasing. Dark kitchen formats have learned the hard way that omnichannel associated with brick-and-mortar operations is invaluable.
Restaurants are making investments to improve customer satisfaction, streamline operations, and boost profits. More mobile applications, online ordering, self-service kiosks, voice-activated ordering systems, AI-based recommendation engines, and other technologically advanced restaurant experience improvements are anticipated in 2023.
Operationally, many restaurants function differently than they did three years ago, with a greater reliance on technology integration and better eye on Restaurant unit economics. Heroic hospitality at the cost of economic disadvantage is not sustainable. Restaurants have realized that losses on account of service cannot be offset with loyalty. Whether it is streamlining of menu, focusing on items with longer shelf life, real estate locations, market penetration, a brand's longevity eventually comes down to a healthy balance sheet.
Inflation is the other elephant in the room and not something the industry can afford. It could impede growth in the sector.
The big news for the industry growth is the interpolation of small independent restaurateurs. They are not as insulated in their regional pockets as they used to be. We will be seeing restaurants that focus on regional cuisines, crossing the state borders, a future that may alight a new array of food options in Indian cities.
On the other hand, top QSR firms will invest ₹5800 crore, add 2,300 stores in two-year expansion drive, store re-imaging, and technology advancements, says ICRA. Quick-serve restaurants are investing on new infrastructure in quest for speed and efficiency,
The Four D's of restaurant business are also some of the best trends for food service business in India. There are some additional trends that augment the restaurant growth, which will be discussed at the Indian Restaurant Congress 2023.
Catch up #IRC2023 on social for more highlights.
In a world of climate crises such as global warming, there is an urgency for the adoption of sustainable methods in all spheres. Numerous industries are addressing these problems and actively playing their part in the preservation of our planet. These include the tea, and coffee industries as well.
In the tea and coffee sector, there’s an emphasis on finding new ways to minimize waste and adapt to the sustainability revolution. When we look at their entire supply chains, we can identify multiple points where sustainability can be integrated. Addressing some of the key environmental issues associated with these industry sectors: deforestation, river water pollution, CO2 emissions, etc. This process from bean to cup sees a lot of effort poured into each cup, which brings sustainability to the front and center of their operations.
Packaging: A Sustainable First Step
One potential inflection point for sustainability within the tea and coffee industry might be in packaging. Plastic packaging, especially single-use, disposable plastic has been a massive contributor to pollution and environmental degradation, leading companies to start looking for packaging solutions that have a smaller eco-impact. More and more companies are turning towards reusable materials, recycled materials, repackaging and eco-conscious packaging to reduce waste. So, these eco-conscious solutions reduce carbon footprints and also benefit businesses.
Even local cafes and coffee shops can play a role in this sustainability drive. Opting for recyclable cups and encouraging the use of compostable cups, biodegradable spoons, and organic sugar can collectively contribute to an eco-friendly atmosphere. These seemingly small choices can have a significant impact when embraced by a community.
To ensure sustainability, a proper end-to-end supply chain from the seed to the final cup must be developed. Companies must be committed and focus on ethical processes to create real-world change in their production chain.
Selecting fair-traded/organic-certified suppliers is crucial. Certifications such as Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, or Organic can be trusted symbols of a supplier’s dedication to ethical sourcing. A business can directly form the relation between coffee/tea suppliers which would entail that there will be fair wages paid to farmers as well as sustainable agriculture practices. Sourcing also involves, fertiliser free sourcing -organic farming sources.
The energy-intensive processes of coffee roasting and tea drying, for example, produce large quantities of Carbon. In response to the imminent danger posed by global warming, a lot of companies are rapidly transitioning into sustainability by pouring millions of dollars into energy-saving technologies and green energy.
Roasting coffee is one of them which is possible using solar power and also tea processing equipment which could run on solar energy. Energy-saving coffee roasting & and tea drying equipment also reduce energy consumption to make sure the production practices match sustainability targets. The coffee and tea vending machines are being designed to need lesser energy and lower emissions.
Setting Goals and Feedback Loop
To become sustainable companies need to set specific goals. Sustainability Goals help steer a company in the right direction towards a green future. These goals can include waste reduction, CO2 emissions, reduced power consumption, and a higher percentage of sustainable products in their inventory.
Just as importantly, there needs to be a regular feedback loop with sustainably enthusiastic customers. The continuous enhancement of eco-friendly initiatives by businesses through listening to the voices of customers feedback. Giving members of society a chance to shape the future through community engagement and getting ideas from them will yield precious information that can help enhance sustainability strategies.
The coffee and tea wastes after brewing is bi-degradable and hence using them in compost and natural conversion into good soil is the need of the hour and being resorted to widely.
Transparency is also an indispensable part of the sustainable business model. Transparency around the source of the coffee and tea, the certifications they obtain, and the ethical processes ensure consumer trust. This transparency is important for consumers to understand if all the products are ethical.
Companies should publish annual sustainability reports. It offers quantifiable proof of progress towards sustainability targets and allows the business to be held accountable. It will also provide traceability and show real efforts in reducing their environmental impacts.
Although there is still a long way to go in the global movement towards sustainability, the tea and coffee sectors are playing an active role by focusing on sustainable packaging, ethical sourcing, and energy efficiency to integrate sustainable practices. Alliances, transparent relationships, and yearly reporting will demonstrate the commitment to the green economy and make each cup of tea or coffee a step toward a more sustainable world.
About the Author
Anurag Bhamidipaty, Co-Founder, Roastea
There is a notion that coffee and especially tea made from machines do not taste good and authentic. Roastea promises to break that trend with their high-tech machines to serve 25+ varieties of beverages that taste authentic and satisfying while giving their consumers ‘Ghar Waali Chai’
Roastea was incorporated in 2019, by siblings Anurag and Chaitanya Bhamidipaty. In a short span of less than three years and despite COVID-19 Pandemic, the brand has carved a niche for itself when it comes to solving the quintessential search for a good, flavourful cup of tea and coffee. Roastea vending solutions offer over 30 beverage options and provide best-in-class fresh milk-based beverages meeting the demands of its clients across IT, law firms, pharma, hospitals, real estate and many more.
Nestled in the cozy Pali Hill, Freedom Tree’s two-storey showroom in Bandra invites every one aspiring to deck up their homes. Latika Khosla, founder and creative director of the designer brand, is reminiscent of tradition and how every innovation in ceramics, furniture, apparel, textiles, and lights stays true to making homes wonderful places to thrive.
Having started with ceramics, Freedom Tree is a stickler for quality and durability. They have been in this trade for over three decades and some of their ceramic products still look untouched after 30 years. Interacting with Indian Retailer, Latika talks about the two types of homemakers in Mumbai who seek authenticity in home decor.
“One is the homemaker who is buying for their second or third homes. They are experienced buyers and are able to make a change to traditional décor arrangements,” she says, adding, “the other is the younger, new-age buyer with a paucity of time, who probably lives with their parents in Mumbai and has a particular space in their houses to decorate. They seek advice and want the whole look done in one shot.” For the traditional buyers, Freedom Tree provides various looks to choose from and buy at one go. This process aids decision-making.
The young buyers get a comprehensive look based on their preferences in such a manner that the entire collection fits together flexibly, without confining the buyers to a hard-and-fast copybook. One can buy an entire collection all at once or in stages. “They are also very loyal buyers, once their choices align with our offerings,” Latika maintains.
Brands from global to local scales have found their footing in Mumbai. Some serve the mass customers, while others dedicate themselves to premium clientele. One intensifying trend among all diversities is the common demand of buying Indian. “The greatest sense of pride for Indian customers is to buy Indian, from a homegrown brand. They want their products designed in a thoughtful manner. That is why they keep coming to us. The luxury of handmade and responsible design has tenacity for years,” maintains the founder, adding that the brand constantly refines their old designs, with new furniture at least twice a year and textiles, 3-4 times a year.
Integration is the Key
For Freedom Tree, design across verticals means cross-collaboration. “We have a very enthusiastic bunch. The designers sit together. When the textile print is being made, the furniture designer pitches in and suggests how the print will be at the right scale for her furniture. So, 4-5 designers pick designs from each other in the collection. Thus, a print on textile becomes an inlay piece on the furniture, creating great integration,” she adds.
Currently, Freedom Tree is catering to markets in west and south India. Four months back, apparel became the latest addition to the core categories of furniture, ceramic, textiles and lighting. The sheer diversity is visible with the elaborate display of every fabric, ceramic and ranges of furniture that stand out individually, while working cohesively for a home at their Bandra destination.
Performant solutions are the need of the hour for future-forward retail brands trying to gauge its consumer base as quickly and accurately as possible. The combined efforts of Tata Consultancy Services and Marks & Spencer created a headless loyalty platform that drove half a million new members and over one million app downloads in just 12 days. Abhijit Niyogi, VP and Business Head, Retail, Tata Consultancy Services, explained what makes such platforms tick. The loyalty platform allowed both business and IT teams to work independently, which enabled M&S to innovate and redefine its loyalty proposition in a shorter time to market without impacting end-users.
Seamless Omnichannel for Shoppers
Niyogi believes that the next wave of commerce modernization with its retail network is about delivering unified and hyper-personalized customer journeys, creating experiential stores, driving customer loyalty, and empowering business teams with the right tools to elevate the brand image. “This goes beyond checkout innovation. Our award-winning, AI-powered, unified, composable commerce platform, TCS Omnistore™, is helping retailers drive a unified, frictionless, and personalized customer experience across all touchpoints. It powers modern commerce experiences with a range of capabilities such as click-and-collect services, scan-and-go options, save the cart, and self-checkout facilities, along with dynamic promotion management and clienteling capabilities,” he said.
Retailers leveraging TCS OmniStore™ have realized 5-10% increase in sales, 50% faster checkout speeds, and a 20-30% decrease in labor hours. With shopping evolving constantly, the ability to cater to new touchpoints and deliver innovative experiences quickly with a data-led approach is a key competitive advantage.
A market research on unified commerce by TCS stated that 37% of retailers want a composable, best-of-breed ecosystem strategy. This aligns with TCS’s quest to create a composable architecture for retailers with TCS OmniStore™, built on the MACH (Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless) architecture, by which businesses can reuse existing investments, choose to build or buy and design their tech stack enabling faster time to market and innovation. With an award-winning offering such as this, TCS stands out in breaking down legacy silo thinking to maximize the opportunities of a convergent 4IR world (Industry 4.0). “When we marry back-end sophistication with our front-end ability by harmonizing design, technology, and data, we provide true end-to-end solutions that deliver top line sustainable growth and bottom-line efficiencies,” added Niyogi.
As part of its technological development support for retail, TCS is leveraging AI to usher in AI-led product discovery, XR & vision analytics for colleague experience (powering store operations), experience first commerce with personalization and through the technology of digital twin, powering supply chain, customer promise, and colleague store operations. M&S helped increase the adoption of their app, as the customer was able to see the absolute value of the interconnected journey across different channels. A few strategies that have helped different retailers dominate are dynamic price points, integrating sustainability into customer journeys, right-ranging, and experience-first shopping.
Higher discounts following a demand slowdown and increased advertising and promotion expenses to support revenue growth are likely to pressurize the profit margins of fashion retailers in FY2024. According to ICRA’s recent industry analysis, the operating profit margins of 11 listed retail entities in its sample set, which accounts for 23 percent of industry revenue, will moderate by close to 120 bps to 5.2 percent in FY2024. This is despite a 13 percent YoY revenue growth, estimated during the year, supported by network expansion. The rating agency currently has a Stable outlook on the retail sector.
The fashion retail segment has been struggling with a demand slowdown since Q3 FY2022 due to inflationary headwinds. Following a weak Q4 FY2023, the fashion retailers in ICRA’s sample set reported a sequential growth of 13 percent in sales in Q1 FY2024, led by expansion in the store network and some uptick in discretionary spending, partly attributable to the preponement of end-of-season sales. Segment-wise, the value fashion segment remained more impacted than the premium one and is yet to attain its pre-pandemic level average sales per sq ft. ICRA expects the players to report a flattish QoQ revenue growth in Q2 FY2024, as inflationary pressures continue to play spoilsport. Shifting the festive season to Q3 FY2024 will additionally restrict growth in Q2, with meaningful growth in revenues to start flowing in from Q3 onwards. This, coupled with regular network expansion, will result in a 13 percent YoY revenue growth in FY2024.
Commenting on the trends, Sakshi Suneja, Vice President & Sector Head, Corporate Ratings, ICRA said, “In line with our expectations, fashion retailers increased their discounting levels in YTD FY2024 to spruce up sales, which have been under pressure since the last festive season due to inflationary pressures. Retailers are pinning hopes of a demand recovery on the festive season and thus, continue to spend aggressively on advertisement and promotions. Most large retailers are also undertaking substantial investments to ramp up the visibility of their brands in the ethnic wear segment, which has been acquired/launched recently. Consequently, despite moderate revenue growth, operating margins are set to contract in FY2024 and trail their pre-pandemic levels by around 270 bps”.
Post the pandemic, fashion retailers focused on the rapid expansion of their store networks in FY2023, given the muted store expansions during the pandemic period in FY2021 and FY2022. Overall, the retail space area increased YoY by 27 percent (aided by a low base), with retailers in ICRA’s sample set spending Rs 1,460 crore towards capex in FY2023, despite the demand slowdown in the value fashion segment. No major pruning of capex has been announced by retailers so far, given the expected demand revival during the festive season and the favorable long-term demand prospects of the Indian retail industry. Capex outlay towards store additions is thus expected to increase further by 18 percent in FY2024 to 1,750 crore. Going forward, offline store addition will remain the key channel of expansion for retailers, given the low level of penetration of organized segments within the retail sector. Online sales also continue to grow, albeit at a much slower pace. These sales accounted for only 8 percent of the overall revenues of entities in ICRA’s sample set and are likely to increase to 10 percent by FY2025/26.
“Given the sizeable capex plans and expected weakening in earnings, the credit profile of large, listed entities will moderate in FY2024, though it is expected to improve in FY2025 as demand conditions improve. The total debt-to-operating profit is expected to increase to 1.9 times in FY2024 from 1.4 times in FY2023, with interest cover moderating to 8 times vis-à-vis 12 times in FY2023. The same shall, however, improve to 8 times and 1.07 times, respectively in FY2025,” Suneja reiterated.
People buy with their eyes. The entire shopping experience is sensory. Despite the significant increase in online shopping in India, customers still like to see what their purchases look like — on themselves, in their home, in their car. Research from Capgemini shows that customers are 11 times more likely to buy products if they can see it using augmented reality.
Looking ahead, the potential of immersive experiences is immense. Consumers are excited about immersive technologies, being particularly curious about AR/VR. Immersive experiences will ultimately help brands to differentiate their customer experience and strengthen their operations. It’s perhaps why 65% of Indian retailers plan to adopt augmented and virtual reality technologies, in the next 12 months. Retailers seeking to reinvent shopping experiences will find the immense potential that AR/VR holds. Here’s why.
Increased brand engagement
AR and VR completely transform both in-store and online shopping experience. While delivering such engaging, sensory and immersive experiences can be challenging, it’s not unfounded in the least. Research has shown that 70% of consumers who have used AR/VR technology made a purchase.
Customer immersion is new age brand engagement and AR/VR technologies are at the heart of it. Implementing such immersive technologies in-store can help brick-and-mortar retailers enhance the customer experience at any offline store. For example at Simpli Namdhari’s we created a AR/VR zone where customers could put on their VR gears and experience the entire farm to fork story virtually visiting our farms from our store. Virtual Reality specifically, allows customers to deeply immerse themselves in the retail shopping experience. It also enables retailers to deliver unrivalled levels of engagement. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can create a one-of-a-kind shopping experience at an offline store, transforming the location into a customer-friendly space. Primarily because AR/VR technology offers a richer shopping experience to customers by blending virtual 3D models with the physical world.
For example, retailers can deploy AR/VR technologies in-store for customers to identify where each product is located, view information on the product they choose to purchase, or they can enter a VR world to experience the different steps in the supply chain and understand how and where the products come from. These make in-store experiences more memorable, and drive customer confidence in your brand. Such immersive experiences only ensure customers keep coming back for more.
VR and AR help retailers improve store performance and employee productivity. For instance, customers can use AR/VR technologies to quickly product locations or check product info without turning to a human specialist. Meanwhile, physical store employees can focus on more critical tasks like marketing and in-person sales.
Monetising immersive experiences
Despite the rapid growth in online shopping, consumers still want to visit brick-and-mortar stores. The challenge lies in ensuring that customers choose your store and not your competitors’. AR/VR technologies can be the competitive differentiation retailers are looking for. Recent research shows that 61% of customers across the world say that AR/VR technology has changed the way they shop.
Increasing footfalls is crucial for retailers and this includes ensuring that customers are truly engaged when they are in store — the key to converting footfall into revenue. Augmented reality can help brands to create location-based AR incentives only redeemable in designated stores. Augmented reality retail solutions can help create these engaging experiences. Interestingly, with the utilization of AR and VR technologies, retailers can engage customers up to 10 times longer than traditional channels, especially when 68% of shoppers would spend more time at an offline store if they could shop with AR.
AR experiences not only improve brand engagement but also provide contextual data. This data can be used to understand customer behaviour and sentiment, measure the success of activities, and make strategic data-driven decisions. The logic is simple — AR improves conversion rates, reduces return rates and ultimately delivers a great shopping experience.
The impact of AR and VR on the retail industry has been monumental, adding many benefits to the industry. From streamlining the process to making shopping easier for people, AR and VR in retail have myriad benefits that remain to be harnessed in India. Embracing these technologies enables retailers to gain control over industry disruption. Personalised promotions and immersive in-store experiences offer up a perfect blend of online and offline experiences. AR/VR can make shopping more fun, personalised, and efficient, helping traditional retailers adopt non-traditional methods to build personal relationships and experiences. The retail industry has always been crowded, with fierce competition — AR/VR technologies can be competitive differentiators, helping retailers grow.
Hema is the Head of Brand Marketing for Simpli Namdhari’s, India’s only 100% veg retail chain. She is a strategic marketing leader with more than a decade of experience in marketing across premium retail, consulting and hospitality sectors. In her earlier stints she has worked with organizations such as Taj group of hotels, Motilal Oswal among others.
Pic credit: <a href="https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/studio">Studio Vectors by Vecteezy</a>
The famous designer Ralph Lauren once said, "I don't design clothes. I design dreams." Fashion is most aspirational and is more a way of expression than just something to wear. With the modern-day digitalization and influence of social media, fashion trends change every week if not days. And with the world being a global platform, one culture influences the other, and trends today are mostly universal with local variations. Though traditional wears hold a special place in every culture, fashion today is fast evolving and trends catch on like wildfire.
Fashion Trends Turn Global
Gen Z across the world is more fashionable than ever before. It is a generation with easy access to information on trends from across the world - thanks to social media. They influence each other very fast and the trends from the West influence youth in the East and vice-versa. With the popularity of Social Media marketing and fast liberalization, procuring and following trends has become much easier. Millennials were perhaps the early generation to make their own fashion rules. It was their shopping trends that forced brands to rejig their product line. With an age difference of up to 15-17 years (Millennials: born between 1981-1996, Gen Z: born between 1997-2017), easy information on fashion trends has helped both these generations evolve much faster. They make fashion rules, break old ones and stay ahead of changing times.
Millennial vs Gen Z
Gen Z is more focused on comfort fashion, they are quick to renounce traditional standards and make their own style statement. In fact, their choices are more stark than that of millennials. Gen Z kind of turned around every fashion statement set by the millennials. While millennials went for low-waisted jeans, the Gen Z is in for high-waisted denims, millennials wore their cardigan long and full, the Gen Z has gone for short-cropped cardigans, often worn as a simple top. And the list can be endless. Gen Z wears fashion with unabashed confidence and can even make Grandpa’s fashion look trendy. Along with fashion, they wear their confidence with elan.
Dominating K fashion & more
The most important trend that took the whole world by storm is Korean fashion. What started around 2019-20, K-fashion almost swept the whole world. This was doubled up with the rising popularity of K-drama and also Korean music. Right from oversized t-shirts, baggy pants to trench coats and puffer jackets, K-fashion influenced everyone with their comfort wears. In India everything Korean became a rage with every Gen Z listening to BTS - a Korean music band, reading K-dramas and wearing Korean fashion. The easy availability of clothes and merchandise through e-commerce platforms made it all the more easy for Gen Z to adopt the fashion trends and make them popular.
In conclusion, though both Millenials and Gen Z have been very different in their fashion choices, there are a few much-needed course corrections that both have successfully implemented. Both generations have embraced sustainable fashion, and are ready to pay more to save the earth. Gen Z is also known for thrift shopping and they are hugely conscious about fashion not bearing the burden of an unhealthy universe.
An average Indian’s diet is as diverse as the country’s vibrant landscape. India, with its rich and abundant food palette, offers a wide range of cuisines that can appeal to every single taste bud. From the succulent Kashmiri Pulao to the soft and tangy undertones of the South Indian Idli, there is something on the Indian thali for everyone. In recent years, through exposure to international cuisine via travel and through social media, there has been a growing interest and curiosity amongst Indian consumers to try out new varieties of foods. As disposable incomes rise and dietary habits evolve, there has been a notable new addition to the Indian diet - plant-based meat, which is gaining traction among both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. According to a recent survey, more than 63 percent of respondents in India said that they had, at some point, consumed plant-based alternatives to animal-based meat products. This share was the highest among respondents aged 25- 34 years old at more than 69%. The meat substitutes market in India is thriving and is expected to reach a net value of $292.9 million by 2025, clocking a lucrative CAGR of 5.8%.
What is plant-based meat? It is a revolutionary concept that is derived from organic sources like soybean and pea, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to conventional animal-based meat. With increasing global population, there are growing concerns about the environmental impact of the traditional animal-based meat industry as it significantly contributes to carbon emissions, water consumption, and greenhouse gases, posing a credible threat to the environment. In stark contrast, plant-based meat production results in considerably lower greenhouse emissions, reduced land usage, and minimal water consumption.
Indians are often perceived to be predominantly vegetarian, but there is a significant segment of the population that consumes meat. For both these audience segments, plant-based meat serves as a lucrative dietary option due to its various benefits, including offering adequate protein-based nutrition, being a healthy and sustainable food choice that leaves fewer carbon footprints, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and contributing to animal welfare.
Though the plant-based meat market is still at a nascent stage in India, the timing is ripe for growth as Indians continuously seek to experiment with their diets, driven by a convergence of sectoral, demographic, and sustainability shifts. Amidst a backdrop of persistent nutritional deficiencies, mounting water scarcity, and escalating environmental concerns in India, the emergence of plant-based meats is taking centre stage as a transformative solution to overcome these challenges. It is thus the right time to leverage India's rich production of raw materials, including abundant sources like dry beans, to enhance plant-based meat production in a way that aligns with the nation's agricultural strengths and emphasizes the importance of leveraging local resources.
To succeed in their endeavour of selling plant-based meats on a large scale, companies must tailor its products to suit local preferences, invest in marketing and technology, and work towards competitive pricing. Collaborations with established food chains can also boost awareness and acceptance. Take the example of ADF Foods- a recent innovator in this dynamic field that caters to the growing demand for plant-based food options by offering convenient and healthy alternatives. It recognizes the importance of living and eating right, which is why it provides a delectable yet healthy alternative for animal meat in the form of its unique product entitled meatless meatballs that are protein-packed with non-GMO soy and deliver the same taste, texture, and versatility as traditional meatballs without compromising on taste or quality.
As Indians continue to diversify their food palette and embrace global food influences with a renewed focus on health and nutrition, we have the immense opportunity to revolutionize the way the nation consumes protein through plant-based meat and create an extremely special dietary legacy with an enriched, sustainable, and balanced food culture.
The author is Bimal Thakkar, CMD, ADF Foods
Urbanic, a London-based fashion brand, has quickly become a frontrunner in the fashion and apparel industry, revolutionizing the way consumers engage with fashion. Founded in 2019 by James Wellwood, the brand set out on a mission to bring creativity and technology to emerging markets consumers with the best fashion. The brand operates mainly through its D2C online channel, catering to the fashion-conscious digital consumers in India and other developing markets.
"We are targeting the affordable premium fashion business in the world's developing markets. India is one of our core markets, where we launched back in 2019. And our target group is fashion-conscious rising digital consumers in India." says James Wellwood, Co-founder, Urbanic
Urbanic’s success and progress are driven by its adept use of technology - from trend analysis and forecasting to optimizing the supply chain and inventory planning, the brand efficiently leverages technology.
The brand has employed Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) to enhance design and creativity, leading to AI-generated content that captures the essence of Urbanic's vision. Additionally, AI and machine learning have been integrated into the supply chain, enabling digitalization and accurate inventory forecasting. Moreover, AI-powered 3D modeling has transformed garment design and modeling, further enhancing the brand's innovation.
Charting Success through D2C Strategies
Urbanic's focus on Direct-to-Consumer strategies has been pivotal in driving its growth. Investing in resources and technology has allowed them to scale efficiently and maintain their competitive edge. Recognizing the importance of talent, Urbanic has attracted the right individuals, fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within the brand.
"Our vision is to bring creativity and technology to emerging markets consumers with the best fashion," asserts James.
With an ever-growing community of customers and creators, the brand has garnered immense praise for its trendy and well-designed clothing. The secret behind the brand’s success lies in their dedicated and creative design and buying team, which consistently delivers top-notch designs that resonate with their audience.
Urbanic's business model revolves around a D2C channel, ensuring seamless access to its trendy offerings. However, the brand is not limited to the digital realm, as it plans to venture into the physical space with exciting offline activations and pop-up stores in multiple cities.
"While our primary focus remains digital, we are planning for many offline activations globally this year. Also, we will be doing many pop-up stores to let customers feel the new collection," adds James.
Shaping the Future
In the next two years, Urbanic plans to cement its position as a leading affordable premium fashion brand in developing markets. The brand aims to expand its global footprint and create an even more profound impact on the community through its CSR and ESG initiatives. Its focus on innovation, creativity, and self-belief will remain unwavering as it strives to cater to the dynamic needs of their fashion-forward customers.
Wellwood adds, "Our vision is to bring creativity and technology to emerging markets consumers with the best fashion."
Urbanic's journey is a testament to the power of innovation, creativity, and technological prowess. As the brand continues to redefine fashion in emerging markets, it promises to remain at the forefront of affordable premium fashion, delivering the best to fashion-conscious customers.
The fashion industry has long been associated with unattainable beauty standards, perpetuating a narrow portrayal of beauty that often alienates individuals who don't fit into the prescribed mold. However, recent years have witnessed a transformative shift in the industry's approach, with a growing emphasis on body positivity and inclusivity. Wacoal has been leading the charge in promoting body diversity since its inception. With an extensive array of products designed to cater to all body shapes and sizes, including cup sizes reaching up to 44FF, Wacoal has become a trailblazer in embracing and celebrating the diverse beauty of every individual.
Additionally, every year, Wacoal’s Human Science Research Centre in Japan conducts a range of research studies centered around women's bodies. The brand gathers measurements from around 1,000 women and girls aged 4 to 69. Wacoal has been measuring over 100 women continuously for more than 55 years now to provide them with the most suitable fit. For example, for women in their 20s, we have designed products that will support gentle shaping and lift, while for women in their 40s, we have designed products that will give a fuller appearance.
Body Positivity and Representation:
The push for greater body positivity in the fashion industry has resulted in a significant increase in the representation of diverse body types. Campaigns and runway shows now showcase models of different sizes, ethnic backgrounds, ages, and abilities, effectively challenging the previously dominant concept of beauty as a singular, uniform ideal. This drive for inclusivity has been spurred by consumers' desire to see themselves mirrored in the media they consume and the products they purchase. Wacoal has responded to this call for representation by featuring models of varying body types in their campaigns, reinforcing the idea that beauty is boundless.
Expanding Size Ranges:
One of the most critical steps toward inclusivity in the fashion industry is the expansion of size ranges. Traditionally, many brands limited their offerings to a narrow range of sizes, neglecting the needs of those whose bodies fell outside these predefined norms. Wacoal, on the other hand, has been at the forefront of change, recognizing the importance of providing fashionable and well-fitting lingerie for individuals above standard sample sizes. Their dedication to offering cup sizes up to 44FF ensures that women of all body types can find intimate wear that fits comfortably and enhances their silhouettes.
Empowering Plus-Size Women:
By embracing body diversity, Wacoal has played a pivotal role in empowering plus-size women and challenging society's outdated beauty standards. Plus-size individuals have long been marginalized and underrepresented in the fashion world, making it challenging for them to find clothing that makes them feel confident and beautiful. Wacoal's dedication to catering to the needs of these women through its innovative products, such as the Back Appeal bra, which provides much-needed back support for curvier women, is a testament to the brand's commitment to uplifting and empowering their customers.
Beyond Beauty: Self-Expression and Confidence:
The impact of Wacoal's inclusive approach goes beyond promoting diverse beauty standards. It extends to fostering self-expression and promoting confidence in individuals of all shapes and sizes. When individuals feel seen and accepted by the fashion industry, they are more likely to embrace their bodies and feel comfortable expressing their unique style. Wacoal's global best-selling styles, like Visual Effects and Awareness, cater to a wide variety of sizes, allowing women to choose lingerie that resonates with their personal preferences and enhances their self-confidence.
The fashion industry's journey toward body positivity and inclusivity are still ongoing, but brands like Wacoal have demonstrated that progress is possible. By expanding its size ranges, featuring diverse models, and promoting a more inclusive vision of beauty, Wacoal has redefined the standards of beauty in the lingerie industry. As we continue to champion body diversity, we can create a future where all individuals feel celebrated, confident, and beautiful, regardless of their size or shape.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/drawn-types-female-body-shapes_12276382.htm#query=body%20diversity%20in%20lingerie&position=3&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
Despite a tepid demand environment in H1 FY2024, the end demand is expected to improve in H2 FY2024, boosting revenues. The retail apparel brands in the US and the EU, which together account for close to 55 percent of global apparel trade, are expected to liquidate the high inventory build-up of FY2023 and book their orders for the Spring/Summer 2024 season in H2 FY2024.
ICRA recently published a research note on the Indian apparel export industry. The rating agency expects its sample companies to report a mild 2-3 percent YoY increase in revenues to Rs. 27,255 crore for FY2024. ICRA’s outlook for the apparel industry remains Stable.
Kaushik Das, Vice President & Co-Group Head, Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA said, “ICRA expects the apparel-exporting companies to report a nominal increase in revenues in FY2024 with a recovery in growth rate in FY2025. Despite a rationalization in raw material costs in H1 FY2024, the benefit is expected to be passed on to the orders executed, considering a weak operating environment at present. The long-term growth prospects however look encouraging, with the Government of India’s various promotional steps, including the PLI schemes, the PM Mitra parks, the proposed FTAs with the UK and the EU, and the longer-term benefit of China Plus One shift in apparel sourcing”.
For FY2024, ICRA expects the sample set to report ~2-3 percent revenue growth, led by an expected recovery in demand conditions in the international markets during H2 FY2024. The operating margins may slightly moderate to 9.0-9.5 percent in FY2024 (10.9 percent in FY2023), on a relatively weaker operating environment in H1 FY2024, steeper raw material prices, and higher employee expenses. Indian cotton yarn prices had averaged ~19 percent higher in FY2023 compared to the past five-year average. However, between April and July 2023, average cotton yarn prices were ~24 percent lower than the average cotton yarn prices in FY2023, while remaining elevated. Nevertheless, the stability of export incentives, together with the benefits of higher scale, should help the companies cushion the impact on profitability.
A difficult operating environment had pushed back large capex investments for most players, except for a brownfield expansion by one player. However, based on an expectation of demand revival from H2 FY2024, industry players’ strategies to take advantage of the China Plus One movement, and to capitalize on the PLI incentives (especially in the man-made fiber or MMF value chain), ICRA expects a pick-up in capex spending in FY2025.
Despite the expected increase in debt, the coverage ratios of the sample set are expected to remain stable as earnings improve. ICRA’s sample set of apparel-exporting companies is likely to report an interesting cover of ~5.7-6 times and total debt/ OPBDITA of ~1.8-1.85 times in FY2024 and FY2025, respectively (compared to ~5.6 times and ~1.9 times respectively, in FY2023).
Out of the approved 64 applicants for the PLI 1.0 scheme in April 2022, 56 applicants completed the mandatory criteria for the formation of a new company and approval letters have been issued. On July 18, 2023, the Government of India reopened the PLI 1.0 scheme portal till August 31, 2023, and on August 31, 2023, the Government extended it till October 31, 2023. In addition to the fresh capacity additions under the PLI, the PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (MITRA) schemes will strengthen India's presence in the global apparel trade, by providing scale benefits and strengthening the country’s presence in the MMF value chain. ICRA anticipates the culmination of these schemes to enable Indian apparel exporters to capture a greater share of the Chinese apparel export market.
While volumes rose by a tepid 1 percent in FY2023, the depreciation of the rupee against the USD by ~8 percent, supported a ~8.8 percent expansion in exports in FY2023 INR terms. Subsequently, Indian apparel exports declined by a sharp 17.8 percent to USD 3.7 billion in Q1 FY2024 on a YoY basis. “The overall share of the EU, which accounts for ~31 percent of global apparel trade, improved to ~32 percent in FY2023 from ~28 percent in FY2022 in Indian apparel exports. Therefore, a successful conclusion of the ongoing FTA discussions with the UK and the EU, along with the FTA agreement signed with Australia, which came into force by December 2022, is likely to provide a growth impetus to Indian apparel exports, going forward,” Mr Das reiterated.
India's retail industry is poised for exponential growth, as private consumption is projected to expand to $4.5 trillion by the end of the decade. Deloitte India and the Shopping Centre Association of India (SCAI) have jointly launched a survey-based report titled "Recognising malls and shopping centres as a new-age industry”. The report highlights that malls and shopping centres account for a significant share of the organized brick-and-mortar retail sector. This segment is expected to grow at a rapid pace, with a projected 17 percent CAGR from 2022 to 2028, outpacing the overall growth of the retail pie.
As per the report, one of the top reasons for consumers to visit malls include shopping (82 percent), watching movies (73 percent), dining (56 percent), and leisure outings with friends and family (56 percent). Additionally, other reasons contributing to footfalls of the malls include gaming zones (22 percent), festival celebrations (18 percent), activities and play areas for children (11 percent), concerts/shows (10 percent), and exhibitions (8 percent).
In 2022, malls and shopping centres accounted for about 12 percent of the overall retail market in India, contributing about 1.2 percent to India's GDP. With an annual revenue of close to INR 1,80,000 crore, employment opportunities for 1.2 crore people, and tax contributions of INR 35,000 crore, the shopping centre industry plays a pivotal role in driving economic growth and fostering employment opportunities.
Commenting on the launch, Rajat Wahi, Partner, Deloitte India said, "As India sets its ambitions to head towards a US$5 trillion economy, the potential role of shopping centres in our nation's growth has to be emphasized. Through the findings of this joint report, Deloitte and SCAI have attempted to illustrate the potential that this Industry holds.”
He further added, “In addition to generating revenue for the economy, shopping centres also contribute to the development of the country’s social infrastructure and give both foreign and native businesses a platform to access the Indian market. These centres serve as essential catalysts for India's economic change.”
Mukesh Kumar, Chairman of Board of Directors, Shopping Center Association of India (SCAI) said, “Growth of the Retail and Shopping Center industry over the 10-15 years has been phenomenal. Shopping Centers have turned out to be a catalyst for retail growth in the country. Developers have been very bullish about developing malls not only in Tier I and Tier II cities but also moving to Tier III & IV. With 275 to 300 million sq ft already operational and another 35-40 million sq ft getting operational in the next 18-24 months, the industry is adding quite a lot to the economy. It is very important to highlight the strengths of this industry and how it is adding to the growth of India's story. The white paper is an attempt to highlight some of the salient features.”
Nearly 50 percent of India's shopping mall stock is concentrated in eight major cities: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, the National Capital Region (NCR), and Pune. NCR has the highest share of malls amongst the top eight cities at 34 percent, followed by Mumbai at 18 percent and Bengaluru at 17 percent.
Malls are also expanding to Tier-II and III cities due to lower rental rates and operating costs, contributing to retail growth in India. Between 2006 and 2017, these cities received $6.2 billion in overall retail investments, becoming pivotal contributors to the country’s retail growth.
The report highlights the scope for further evolution of malls and shopping centres in India. With a continued focus on advancements, malls, and shopping centres will further incentivize global brands looking to enter the Indian market, to collaborate with local manufacturers.
This will further support manufacturing by generating employment opportunities and contributing to the overall growth of the country's economy.
Consumer Preferences: The top reasons for consumers to visit malls were shopping (82 percent), watching movies (73 percent), dining (56 percent), leisure outings with friends and family (56 percent), gaming zones (22 percent), festival celebrations (18 percent), activities and play areas for children (11 percent), concerts/shows (10 percent), and exhibitions (8 percent).
Factors Influencing Choice: When choosing to visit a shop-dine-leisure venue, the most crucial deciding factors include cleanliness, accessibility, ambience, parking facilities, entertainment options, and infrastructural services.
Challenges Faced: Key challenges faced by malls and shopping centres include taxation, industry status, availability of credit, approval process, and support from local bodies.
In 2013, an eCommerce company had to spend just $9 on acquiring new customers. They now spend almost $30 — that is a 222% increase in CAC. While we’ve seen exponential growth in the eCommerce industry, with rapid expansion comes intensified competition, making it challenging for brands to stand out.
In the race to capture consumer attention and secure a market share, businesses often find themselves targeting the same audience with similar products or services. As a result, customer loyalty to brands has seen a steady decline. And this declining customer loyalty and skyrocketing CAC is the reason why eCommerce brands must prioritize customer retention. By focusing on retention, the customer lifetime value increases, which helps fight CAC. And the more customers purchase from you, the more loyal they become.
There are many ways to improve the retention rate, like having an omnichannel communication strategy. It’s essential because modern consumers interact with brands through various touchpoints, such as social media, search engines, and websites. And you never know from which channel they might buy your product. So you must create a seamless and consistent experience across all channels.
eCommerce brands should also leverage analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to revolutionize how they understand and engage with their customers. Imagine if you could govern your business with mathematical certainty. If you had a formula to break down the business and help you understand what levers to pull for better performance.
The eCommerce equation:
Revenue = Traffic X Conversion Rate X Average Order Value
Using AI-powered analytics, businesses can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences rapidly. For example, knowing which channels have better conversion rates can help you finetune your strategy for those channels. Armed with this knowledge, personalized recommendations and offers can be created, reaching out to customers in a contextual manner that resonates with their needs. And when your customers think that you understand them, they’ll prefer sticking to you.
Gamified loyalty programs also work wonders in retaining customers. Injecting an element of fun into your loyalty program entices customers to stay engaged with your brand, unlocking rewards and benefits as they progress through the levels. This fosters a sense of excitement and exclusivity, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases.
eCommerce business owners must also understand that loyalty is no longer just about purchasing products; it's about creating a sense of belonging and involvement. And how do you create a sense of belonging? By building a thriving community. You should encourage user-generated content, facilitate discussions, and seek customer feedback to strengthen the bond between your brand and its community. The more engaged they are with you, the more they’ll come back to you.
Long story short, customer retention and acquisition are not mutually exclusive concepts but rather two sides of the same coin. While acquisition efforts drive new customers to your business, retention strategies keep them coming back for more. By striking the right balance between the two, eCommerce brands can create a virtuous cycle that propels their growth in the fiercely competitive industry.
Prem Bhatia is the CEO and Co-Founder of Graas, a company offering Growth-as-a-Service to eCommerce businesses worldwide. Prem is a serial entrepreneur and investor, with a career spanning over 20 years. He has worked closely in the areas of advertising, media and technology in several countries, including USA, UK, India, UAE, Singapore, and China.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/gradient-sales-representative-illustration_25823144.htm#query=eCommerce%20Customer%20Retention&position=21&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
With the advent of eCommerce, the retail landscape underwent a remarkable upheaval, changing how customers purchase and businesses run. Because of the digital revolution, convenience and accessibility now control the world's marketplace. However, in order to properly leverage the power of eCommerce, businesses must master the challenging realm of logistics. Modern logistics entails more than just transporting products; it also includes inventory management, providing rapid last-mile deliveries, simplifying returns, and getting data-driven insights. Thus, retailers must deal with a complex logistical environment as eCommerce grows, as this will determine their success or failure in this fast-paced era. According to Allied Market Research, the projected value of the worldwide logistics industry, which was estimated to be worth $9,833.8 billion in 2022, is expected to rise to $16,794.7 billion by 2032, increasing at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2023 to 2032.
Here’s a look at the evolving challenges and strategic approaches for conquering these logistics complexities.
The Evolution of eCommerce Logistics
In the early days of eCommerce, logistics operated as a basic support function, focusing primarily on the movement of goods from sellers to buyers. However, due to the increasing consumer expectations and the desire for personalised experiences the logistics landscape transformed dramatically into a complex ecosystem. Today, an accurate balance between technology advancement, strategic alliances, and a customer-centric mindset is required for effective eCommerce logistics. Technological advancements have revolutionised the sector, ushering in an era of smart warehouses, automated fulfilment, and real-time tracking. The shift towards customer-centricity has elevated expectations, demanding seamless last-mile deliveries and hassle-free returns.
Strategic alliances have emerged as a key driver, enabling businesses to leverage expertise and resources globally. Collaborations between eCommerce giants and logistics providers have streamlined operations and optimised supply chains. This transformation has led to an increased demand for logistics services that can adeptly navigate this intricate ecosystem. From predictive analytics for demand forecasting to eco-friendly packaging solutions, modern eCommerce logistics demands innovation and efficiency, underscoring its vital role in shaping the future of retail.
Key Challenges in eCommerce Logistics
Inventory Management and Warehousing
Within the logistical framework for eCommerce, smart warehousing, and efficient inventory management have become key foundations. Today's merchants use real-time data insights to optimise inventory levels across numerous locations, replacing static stockpiles. Processes for stock replenishment are streamlined by automated warehouse systems, which are supported by innovations like RFID tagging and AI-driven analytics. In addition to preventing stockouts and excess inventory, processes like demand forecasting, just-in-time inventory, and effective storage also offer a smooth customer experience and operational agility in the fast-paced world of online retail.
The last mile of the delivery route, also referred to as last-mile delivery, is a crucial area of conflict in the world of eCommerce logistics. Innovative solutions are needed during this crucial stage to overcome obstacles like urban congestion, delivery time windows, and rising customer expectations. Retailers are currently investigating novel approaches including utilising crowdsourced networks, drone delivery, and autonomous vehicles. In addition, they can drastically lower operational costs and environmental impact while improving consumer satisfaction by optimising this complex network of effective routes and delivery methods.
In the dynamic realm of eCommerce, data-driven decision-making has emerged as a guiding star for successful logistics operations. The proliferation of data from various touchpoints offers invaluable insights, aiding retailers in optimising routes, predicting demand fluctuations, and fine-tuning delivery timelines. Cutting-edge data analytics and AI-powered tools empower retailers to unlock hidden patterns, enhancing operational efficiency and responsiveness. By harnessing this wealth of information, retailers can elevate their logistics strategies, offering customers expedited deliveries, personalised experiences, and a seamless journey through the digital marketplace.
Strategies for Successful eCommerce Logistics
Integrated Technology Solutions: Effective eCommerce logistics management is now built on integrated technology solutions. Retailers now rely on thorough platforms that synchronise order processing, inventory control, and delivery tracking. They can take preventative actions, respond quickly to potential issues, and guarantee a flawless consumer experience thanks to this real-time synergy. The interconnection of these technologies provides unmatched visibility into operations, paving the path for improved supply chain management, streamlined logistics, and ultimately higher levels of consumer satisfaction in the always-changing world of online retail.
Collaborative Partnerships: In order to effectively deal with the complex eCommerce logistics landscape, partnerships must be fostered. Retailers are forming strategic partnerships with suppliers, fulfillment centers, and logistics companies. These alliances enable smooth communication, speed up order processing, and build a strong supply chain network. Retailers can manage complicated issues, optimise inventory flow, and guarantee on-time delivery by combining their resources and experience. In the fast-paced world of eCommerce, this symbiotic relationship gives businesses a competitive edge, improves operational efficiency and responsiveness, and ultimately provides great customer service.
Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices: Sustainability and eco-friendly practices have become non-negotiable requirements in eCommerce logistics in the era of increased environmental consciousness. Retailers are adopting environmentally friendly packaging strategies, enhancing delivery routes to reduce carbon emissions, and investigating alternative energy sources. Consumers who care about the environment respond favourably to these sincere efforts, enhancing company loyalty and reputation. Retailers can support a greener future and position themselves as responsible caretakers of the environment by integrating sustainable practices into their logistics strategy. This will help them achieve their business objectives while also advancing broader ecological objectives.
The Roadmap to eCommerce Logistics Victory!: Retailers have been thrust into a dynamic environment where mastering logistics is essential to success as a result of the expansion of the eCommerce industry. Effective inventory management, cutting-edge last-mile solutions, data-driven insights, and cooperative partnerships are essential as digital shopping continues to redefine consumer expectations. Retailers can negotiate the challenging logistics environment by embracing technology, sustainability, and strategic alliances, assuring flawless consumer experiences while advancing their businesses towards long-term success in the midst of the eCommerce boom. Thus, recognising that in this dynamic ecosystem, logistics excellence is the real force behind retail success and the key to long-term growth.
Yash Jain is the founder of NimbusPost, a tech-enabled logistics platform. His passion is building products that can simplify businesses. With expertise in marketing, tech, and automation, he is the driving force behind all the tech and business operations at NimbusPost.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/vehicles-laptop-supply-chain-representation_33752603.htm#query=Logistics%20Landscape%20for%20ecommerce%20success&position=9&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
Imagine stepping into a new city, an uncharted territory waiting to be discovered and explored. As you venture forth, picture yourself immersing in the vibrant culinary scene, ready to unlock a world of flavours and sensations. However, this time, a delightful twist awaits. Gone are the hours spent meticulously researching and explaining your vegan preferences, contemplating which cuisine would satisfy your discerning palate, or pondering over menu options that align with your dietary choices.
Through harnessing the power of generative AI (GenAI), quick service restaurants (QSRs) can now tailor personalised menus that effortlessly guide you to an array of delectable food options. Whether you find yourself amid a bustling metropolis or a charming town, this AI-enabled dining experience eliminates the worry of finding suitable food choices, allowing you to focus your attention on what truly matters to you.
With this ground-breaking technology, QSRs can go beyond simply providing food and cross instead into the realm of crafting memorable experiences. GenAI empowers restaurants to design seamless and personalised journeys that elevate their offerings and deliver high customer satisfaction, making each dining experience truly exceptional and unforgettable for every guest.
How Can GenAI Transform the QSR Industry
GenAI has emerged as a disruptive technology poised to reshape the QSR industry. While it is still in its early stages of adoption, the potential impact it holds is becoming evident. Forward-thinking QSRs have a unique opportunity to embrace this cutting-edge technology, leveraging it to proactively meet the ever-evolving expectations of consumers and gain a significant competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market.
By incorporating GenAI into their operations, QSRs can unlock a host of benefits. AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data, including customer preferences, purchasing patterns, and feedback, to generate tailored recommendations that resonate with individual tastes. This level of personalisation enhances the dining experience, fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty, and having the potential to revolutionise customer service.
Self-Service Redefined: GenAI empowers QSRs to implement self-service kiosks equipped with advanced speech and video recognition capabilities. Through this cutting-edge technology, customers can be effortlessly identified, enabling the system to recommend personalised menu items based on their unique profiles and past transactions. This seamless blend of self-service and personalisation delivers memorable dining experiences.
Streamlined Operations: With GenAI, the process of generating receipts and kitchen orders can be automated. By incorporating customer preferences into the system, orders can be swiftly and efficiently processed, leading to streamlined operations and accurate billing. Automation can transform and optimise the restaurant’s workflow, enhancing efficiency, mitigating errors, and improving productivity.
Unleashing Customisation: QSRs can tap into the power of GenAI to curate unique combos that cater to individual preferences. By leveraging the potential of this technology, restaurants can deliver customised experiences that delight and satisfy their customers. This remarkable ability to cater to particular tastes not only sets these establishments apart, but also cultivates a loyal customer base.
Real-Time Menu Optimisation: GenAI can enable dynamic menu optimisation in real time. By considering essential factors such as customer preferences, ingredient availability, and pricing, restaurants can maximise sales while minimising waste. This data-driven approach ensures that menus are continuously fine-tuned to meet customer demand and drive profitability.
Innovating for Success: By embracing the transformative potential of GenAI, QSRs can delve into uncharted waters and introduce unique and innovative food combinations that captivate customers craving novel dining experiences. This focus on innovation could differentiate these establishments from their competitors and position them as trailblazers in the industry.
The blend of GenAI and advanced personalisation unlocks a world of possibilities for QSRs. Not only are restaurants able to deliver next-level culinary experiences to their customers with unlimited food options, combinations, and flavours, but they can also enhance their operational efficiency and tap into new revenue streams with customised offerings that cater to individual preferences. Additionally, real-time menu optimisation empowers these forward-thinking establishments to create a synergy of technology, customisation, disruption, and stellar dining experiences, placing them at the forefront of innovation and enabling them to attract and retain customers searching for novel and exceptional culinary adventures.
What must QSRs do to embrace GenAI
Food giants, for example, can enhance their menus with customisation, add new recipes, and craft intriguing and viral marketing campaigns using just ChatGPT answers. They can utilise GenAI like no other. While the potential of this technology is limitless, to stay relevant and increase brand loyalty, QSRs need to leverage GenAI at the first level of customer interaction when they walk in. Some of the ways in which this can be done are as follows:
Virtual Sales Ops for Improved Speed and Ease of Order Placement
Chatbot: QSRs can install speech- and text-enabled chatbots for registering orders. The orders will automatically be placed by the bots through an interactive online conversation wherein the relevant details will be captured. To further enhance the experience, the bots can also be enabled with recommendations and order-tracking features.
Self-Service Kiosk: QSR users can enjoy automated order placement and bill generation through speech- and UI-enabled kiosks at restaurants. A recommendation engine can be integrated at the backend, offering custom recommendations based on user profile.
Accentuated Customer Delight with Personalised and Immersive Experiences
Personalised Recommendation: QSRs can create custom menus and offer personalised food recommendations to the customers via the website/ app, chatbots or even kiosks, based on their preferences, purchase behaviours, and market basket analysis.
Personalised Delivery Note: QSRs can provide personalised text notes to customers with food delivery/pick-up options, providing a delightful experience.
Live Order Image Generation: QSRs can create immersive experiences for the customers by generating order images as customers keep adding food items in the cart/kiosk.
Product Ideation for Increased Customer Satisfaction and Revenue
Combo Curation: Based on food items frequently bought together at the QSR, custom combos can be created for the customers as per their preferences and ongoing trends data. Even new product packaging or new recipes can be developed using GenAI to deliver customer satisfaction and profits.
Offer Curation: Based on latest customer behaviour, orders, and market trends, QSRs can curate new offers best suited for the customer base. The offer display can include text descriptions, images, and suggested discounts, depending on the business goals.
Marketing/Merchandising for Effective Brand Awareness and Reach
Creative Generation: GenAI can be used to make visually appealing content (image, text, videos) to reach more customers and drive sales by developing a holistic marketing strategy including collaterals such as digital and print ads, banners, kiosk displays, social media campaigns, and captions.
GenAI has the potential to redefine the future of QSRs by turning diner experiences into a sustainable advantage. However, before businesses capitalise on GenAI’s unique mix of potential business impact and technology disruption, they need to understand the technology’s complexities. The buzz is out there—and so is the potential. By developing a fuller understanding of GenAI’s unique combination of problem-solving, engineering, and science, QSRs can be better prepared to make informed, grounded decisions and maximise the ROI.
Muthumari S is the head of Data Science at Brillio. She is a seasoned Analytics professional with a decade of experience enabling better decision-making for sales and marketing functions across industries such as eCommerce, Media, Manufacturing, Logistics, and High Tech.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/6g-internet-connection-collage_63963975.htm#query=Generative%20AI%20in%20Quick%20Service%20Restaurants&position=0&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
Fujifilm India, a pioneering name in the world of photographic devices and imaging, has taken a significant step forward with the launch of its flagship store, the "Fujifilm X-Space," in Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. This move not only demonstrates the brand's commitment to fostering a culture of photography but also signifies its intention to redefine the retail experience for its customers.
“Our foray into the retail sector with the Fujifilm X-Space reflects a well-thought-out business strategy aimed at enhancing customer engagement and expanding our market presence. Our dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction position us as a key player in India's photography industry,” said Arun Babu, Head of Digital Camera, Instax, and Optical Devices Business, Fujifilm India.
Market Strategy and Expansion
With its head offices located in both Delhi and Gurgaon, Fujifilm India recognizes the significance of these key markets. Delhi, in particular, is identified as one of the largest and most influential markets. By choosing to test the waters in this region first, the company aims to ensure a successful launch before expanding to other cities. This measured approach reflects the brand's commitment to strategic growth and market penetration.
Diverse Product Portfolio
Fujifilm India boasts a diverse product portfolio that caters to a wide range of consumers. Notably, the company offers "Instax" products, known for their popularity and affordability, with prices ranging from Rs 5,000 to 22,000. Additionally, the brand provides a comprehensive lineup of cameras, including mirrorless and medium format options. With more than 40 XF lenses and other GFX lenses available, the range encompasses products from Rs 17,000 to high-end options priced at up to Rs 8 lakh.
“The Fujifilm X-Space store features a fully equipped studio setup, enhancing the customer experience and enabling potential buyers to test products in real-world scenarios. Furthermore, we are committed to educating our customers through workshops and events, highlighting the advantages of choosing Fujifilm products,” stated Babu.
Photography Workshops and Community Building
Fujifilm's initiative to host photography workshops tailored to different genres, such as wedding, wildlife, child, and pet photography, sets it apart. Each photography category requires specific equipment and techniques, and the brand aims to equip enthusiasts with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their chosen field. “By inviting experienced photographers to conduct workshops, we foster a sense of community and learning among our customers,” he asserted.
The brand has strategically invested in offline retail, operating more than 70 flagship stores across the country. These stores serve as hubs for customers to experience Fujifilm's product offerings, even if the complete range is not available. Additionally, the company has established a presence on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, catering to the growing online consumer base. Its official website also provides an avenue for customers to explore and purchase products, including essential accessories like lens caps.
“The introduction of the Fujifilm X-Space represents a significant enhancement of our offline retail strategy. This innovative store prioritizes the customer experience, allowing visitors to take product demos without any obligation to purchase. This approach aligns with consumers' evolving preferences who seek hands-on experiences before making purchasing decisions,” explained Babu.
Delhi and Mumbai stand out as the top-performing markets for the brand. The South and West regions also exhibit strong performance, with Delhi being a noteworthy player in both these regions.
As Fujifilm India observes the performance of its flagship store in Lajpat Nagar, it anticipates further expansion of its experiential retail model. While the company is already collaborating with online retailers, it remains open to exploring additional online avenues.
With its strong product portfolio, commitment to customer education, and strategic growth initiatives, the brand is poised for continued success in the dynamic photography and imaging market.
If there’s one thing that COVID made sure of, it was the ability to seamlessly communicate, rely on productivity tools, and enjoy our favourite entertainment as our lives became inextricably linked with technology. Our screens are now no longer relegated to the boardroom; they’ve made their way into our work-from-home schedules, creating an often overlooked impact of one crucial element: blue light.
The screens on our phones, computers and tablets constantly emit blue light also known as HEV (high-energy visible) light, which can penetrate deep into our skin, proving detrimental to its health. Luckily, we now have clean skincare brands that shed light on the significance of digital detoxing for your skin and how it can be one of your skin’s greatest allies.
The Blue Light Conundrum
Blue light is not artificial in nature. It is present in daylight and can easily be protected against by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen. However, when we’re exposed to it for long periods of time through artificial sources, it can wreak havoc on our skin - think a compromised skin barrier, hyperpigmentation, and accelerated ageing. Blue light can also trigger oxidative stress, causing harmful free radicals to attack healthy skin cells.
The Skincare Routine for a Digital Detox
Much like we take mental health breaks from social media, a digital detox is necessary even for our skin. Incorporating these tips can counteract the negative effects of blue light and nurse your skin back to health.
Empowerment Through Education
As a conscientious consumer, it is imperative to educate yourself on the detrimental effects of blue light on skin. Keep yourself and others informed on the significance of blue light exposure and a digital detox skincare routine.
In conclusion, in an ever-evolving landscape, it is important to remember the impact of blue light on our skin and the ways to navigate it. With a range of clean skincare solutions from brands like BiE, you can embrace the power of technology without compromising the health of your skin. Let your skin breathe, be nurtured, and conquer the age of blue light with confidence. You’re not just following a skincare routine; it’s a digital detox ritual that elevates your skin’s natural beauty in a fast-paced, modern world.
With an illustrious career spanning 5 decades, Dinyar Workingboxwalla stands tall as a revered figure in the world of skincare and dermatology. Dinyar’s expertise and transformative touch have garnered the trust and admiration of an astounding 50,000+ clients worldwide.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/woman-looking-her-rosacea-mirror_39766655.htm#query=Digital%20Detox%20For%20Skin&position=9&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
In the era of technology, the merging of healthcare and technology has given birth to innovative solutions that are reshaping the delivery of healthcare services. One of the most influential advancements is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics in the realm of health e-commerce. This fusion is not only transforming conventional healthcare practices but also revolutionizing the way customers access and receive medical services.
Health e-commerce, a burgeoning sector within the broader e-commerce industry, focuses on offering healthcare-related products and services online. From medication and medical devices to virtual consultations with doctors and wellness products, this sector has experienced significant growth. The integration of AI and Data Analytics has played a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency, precision, and accessibility of these offerings, resulting in a transformative impact on the delivery of healthcare.
1. Personalized Suggestions: AI algorithms possess the capability to analyze vast amounts of patient data, spanning from medical history and preferences to lifestyle choices. By utilizing this data, health e-commerce platforms can provide tailored suggestions for products and services, meeting individual needs. This not only elevates customer satisfaction but also ensures that patients receive customized solutions that cater to their specific requirements.
2. Effective Inventory Management: Appropriate management of healthcare products is crucial to ensuring the availability of essential medications and medical supplies. AI-powered analytics can forecast demand patterns, enabling e-commerce platforms to optimize their inventory management. This, in turn, prevents shortages and minimizes wastage, contributing to a more dependable and consistent healthcare supply chain.
3. Telemedicine Revolution: The integration of AI and Data Analytics has fueled the revolution of telemedicine. Virtual consultations with doctors are now more efficient and accurate through AI-driven diagnostic tools. These tools assess patient symptoms and medical histories, assisting healthcare professionals in making precise diagnoses and treatment recommendations, even from a remote location.
4. Detection of Fraud and Security: Health e-commerce involves handling sensitive personal and medical information. AI-powered security systems can monitor transactions and user activities to identify any irregularities indicating fraud or unauthorized access. This ensures that patient data remains confidential and secure, fostering trust within the digital healthcare ecosystem.
5. Predictive Analytics for Public Health: The combination of AI and Data Analytics can be utilized for proactive management of public health. By analyzing patterns in health-related data, these technologies can predict outbreaks of diseases, identify potential hotspots, and facilitate the allocation of resources for effective disease control and prevention.
6. Understanding Behaviour to Improve Health: Utilizing AI-powered analytics, behavioral insights can be derived from patient behavior data, enabling individuals to make informed choices regarding their health. By monitoring patterns in physical activity, dietary habits, and medication adherence, health e-commerce platforms can provide personalized suggestions to enhance overall well-being.
7. Research Advancement: The extensive datasets generated by health e-commerce platforms can be harnessed for medical research. AI-based analysis of this data can unearth connections, patterns, and potential groundbreaking discoveries that contribute to advancements and innovation in the medical field.
The incorporation of AI and Data Analytics in health e-commerce is undeniably transforming the landscape of healthcare delivery. These technologies, ranging from tailored recommendations and streamlined inventory management to telemedicine advancements and predictive analytics, are elevating customer experiences, optimizing operations, and driving improved health outcomes. Healthmug is using AI systems for faster and economical delivery of healthcare products thereby keeping Ebidta +ive even in this competitive environment.
However, as the industry continues to progress, it is crucial to strike a balance between technological advancements and ethical considerations, ensuring that customer privacy and data security remain of utmost importance. Embracing these transformative changes brings us closer to a healthcare future that is more accessible, efficient, and centered around the needs of the customer.
Anubhav Bansal’s journey began at DTU, where he astounded his peers by constructing an extraordinary 200 km/ltr mileage car from scratch during his second year. Eager to broaden his horizons, Anubhav joined Maruti as a Production Engineer, where he gained valuable insights into operations, contributing to Healthmug's exceptional cost-efficiency today.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/biotechnology-specialist-laboratory-conducting-experiments_44133700.htm#query=AI%20amp%20Data%20Analytics%20in%20Health%20E-commerce&position=3&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
India, like many other countries, is grappling with the escalating problem of diabetes and associated health complications. As awareness grows about the detrimental effects of excessive sugar consumption, the market has witnessed a significant shift towards healthier alternatives. The adoption of sugar replacements marks a transformative trend that could potentially revolutionize India's approach to nutrition.
Diabetes has become a major health concern in India, with millions of people diagnosed with the condition. High sugar consumption, largely driven by cultural preferences and unhealthy eating habits, contributes to the alarming rise in such cases.
Sugar replacers have gained immense popularity in the Indian market due to their ability to address the specific needs of individuals managing diabetes or other health problems. This innovative product provides the sweet taste that people crave, while significantly reducing the glycemic impact. Sugar replacements, often referred to as artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes, have gained traction as a potential solution to India's health crisis. These alternatives mimic the sweet taste of sugar without causing the same spikes in blood sugar levels. They are typically lower in calories and have a lower glycemic index, making them suitable for individuals with diabetes or those seeking to reduce their sugar intake. The success of our sugar replacer can be attributed to the increasing number of health-conscious consumers in India. People are becoming more proactive about managing their health and are actively seeking alternatives that align with their dietary requirements. The replacers cater to this growing demand, offering a guilt-free indulgence for those looking to reduce their sugar intake.
It is important to educate the consumers about the benefits of sugar replacers via extensive awareness campaigns, emphasizing the adverse effects of excessive sugar consumption and the advantages of incorporating sugar replacers into one's diet. By disseminating knowledge and engaging with the public, it is crucial to empower individuals to make informed choices and take control of their health. The availability of Trunativ's sugar replacer has played a pivotal role in shaping dietary preferences in India.
Traditionally, Indian cuisine is known for its generous use of sugar, both in savory and sweet dishes. However, with the introduction of sugar replacers, individuals can enjoy the same flavors and tastes they love, but with reduced sugar content. This shift has opened up new possibilities for individuals managing diabetes, enabling them to continue enjoying their favorite foods without compromising their health. The sugar replacer has sparked a significant transformation in the Indian market. With more people opting for healthier alternatives, the demand for traditional sugar has witnessed a decline. This shift has encouraged other players in the industry to explore and develop their own sugar replacers, further expanding the market and offering consumers a wider range of choices.
Trunativ’s commitment to addressing the diabetes epidemic in India extends beyond providing a sugar replacer. Trunativ's introduction of sugar replacers has brought about a paradigm shift in the Indian market, offering a viable solution to the escalating diabetes problem. Through our innovative products, TruNativ is empowering individuals to make healthier choices without compromising on taste. As more people embrace sugar replacers, the Indian market is witnessing a transformation towards a more health-conscious society, where individuals can savor their favorite flavors while effectively managing their sugar intake. With Trunativ leading the way, the battle against diabetes in India is gaining momentum, paving the path for a healthier and more vibrant nation.
The replacement of sugar is making its mark as a game-changer in the Indian market, especially in the face of widespread diabetes and associated health problems. The shift towards healthier alternatives is indicative of a collective effort to combat the growing health crisis. As sugar replacements become more accessible and refined, they have the potential to significantly impact dietary habits and contribute to the overall well-being of India's population.
Pranav Malhotra graduated with a Harvard University certification in 2017 on Entrepreneurship
Essentials. In 2019, while taking an initiative on Nutraceuticals, he was able to achieve a 700% y-o-y growth to the tune of USD 6 millions in revenue. By 2020, as a milestone his enterprise TruNativ that started on wellness, became the one of the largest importer of Proteins in India, drawing a seed fund from 9 unicorns in 2021 for the consumer
Pic credit: <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/sugar-free-cakes_9367433.htm#query=Sugar%20replacers&position=12&from_view=search&track=ais">Image by master1305</a> on Freepik
In a highly anticipated event, Apple once again redefined the smartphone landscape with the introduction of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. These new models boast a remarkable blend of innovation, design, and performance. Featuring a strong yet lightweight titanium design, customizable features, powerful camera upgrades, and the groundbreaking A17 Pro chip, the iPhone 15 Pro series is set to elevate the mobile experience to new heights.
Furthermore, in a significant stride toward its ambitious environmental goals, Apple also unveiled its first-ever carbon-neutral products, marking a transformative moment in the company's commitment to sustainability. The new Apple Watch lineup, along with a comprehensive strategy outlined as part of the Apple 2030 initiative, showcases the company’s unwavering dedication to reducing its carbon footprint.
Stunning Titanium Design
Apple has taken a bold step by incorporating aerospace-grade titanium into the design of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. This move not only enhances the devices' strength but also makes them the lightest Pro models. The titanium's high strength-to-weight ratio, reminiscent of materials used in spacecraft, ensures durability without compromising on weight. The devices also sport a refined brush texture, contoured edges, and remarkably thin bezels, making them aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to hold. Apple's innovative approach extends to the substructure, which comprises 100 percent recycled aluminum, demonstrating the company's commitment to sustainability.
Revolutionary Camera Upgrades
Apple has always set high standards for smartphone photography, and the iPhone 15 Pro series raises the bar even higher. The devices boast a powerful 48MP main camera system with 24MP as the new default resolution. This leap in resolution ensures unparalleled image quality while keeping file sizes practical for storage and sharing. The addition of a 5x Telephoto camera exclusively on the iPhone 15 Pro Max allows for even more creative photography opportunities. Night mode and Smart HDR have been further improved, promising breathtaking low-light performance and dynamic range.
To complement these remarkable hardware advancements, Apple has introduced the A17 Pro chip, ushering in a new era of performance and mobile gaming. With its processing power and efficiency, users can expect faster and smoother performance, making multitasking a breeze and mobile gaming an exhilarating experience.
Apple's journey toward carbon neutrality began over a decade ago, with the company achieving carbon neutrality for its global corporate operations in 2020. The Apple 2030 initiative sets a goal to reduce overall carbon emissions by 75 percent from 2015 levels. This ambitious plan involves avoiding carbon-generating activities, expanding the use of renewable energy, and designing products with recycled and renewable materials.
The company has discontinued the use of leather in all its product lines, including accessories for iPhones and Apple Watch bands. In its place, Apple has introduced FineWoven, a textile made from 68 percent post-consumer recycled content. This innovative material not only reduces carbon emissions but also offers an elegant and durable alternative for Apple users.
Additionally, the Apple Watch lineup comes in packaging that is entirely fiber-based. This move aligns with Apple's goal of achieving plastic-free packaging for its products by 2025. It reflects a commitment to minimizing waste and reducing the environmental impact of packaging materials.
In the ever-evolving world of retail, Sleepyhead Home Decor Private Limited has embarked on a journey to redefine the way we experience comfort in our homes. At the heart of this transformation lies a bold move into omnichannel retail. The brand recently entered the new phase as it took its initial steps into omnichannel expansion. Sleepyhead initiated its pilot run by establishing a presence in 250 multi-brand outlets across Kerala, marking the inception of an exciting new chapter in its journey. The aim is to achieve Rs 50 cr through the offline channels by FY’24 end. To shed light on this exciting shift, Indian Retailer spoke to Mathew Joseph, Co-Founder, Sleepyhead.
Mathew emphasized, "The expansion into omnichannel retail signifies our commitment to creating a seamless and convenient shopping experience for our valued customers. This strategic move involves seamlessly integrating our Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) roots into the omnichannel framework, a strategy that holds immense promise for emerging brands like ours. While we initially capitalized on the agility of the D2C channel to spur growth, we are now poised for a calculated transition into the omnichannel landscape. This pivotal decision reflects our readiness to embrace innovation, customer-centric values, and our unwavering determination to elevate our customers' everyday interactions into extraordinary experiences."
Factors behind Omnichannel Adoption
Recognizing the preference of many customers for familiar and trusted retail outlets, Sleepyhead strategically positioned itself where the target audience frequently visited. This ensured that the brand remained accessible to its audience, regardless of their shopping preferences.
Mathew explained the transition, "We dedicated significant efforts to refine our product, ensuring it aligned seamlessly with our customers' needs and effectively addressed their requirements. Additionally, our distribution and supply teams diligently established a robust network spanning across India, enabling us to deliver products to customers all around the country. Through our presence on various marketplaces and our website, we've cultivated social credibility, bolstered by customer reviews that provide reassurance to those who are encountering our brand for the first time."
Enhancing the Customer Experience
The brand claims that integrating online and offline channels will elevate Sleepyhead's overall customer experience. This synergy will empower customers to tangibly explore products in-store while capitalizing on the convenience and information-rich environment that is synonymous with online shopping. According to Mathew, this seamless integration will guarantee a consistent brand identity and service quality, paving the way for a smooth transition between the virtual and physical realms.
To facilitate this seamless transition, Sleepyhead is harnessing the power of technology to aid in sales and stock forecasting. "This technological support enables us to optimize our inventory costs and ensures that our production aligns precisely with the current demand. By leveraging tech-driven solutions, we enhance our operational efficiency and minimize inefficiencies in inventory management and production planning," he further elaborated.
Sleepyhead is now exploring and experimenting with various strategies to identify what resonates most with their audience and is dedicated to leveraging their insights and agility to develop strategies that create a seamless and exceptional experience for the customers.
Sleepyhead's marketing strategies have consistently been grounded in prioritizing the customer. In particular, their innovative bed-in-a-box concept and the exclusive 100-night trial offered highlighted the brand’s customer-centric approach. “We introduced the innovative bed-in-a-box concept, delivering a premium mattress conveniently to customers' doorsteps. The introduction of Ranveer Singh as our brand ambassador last year bolstered our presence and growth trajectory, reinforcing our commitment to becoming a nationally recognized brand that brings quality products into every home,” added Mathew.
With omnichannel expansion comes challenges in inventory management, logistics coordination, and maintaining consistent customer experiences. Sleepyhead plans to leverage technology-driven solutions that streamline inventory management, optimize supply chain coordination, and equip the staff with the necessary training to ensure uniform and exceptional customer experiences. “Our robust supply chain and effective inventory management, which were pivotal in our success in the online sphere, will be seamlessly extended to our offline customer experience. We are committed to maintaining the same high standards of product availability and delivery for both online and offline customers,” Mathew concluded.
As the anticipation of the festive season builds, a comprehensive study on urban Indians' spending habits has unveiled some interesting insights. As brands prepare for the upcoming festive season, the Diwali Spending Index reveals a spending propensity of 96.43 among urban Indians.
YouGov’s Diwali Spending Index has been tracking the spending propensity of consumers during the Diwali season. This year’s data reveals a slight increase in the spending propensity from last year (94.45 in 2022), highlighting a somewhat similar enthusiasm among consumers.
The Index was calculated as a weighted impact of 9 factors (like increase in gross household income, increase/decrease in household expenses, intent to invest or splurge, and general optimism towards the economy) on their intent to spend more/less this Diwali season versus last.
Among the 9 factors, the attribute which seems to have the highest weightage on the score is the increased household income. Almost a third of urban Indians (32 percent) agreed with the statement, “My gross household income is higher today than it was a year ago” – an increase from 22 percent who said this last year.
Furthermore, nearly three in ten (27 percent) agreed that they have more savings today than a year ago. Having said that, the number of people who claim their household expenses have gone down since last year has decreased from 20 percent in 2022 to 15 percent in 2023.
Although urban Indians appear to be in a better monetary position, the rising cost of living could have had an impact on their spending behaviour. The data shows that three in ten urban Indians (31 percent) said they are likely to spend more than last year during Diwali in 2023, down from 36 percent who said this in 2022. In contrast to this, a higher number of people said they will spend less during Diwali this year than those who said this last year (26 percent in 2023 vs 21 percent in 2022).
When probed further, a majority of urban Indians (52 percent) claim they have been finding it difficult to meet their monthly expenses in the last three months. An increase in the cost of living due to inflation was stated as the biggest reason for this (as said by 39 percent), followed by an increase in the cost of living due to other reasons (30 percent).
This has affected spending behaviour, with people postponing or cancelling big spends in the next few months (32 percent) or taking steps to reduce or cut spends on non-essential items (31 percent). Some have used savings (17 percent), while others have borrowed money or taken loans to manage the situation.
As the data shows, although there has been an improvement in net perceptions on income and savings versus last year, with urban Indians trying to battle the rising cost of living, they may be forced to cut down their spending on non-essential items during the upcoming festive season, leading to some adverse impact on retailers and brands.
Deepa Bhatia, General Manager, YouGov India, said, “As the data shows, the rising cost of living is likely to have an unfavourable effect on discretionary spending this festive season. With consumers being cautious, brands and marketers will have to emphasize on affordability through offers and value-for-money propositions. An understanding of consumer sentiment will enable them to communicate better and manage the expectations of their target audience.”
At the prestigious Global Fintech Fest 2023 (GFF 2023), T Koshy, the dynamic CEO of Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), took center stage. In a lively discussion alongside Noopur Chaturvedi, CEO, NPCI Bharat BillPay Limited, and Suresh Sethi, MD and CEO, Protean eGov Technologies, Koshy shed light on ONDC's pivotal role in shaping governance and fostering trust within the digital commerce ecosystem. Their insightful dialogue revolved around India's burgeoning digital commerce landscape, exploring the abundant opportunities and formidable challenges it presents for catalyzing economic growth.
On building a trusted national infrastructure and maintaining governance in the absence of a traditional ‘regulator’, T. Koshy emphasized, “ONDC comes in as a network administrator. We facilitate a lot more transparency on how network participants connect with each other. At ONDC, we have put together certain mechanisms that every participant has to adhere to, irrespective of their size. Our legally binding network participant agreement is watertight and has to be signed by each partner registering on our platform. The ‘Network Policies’, which are essentially the rules of participation for all ecosystem players, are continuously evolved collaboratively with representatives of the ecosystem players are an inherent component of the Network Participant Agreement. Finally, the buyers and sellers agree on terms and conditions for the transaction though a digitally signed contract.”
In the midst of this insightful conversation, Sethi delved into the key considerations driving the technology behind ONDC. He emphasized, "In crafting ONDC's technology, we meticulously focused on two crucial facets – the gateway and the robust reconciliation and settlement system. With ONDC's mission to democratize digital commerce, our top priorities have always been privacy, trust by design, and ensuring equitable access."
Bringing the discussion to a captivating close, Koshy unveiled his visionary perspective for ONDC, passionately asserting that every catalogued product or service should find its rightful place within the expansive ONDC Network.
GFF 2023, the largest thought leadership platform in the world, is supported by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) and is organized by the Payments Council of India (PCI), Fintech Convergence Council (FCC), and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The event was inaugurated by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance, Government of India.
Among the leading international agencies that partnered with GFF 2023 were the World Bank, the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), and Women’s World Banking. Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany and Israel are the Country Partners of GFF 2023.
Retail has long been an important industry, providing jobs to millions of people around the world. The retail industry is constantly evolving, and retailers are always seeking ways to stay ahead of the game. In recent months, retailers have increasingly turned to automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to help them navigate the challenges they face. By automating processes such as order handling, logistics, and market insights, retailers are able to improve efficiency, gain valuable customer insights, and increase brand awareness, all while keeping costs under control. These technologies are helping retailers stay competitive in a rapidly changing market, enabling them to better understand customer demographics and offer a more personalized shopping experience. By leveraging the power of automation and AI, retailers can better adapt to the changing needs of their customers and stay ahead of the competition. These technologies are making certain tasks more efficient, freeing up time for workers to focus on other responsibilities.
One of the most significant impacts of automation and AI in retail is on inventory management. Retailers are using AI-powered systems to optimize their inventory, reduce waste, and minimize stockouts. AI can analyze sales data, customer demand patterns, and even weather forecasts to predict future demand and adjust inventory levels accordingly. Automated systems can also reorder products and send alerts when stock levels run low, freeing up staff to focus on other tasks.
Another area where automation and AI are making a big impact in retail is customer service. Chatbots, for example, can help customers quickly navigate stores and receive personalized product recommendations. These recommendations can make the checkout process faster and more efficient, demonstrating to customers that retailers value their time and are committed to providing a positive experience. Additionally, AI can analyze customer data to personalize the shopping experience, offering personalized recommendations and promotions.AI has the potential to transform the retail industry and create a more efficient and enjoyable experience for customers while also increasing profits for retailers. As a result, AI offers retailers an opportunity to remain competitive in an ever-changing economy.
Point of Sale
Automation is also transforming the point of sale (POS) experience. Retailers are using self-checkout kiosks and mobile payment systems to speed up transactions and reduce lines. AI-powered POS systems can also analyze purchase data to offer personalized promotions and incentives to customers. This helps retailers improve the customer experience and increase sales, while also reducing the workload of checkout staff.
Supply Chain Optimization
AI and automation are also transforming the supply chain, enabling retailers to manage their logistics more efficiently. Artificial intelligence technology can review consumers' previous purchase patterns and provide an alert when the stock of best-selling products may reach a critically low level. Maintaining a well-stocked inventory is of utmost importance to retailers. AI can also provide insights into the temporal patterns of consumer demand, including identifying seasonal item trends and estimating when these items will be in the highest demand.
Training and Development
Finally, automation and AI are also changing the way retailers train and develop their employees. Retailers can use AI-powered tools to assess employee performance, identify areas where training is needed, and develop personalized training plans. This helps employees improve their skills and knowledge, leading to better job performance and increased job satisfaction.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the retail industry by enabling businesses to make informed decisions related to staffing and replenishment. AI is helping to optimize labor and replenishment costs, while also eliminating out-of-stock situations and maximizing sales. As a result, AI is shifting the retail job landscape and making businesses more efficient. It’s important for retailers to consider the potential impact of these technologies on their workforce and to take steps to ensure that their workers are equipped with the skills and training needed to succeed in a rapidly changing industry. With the evolution of technology, retail organizations are proactively exploring how AI is transforming the industry.
Author: Raghunandan Saraf, Founder and CEO, Saraf Furniture
The realm of luxury e-commerce stands as a testament to the symbiotic relationship between opulence and technology. In an era where online shopping has transcended conventional boundaries, the luxury e-commerce industry has emerged as a beacon of innovation, steadfastly maintaining its customer base through an array of forward-looking trends that resonate deeply with the discerning tastes of its clientele.
Immersive Virtual Shopping Experiences
In the pioneer of this evolution are immersive virtual shopping experiences, redefining the paradigm of online shopping. No longer confined to two-dimensional images, customers are now invited to partake in three-dimensional explorations, observing products from every conceivable angle.
This technological marvel allows customers to discern intricate details, virtually try on products, and even envisage how items seamlessly integrate into their lifestyles. This immersive approach bridges the gap between the tactile feel of in-store shopping and the convenience of online transactions, thereby setting a standard of customer engagement that befits the luxury experience.
Where Luxury Meets Exclusivity
At the heart of luxury lies exclusivity, and this is precisely where the prowess of personalization comes to the fore. Through sophisticated algorithms and meticulous data analysis, luxury e-commerce platforms have harnessed the power of personalization to curate bespoke product recommendations, offer tailored content, and extend personalized styling advice.
This individualized approach not only augments customer engagement but also forges an emotional connection between brands and their clientele. By intuitively understanding customer preferences and behavior, luxury brands are able to deliver experiences that resonate profoundly and etch themselves into the hearts of their customers.
Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing
In a global landscape that increasingly values sustainability and ethical sourcing, the luxury e-commerce industry has taken up the mantle of responsibility. Luxury consumers, often driven by a sense of social consciousness, gravitate towards brands that champion sustainability and ethical practices.
In response, luxury e-commerce platforms prominently feature products crafted through eco-friendly processes and ethically sourced materials. This dual commitment not only contributes to the greater good but also resonates harmoniously with the values of luxury consumers, thereby fostering a sense of alignment that transcends transactions and establishes a profound connection.
Seamless Cross-Channel Shopping
The modern luxury consumer is characterized by fluidity in their shopping journey, seamlessly transitioning between online and offline touchpoints. Acknowledging this dynamic behavior, luxury e-commerce brands are pioneering multichannel strategies that ensure a harmonized shopping experience across various platforms.
Whether browsing on a mobile device, making a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store, or indulging in a virtual spree from a laptop, customers can expect consistent interactions and a unified brand experience. This seamless navigation between channels reflects not only technological prowess but also a deep understanding of customer behavior.
Fusion of Rarity and Urgency
A fundamental principle of luxury is scarcity, and luxury e-commerce platforms are leveraging this psychology to great effect through the presentation of limited-edition products. By conferring an air of exclusivity and urgency, brands encourage customers to secure unique pieces before they vanish from the virtual shelves.
This dynamic not only ignites excitement among consumers but also translates into swift sales, underscoring the potency of this trend in nurturing a loyal customer base. The allure of owning something rare and extraordinary remains a driving force in the luxury e-commerce landscape.
Influential Collaborations and User-Generated Content
The realm of luxury e-commerce has deftly embraced the power of social media influencers and user-generated content, transforming them into integral facets of marketing strategies. Collaborations with influencers whose ethos align with a brand's essence extend its reach to diverse and engaged audiences.
The integration of user-generated content nurtures a sense of community and authenticity, organically converting customers into brand advocates. This trend isn't merely about leveraging external voices but also about co-creating narratives that resonate deeply with the luxury consumer's discerning sensibilities.
In the evolving tapestry of luxury e-commerce, these trends represent not just innovations but also commitments to a superior customer experience. The industry's route is poised to maintain a steadfast customer base through the seamless integration of opulence and technology. By embracing the nuances of immersive virtual shopping, personalization, sustainability, multichannel strategies, limited editions, and influencer collaborations, luxury e-commerce brands are not merely keeping pace but charting a course toward sustained growth and enduring customer loyalty.
Author: Ankit Gupta, Director & CEO, ExportersIndia.com
Brands in the D2C space continuously pursue evolving their business strategies. This is reflected in every stage of the process, from ideation to manufacturing to procurement and selling. It starts with a thorough understanding of what the target audience prefers, which ultimately reflects in their final purchases of the products and services they wish to avail.
Consumer behaviour and buyer preferences in the context of D2C brands
In the context of D2C brands, consumer behaviour is precisely everything that goes on in a brand’s mind. Understanding consumer preferences is crucial for D2C brands to market their products and services to their target groups effectively. This also helps brands improve their products to fit buyer preferences better. Advancements in technology and the introduction of new tools, such as e-commerce, and more, have helped better understand consumer behavioral patterns.
Over the years, consumers have shifted to online shopping in great numbers. This has spurred the demand for e-commerce facilities from brands. Thanks to the ease of accessibility of e-commerce, consumers can purchase from many device options, be it from websites or apps downloaded onto their smartphones. These different platforms offer D2C brands unique opportunities to tailor their services to customers via online purchasing patterns.
Today’s customers look for a great sense of personalization in their purchases. Personalization plays a huge role in retaining customers. Brand loyalty is shot up as a very direct result of this. Moreover, the likelihood of repeat purchases is increased. Here, D2C brands benefit from collecting data from customer demographics to understand how different age groups think, the problem statements to be addressed across regions, and so on.
Brands that start with little to no recognition are the ones that benefit the most from studying their consumers' behaviour and preferences thoroughly. New consumer groups are usually hesitant to opt for brands that they are unfamiliar with. D2C brands can solve this problem by showcasing themselves as people who have put in the time & effort to get to know their customers. This will build a high level of credibility in consumers, eventually leading to the action of trusting them to be the one they wish to purchase from.
Given the nature of D2C brands, they have the privilege of being able to interact directly with their customers. One of the most prominent ways of doing so is via social media. In this digital age, customers look for quick resolutions to any problems or grievances they may face, no matter how small they seem. Because at the end of the day, they feel entitled to have a hassle-free experience with the products and services they spend their hard-earned money on, and rightfully so. Improving customer support is an almost fail-proof way to build customer trust, loyalty, and advocacy. It also provides excellent opportunities to collect valuable feedback from customers that can be used to understand their behaviour and preferences better.
Something that is a point of consideration for new and existing customers alike is the price point. Everyone wants products and services that give them the best value for their money. D2C brands can offer competitive pricing for customers to entice them into buying what they make. This will also increase their advocacy to other customer groups.
Looking ahead: The future of customer behaviours and buying preferences
D2C brands are faced with the challenge of predicting the future of customer behaviours and buying preferences. This means analyzing the many trends and developments likely to influence customers and how they purchase products and services from brands.
Technological developments will continue to provide convenience to customers for discovering and supporting many brands. These would make purchasing a lot easier for people by allowing easier accessibility at their fingertips. Tools such as Artificial Intelligence can help create customer experiences that are more streamlined, responsive, and even personalized. It facilitates many aspects of customer relations that make consumers' experiences all the more rewarding.
Data privacy is another aspect that continues to grow in importance. Customers must never feel a compromise in their data safety and security regarding the information they choose to share with brands.
Among all the different things that could play out in the future. D2C brands must ensure that one thing is a constant - putting customers first. This mentality can make the difference between D2C brands that barely survive and D2C brands that thrive.
About the Author
Kapil Gupta, Founder, RUHE
A first-generation entrepreneur Gupta's unwavering ambition fueled the rise of India’s biggest kitchen and bathroom fittings brand.
With an impressive catalogue of over 1,900 products, Ruhe stands atop the podium as one of the largest brands in the industry. Ever since its genesis in 2020, the company has been on a monumental growth trajectory that never subsided, even in the face of global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. From the beginning, the company has manufactured and sold its SKUs to its consumers directly. This helped the brand carve a unique identity in being one that was truly digital, truly D2C, and indeed one that changed how consumers would purchase this category of products.
The company was founded to instill innovation and creativity in the solutions delivered to consumers. The prerequisite step to ensure this was to manufacture every product indigenously. Following this, the next step was to have these products sold directly to consumers via their online store and other platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Moglix.
Packaged food has changed a lot over the years and the ready-to-eat market in India has also witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years. This growth has been driven by urbanization, changing lifestyles, and growing demand for convenient and time-saving food options. What is important to note here is that ready-to-eat food today while being convenient focuses on nutrition as well. The new age options are available in home-cooked meals, healthy meals, and comfort food thatches with real chunks of meat or vegetables. The idea has been to move away from the guilt surrounding serving ready-to-eat food. With options that are clean, convenient, and as good as home-cooked meals, the ready-to-eat market over the next decade will witness further transformations. These changes will not only cater to evolving consumer preferences but also leverage technological advancements and sustainability considerations.
Here we outline ways in which the ready-to-eat market in India is poised to evolve over the next decade.
Consumers are increasingly focusing on health and wellness, which is also driving a shift in the ready-to-eat landscape. This change will continue over the next decade as well. Consumers are more aware now while buying ready-to-eat. Therefore, healthier options with low-sodium, low-sugar, organic, and gluten-free choices will witness a surge in demand. According to a study by Mintel, over 70 percent of Indian consumers are willing to pay extra for healthier ready-to-eat options by 2025. Ready-to-eat will focus on balanced nutrition, clean labels, and natural ingredients. Beyond just being nutritious, ready-to-eat products could evolve to incorporate functional ingredients that offer specific health benefits. This might include products enriched with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and other bioactive compounds to address various health and wellness goals.
The ready-to-eat market is waking up to realize the potential of Indian recipes and Indian superfoods for packaged food. This trend is taking the market by storm and will witness growth in the coming decade. Packaged foods will witness the incorporation of more Indian superfoods and traditional ingredients that have gained recognition for their health benefits. Recipes such as khichdi, poha, dals, Upma, etc. are now available as ready-to-eat options. Superfoods like moringa, amaranth, turmeric, ashwagandha, etc. are now actively added to many packaged options. Ready-to-eat products will continue leveraging these ingredients to offer distinct flavors, nutritional advantages, and that nostalgic note to food. Besides this, the incorporation of locally sourced ingredients to support regional farmers and sustainability will also create a unique selling proposition and resonate with consumers who prioritize sustainability and ethical sourcing.
Environmental concerns and awareness have brought about a change in the packaging as well. Both the brands and the consumers will opt for options for packaging that minimizes waste and reduces the carbon footprint. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that the adoption of circular economy principles could lead to a $624 billion opportunity in India by 2030. Advances in packaging technology over the next decade and the rise of e-commerce and Q-commerce will focus on sustainable and clear packaging. Improved packaging materials will enhance shelf life and ensure convenience without compromising quality. Besides this, clear communication about ingredients, etc. will continue increasing awareness about clean products and healthy eating.
AI has changed the F&B industry as well. Owing to these technological advancements, the next decade will witness hyper-personalization and customization in ready-to-eat options. This could very well include personalised options as well leading to reduced food wastage. With advancements in technology, brands, and consumers will have the option of tailoring their meals based on allergies, portions, dietary preferences, and taste preferences. A lot of this customization and innovation will be tech-driven. Advancements in technology along with the integration of AI in personalized meal recommendations, will become commonplace. The Indian ready-to-eat market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17.2 percent from 2021 to 2026, as per Mordor Intelligence.
Plant-based Diet is witnessing growth globally. This trend will gain prominence in India as well over the next decade. As per the Good Food Institute, the adoption of plant-based diets is projected to rise by 15 percent by 2030. Besides this, the ready-to-eat meals will also offer ethnically diverse options owing to India's rich culinary heritage. With growing sustainability concerns there will be a significant increase in plant-based and environmentally-friendly ready-to-eat products. This could lead to increased local/ethnic recipes and ready-to-eat meals made from plant-based proteins. The sector will also witness the implementation of blockchain technology to track the journey of ingredients from farm to table. Besides this AI-Generated recipes based on advanced data analytics could also help in creating entirely new recipes that push the boundaries of flavor combinations and textures. This unique amalgamation of traditional recipes and new flavor combinations will continue to push the envelope where ready-to-eat meals are concerned.
The ready-to-eat market in India will witness dynamic changes over the next decade, driven by health consciousness, sustainability priorities, technological advancements, and evolving consumer behaviors. The convergence of these factors will not only reshape the way food is prepared, packaged, and delivered but also redefine the very concept of convenience in the culinary landscape.
About the Author
Ishit Pilani, Co-Founder, Organic Roots
The HORECA (Hotel, Restaurant, and Catering) sector in India is witnessing a transformative shift with the rise of food ordering apps and doorstep delivery services. In this dynamic landscape, the efficient last-mile delivery of temperature-sensitive products has become even more crucial. The demand for fresh and quality produce, coupled with the convenience of ordering from the comfort of home, has redefined the need for a seamless and temperature-controlled supply chain. The need for technological advancements, integration, and efficiency building is more significant than ever, especially last-mile deliveries sector.
Impact of Food Ordering Apps and Doorstep Delivery Services
The proliferation of food ordering apps and doorstep delivery services, which have grown popular post COVID and also now in the monsoons, has revolutionized how consumers interact with the HORECA sector. These platforms have democratized access to a diverse range of cuisines and products, empowering consumers with the convenience of ordering from their favorite restaurants and suppliers at the touch of a button.
Urgency for Technological Advancement
With consumers increasingly seeking fresh and quality produce, the demand for efficient last-mile delivery has intensified. However, traditional delivery methods often struggle to meet these expectations, leading to challenges such as food spoilage, wastage, and compromised quality. Challenges like limited access to reefer vehicles for smaller volumes, and maintaining the optimal temperature throughout the supply chain, continue to plague the last-mile delivery. Inconsistent or inadequate temperature control during transportation poses a significant risk of spoilage and compromised quality, leading to increased food wastage and financial losses. Additionally, the fragmented nature of the last-mile delivery network, especially in remote areas, hinders seamless monitoring and real-time tracking of shipments. These challenges make it difficult to meet the growing demand for efficient and reliable delivery of perishable goods. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensuring food safety, reducing wastage, and promoting sustainable practices in the HORECA sector.
From perishable ingredients to freshly cooked meals, maintaining the right temperature throughout the delivery process is essential to preserve taste, quality, and safety. This growing demand necessitates a reimagining of last-mile deliveries, prompting stakeholders to explore innovative solutions that integrate technology, temperature control, and efficiency. India currently faces substantial food wastage annually, highlighting the critical need for technological innovations and efficient supply chain solutions.
Customized Solutions for Small Volumes
In the light of the above mentioned challenges, it is vital to create customized solutions catering to last mile deliveries for smaller volumes. And the key to unlocking the potential of temperature-sensitive transport solutions lies in seamless integration and efficiency-building measures. Advanced technology, such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and real-time tracking systems, play a pivotal role in providing valuable data on temperature, humidity, and location. Such data-driven insights enable stakeholders to monitor the entire supply chain, swiftly identify potential issues, and take proactive corrective actions to ensure the quality and safety of food products.
Moreover, integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms with transport systems can optimize delivery routes, reducing transit times and minimizing the risk of food spoilage. These efficiency-enhancing measures not only guarantee that food products arrive in pristine condition but also contribute to cost reduction, benefiting both suppliers and the HORECA sector.
Creating a Robust and Sustainable Ecosystem
To support the widespread adoption of temperature-sensitive transport solutions in the HORECA sector, investments in temperature-controlled warehouses and distribution centers are indispensable. Establishing a network of such facilities across India would bolster the cold-chain infrastructure, reduce food wastage, and enhance food security in the long run.
Collaboration between government bodies, private enterprises, and technology providers is critical to building a robust and sustainable ecosystem for perishable goods transportation. Incentives and policy support can encourage stakeholders to invest in cutting-edge technology and foster innovations that optimize last-mile deliveries for the HORECA sector.
Empowering the HORECA Industry
Temperature-sensitive transport solutions tailored for smaller volumes can empower the HORECA industry in India. By streamlining deliveries, these solutions bridge the gap between suppliers and businesses, resulting in fresher and higher-quality produce for hotels, restaurants, and catering services. This, in turn, enhances the overall dining experience, fosters customer loyalty, and boosts the industry's growth.
The evolution of last-mile deliveries for the HORECA sector is paramount to ensure food security for all, particularly in a country as diverse and dynamic as India. Embracing temperature-sensitive transport solutions customized for handling smaller volumes can revolutionize the supply chain, addressing food wastage challenges and meeting consumer demands for fresh and high-quality products.
Author: Swarup Bose, Founder and CEO, Celcius Logistics
Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, announced the expansion of its manufacturing unit in India to encompass a broader range of the company’s personal health product categories. The company has expanded production at its co-manufacturing site in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, which will now produce mother and childcare products, in addition to the beauty and grooming products already being made at the site. Philips also announced the launch of the Philips Beard Trimmer Series 1000 and Philips Hair Straightening Brush, both tailored to the needs of Indian consumers and manufactured locally.
Philips’ India manufacturing footprint extends across multiple sites, encompassing in-house facilities and collaborative co-manufacturing partnerships. It includes integrated infrastructure tailored to meet advanced technology demands and facilitate semi-automated assembly lines. The company’s capabilities serve both local and regional demand.
With a commitment to cater to the evolving needs of consumers by providing tailored solutions, Philips is manufacturing a range of hair care essentials including hairdryers, hair straighteners, and hairbrushes in the beauty category. Moreover, the company is also manufacturing Beard Trimmer 1000 Series designed to meet the specific needs of male consumers. Upholding its dedication to providing safety and hygiene, Philips is also producing sterilizers for the mother and childcare segment.
Deeptha Khanna, EVP and Chief Business Leader, Personal Health, Royal Philips elaborated on the expansion saying, "India holds a strategic significance for our Personal Health businesses, and we remain committed to the further development of the market in our effort to support the health and well-being of the millions of people we serve. Our multi-site development and production approach, combining in-house expertise with strategic co-manufacturing partnerships, enables us to support the market's unique needs and to offer the best personal care and mother and childcare solutions.”
Deepali Agarwal, Head, Personal Health, Philips Indian Subcontinent provided the insight into Philips’ focus on the needs of Indian consumers, "While our initial journey included co-manufacturing basic hair styling devices, we have since broadened our horizons. For example, we’ve recently introduced the Philips Beard Trimmer Series 1000 and Philips Hair Straightening Brush, tailored to the needs of Indian consumers – and both are produced here in India. We’ve also continued to expand with the launch of two Mother and Child Care products: the Grow Bottle and sterilizer – furthering our commitment to uniquely supporting the Indian market.”
Philips’ Personal Health manufacturing presence in India includes sites in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, and a co-manufacturing facility in Silvassa Union Territory.
At Reliance’s 46th Annual General Meeting today, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and MD, Reliance Industries announced that Reliance Retail consolidated its position as the largest retailer in India. “Reliance Retail's valuation has increased from Rs 4.28 lakh crore in 2020 to Rs 8.28 lakh crore today,” he said. The company posted a revenue of ₹2,60,364 cr in FY23. “We delivered an EBITDA of ₹17,928 cr and a net profit of ₹9,181 cr. Reliance Retail is only Indian retailer in the global Top 100, and one of fastest growing retailers in world,” said Mukesh Ambani.
The FY 22-23 witnessed Reliance Retail cross a whopping 1 billion transactions mark with the retail business expanding its store network with over 3,300 new stores that were added during the financial year – taking the store tally to 18,040 stores pan-India! “Our stores now cover 65.6 million sq ft of store area, which is a more than 50% growth of retail space as compared to the previous year. Footfalls increased by 50% from last year to 780 million. The registered customer base also grew to 249 million, establishing Reliance Retail as the preferred shopping venue of Indian citizen across formats,” the annual report stated.
During the year, Reliance Retail also entered into the beauty segment by launching the “Tira” digital platform and opening its flagship store in Mumbai. The business also expanded its product basket through acquisitions and partnerships at both local and global levels such as Metro, Campa Cola, GAP, Pret A Manger, Lotus, Sosyo, Maliban and Toffeeman, to name a few.
Reliance Retails runs an integrated network of physical stores, digital commerce and new commerce initiatives. Through digital brands like Ajio and Netmeds, digital commerce has scaled up at a rapid pace and is contributing to the strong growth of retail segment. The launch of JioMart on WhatsApp, a novel initiative combines online shopping experience with the simplicity of instant chat services. “The launch of JioMart on WhatsApp has been a phenomenal success with 9X growth of JioMart customers on WhatsApp since launch in 2022,” said Isha Ambani.
She added that FY23 had been a landmark year for the Retail Business. The company's digital commerce and new commerce businesses contributed nearly Rs 50,000 crore, accounting for about a fifth of our revenues. “We have invested over $10 billion in the past two years, focusing on building integration, growing in-house brands, and improving supply chain networks," Isha said.
Growth in new commerce business has been fast paced with rapid expansion of its merchant partner network. “New commerce business grew phenomenally on back of our omnichannel capabilities,” added Isha. Currently, more than 3 million merchants have partnered with the new commerce platforms. Retail segments EBITDA stood at Rs 17,974 crore which reflected a strong 44.7% increase from the previous year. “The EBITDA growth was well supported by all verticals right from grocery to fashion and lifestyle. Reliance Retail was an indispensable part of the Indian household’s shopping experience not only in metro regions but also in Tier II and Tier III cities,” she explained.
Reliance Retail’s ‘Panch Pran’ (Five Imperatives) ensures that they meet the needs of customers through a range of options, exceptional value, superior quality, and unparalleled shopping and delivery experiences. Their pillars – transforming customer experience provides customers with the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their homes, ensuring a seamless and enriched journey. Their unparalleled brand portfolio, from affordable to luxury, across categories, caters to a vast and growing customer landscape of an aspirational India.
By leveraging technology, Reliance Retail has revolutionized logistics, ensuring swift and efficient product delivery for the ultimate benefit of customers and the economy. With a focus on rural India for expansion, the company is empowering small merchants and ensuring equal access to choices for customers in underserved areas by integrating and widening distribution. Additionally, the expansion of their product portfolio through collaborations with brands, small producers, and MSMEs, has empowered them to deliver quality products and enhance global competitiveness.
Reliance Retail caters to more than 90 per cent daily needs of Indian households. “In our grocery business, we sold over 18 lakh metric tonnes of groceries during the year. In our consumer electronics business, we sold nearly 5 lakh laptops and over 23 lakh appliances during the year. In our Fashion & Lifestyle business, we sold a record-breaking 50 crore garments in the year,” Isha Ambani said.
As the world of healthcare evolves, a transformative movement is gaining momentum, poised to revolutionize preventive care and personalized wellness. The future of retail health holds the potential to empower individuals to take control of their health and achieve remission from chronic diseases. By blending modern science with traditional wisdom, this visionary approach aims to usher in a new era of healthcare experience that is both transformative and empowering.
The growing need for preventive health
The prevalence of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, has reached alarming proportions, affecting millions of lives globally. The burden on healthcare systems has become increasingly unsustainable. Recognizing the urgency to address this crisis, the future of retail health places prevention at the forefront of its mission. By shifting the focus from reactive treatments to proactive measures, this movement aims to empower individuals to lead healthier lives by preventing diseases before they occur.
Empowering individuals through personalized wellness
At the core of the future of retail health lies a dedication to personalized wellness. Recognizing that each individual's health needs are unique, this visionary approach tailors healthcare solutions to meet specific needs. By embracing personalized wellness, individuals receive targeted interventions and recommendations that address their unique health concerns, enabling them to make informed decisions about their well-being. This personalized approach empowers individuals to take an active role in managing their health and achieving remission from chronic diseases.
Blending traditional wisdom with modern science
A fundamental aspect of the success of the future of retail health is the harmonious blending of traditional wisdom with modern science. Ancient practices like Ayurveda, which emphasizes personalized lifestyle and dietary choices based on individual constitution (dosha), are combined with cutting-edge medical research and advancements. The synthesis of these two approaches creates a powerful toolkit for health optimization, enabling individuals to benefit from the best of both worlds.
The role of technology as a catalyst for transformation
In this fast-changing world, technology plays a crucial role in transforming healthcare experiences. The future of retail health harnesses the potential of telehealth, mobile applications, and data analytics to bridge the gap between individuals and healthcare providers. Through user-friendly platforms, individuals can access personalized health plans, schedule virtual consultations, and track their progress in real time. Technology not only enhances convenience but also fosters a deeper level of engagement in one's health journey.
The holistic health approach
Beyond merely treating physical ailments, the future of retail health recognizes the intrinsic connection between mind, body, and spirit. The movement advocates for a holistic health approach that encompasses mental, emotional, and social well-being. Stress management techniques, mindfulness practices, and holistic therapies are integrated into the healthcare experience, promoting resilience and nurturing a balanced lifestyle. By addressing the whole person rather than isolated symptoms, this holistic approach paves the way for achieving remission from chronic diseases.
A paradigm shift in the healthcare experience
The future of retail health heralds a paradigm shift in the way individuals experience healthcare. No longer passive recipients of medical care, individuals become active participants and advocates for their own well-being. Empowered with personalized wellness plans and seamless access to healthcare professionals, individuals are better equipped to make informed decisions about their health. This shift in the healthcare experience fosters a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility for one's well-being, encouraging individuals to take the necessary steps to achieve remission from chronic diseases.
The societal impact
The impact of the future of retail health extends far beyond individual health outcomes. Emphasizing preventive care and personalized wellness has the potential to alleviate the burden on healthcare systems. By reducing the incidence of chronic diseases, healthcare costs are mitigated, freeing up resources to be channeled into other essential areas of healthcare. A healthier society translates into increased productivity, improved economic stability, and enhanced overall quality of life. Additionally, empowering individuals to achieve remission from chronic diseases not only improves their lives but also positively impacts their families and communities.
The road ahead
The future of retail health and the new healthcare experience embodies a transformative vision that empowers individuals to take charge of their health and achieve remission from chronic diseases. By merging traditional wisdom with modern science and leveraging technology, this visionary movement paves the way for a brighter and healthier future. With a strong emphasis on preventive care, personalized wellness, and holistic health, the future of retail health promises to revolutionize healthcare experiences and empower individuals to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. As this innovative approach gains momentum, it has the potential to reshape the future of healthcare, transforming it into a proactive, empowering, and personalized journey toward remission and optimal well-being.
About The Author
Abhishek Gaggneja, CEO and Founder,Goodveda Health Labs Private Limited
Retail has long been an important industry, providing jobs to millions of people around the world. The retail industry is constantly evolving, and retailers are always seeking ways to stay ahead of the game. In recent months, retailers have increasingly turned to automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to help them navigate the challenges they face. By automating processes such as order handling, logistics, and market insights, retailers are able to improve efficiency, gain valuable customer insights, and increase brand awareness, all while keeping costs under control. These technologies are helping retailers stay competitive in a rapidly changing market, enabling them to better understand customer demographics and offer a more personalized shopping experience. By leveraging the power of automation and AI, retailers can better adapt to the changing needs of their customers and stay ahead of the competition. These technologies are making certain tasks more efficient, freeing up time for workers to focus on other responsibilities.
One of the most significant impacts of automation and AI in retail is on inventory management. Retailers are using AI-powered systems to optimize their inventory, reduce waste, and minimize stockouts. AI can analyze sales data, customer demand patterns, and even weather forecasts to predict future demand and adjust inventory levels accordingly. Automated systems can also reorder products and send alerts when stock levels run low, freeing up staff to focus on other tasks.
Another area where automation and AI are making a big impact in retail is customer service. Chatbots, for example, can help customers quickly navigate stores and receive personalized product recommendations. These recommendations can make the checkout process faster and more efficient, demonstrating to customers that retailers value their time and are committed to providing a positive experience. Additionally, AI can analyze customer data to personalize the shopping experience, offering personalized recommendations and promotions. AI has the potential to transform the retail industry and create a more efficient and enjoyable experience for customers while also increasing profits for retailers. As a result, AI offers retailers an opportunity to remain competitive in an ever-changing economy.
Point of Sale (POS)
Automation is also transforming the point of sale (POS) experience. Retailers are using self-checkout kiosks and mobile payment systems to speed up transactions and reduce lines. AI-powered POS systems can also analyze purchase data to offer personalized promotions and incentives to customers. This helps retailers improve the customer experience and increase sales, while also reducing the workload of checkout staff.
Supply Chain Optimization
AI and automation are also transforming the supply chain, enabling retailers to manage their logistics more efficiently. Artificial intelligence technology can review consumers' previous purchase patterns and provide an alert when the stock of best-selling products may reach a critically low level. Maintaining a well-stocked inventory is of utmost importance to retailers. AI can also provide insights into the temporal patterns of consumer demand, including identifying seasonal item trends and estimating when these items will be in the highest demand.
Training and Development
Finally, automation and AI are also changing the way retailers train and develop their employees. Retailers can use AI-powered tools to assess employee performance, identify areas where training is needed, and develop personalized training plans. This helps employees improve their skills and knowledge, leading to better job performance and increased job satisfaction.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the retail industry by enabling businesses to make informed decisions related to staffing and replenishment. AI is helping to optimize labor and replenishment costs, while also eliminating out-of-stock situations and maximizing sales. As a result, AI is shifting the retail job landscape and making businesses more efficient. It's important for retailers to consider the potential impact of these technologies on their workforce and to take steps to ensure that their workers are equipped with the skills and training needed to succeed in a rapidly changing industry. With the evolution of technology, retail organizations are proactively exploring how AI is transforming the industry.
As the festive fervor of Rakshabandhan 2023 sweeps across the nation, it's not just the joyous celebrations that are in full swing; it's also the retail and direct-to-consumer (D2C) industry that's gearing up for one of its most lucrative seasons. With a market size that consistently grows year after year, this occasion presents an unparalleled opportunity for brands to shine and for siblings to exchange tokens of love and affection.
The retail industry has always experienced an upsurge during festive seasons, and Rakshabandhan is no exception. The market size for Rakshabandhan-related gifting has witnessed a remarkable expansion, with brands strategically crafting their offerings to cater to the diverse preferences of siblings.
In recent years, the D2C industry has also witnessed exponential growth. With the convenience of online shopping and the ability to reach consumers directly, D2C brands have gained a strong foothold in the market. The Rakshabandhan season serves as a golden opportunity for these brands to showcase their unique products and connect with consumers looking for distinctive and meaningful gifts. This not only adds to the charm of gifting but also supports local and independent businesses.
As the festive season approaches, brands are all set to tap into this lucrative occasion by offering exclusive deals, discounts, and innovative product ranges. This year, the trend leans towards last-minute gifting ideas, catering to the busy lives that many siblings lead. From statement accessories that adorn their loved ones to luxurious grooming essentials that pamper and delight, the options are abundant. Home decor that enriches living spaces, skincare and cosmetics that nurture and enhance, the choices are curated to ensure thoughtful gestures that celebrate the bond shared by siblings.
We've curated a list of exquisite last-minute gifting ideas that cater to different preferences and tastes, ensuring that this Rakhi is memorable and special for your beloved brother or sister.
I. Statement Accessories: Elevate Their Style
Mia by Tanishq brings a fantastic opportunity with their Buy More, Save More offer, providing up to a 20 percent discount on studded products at their nearest stores. Explore their stunning collection of contemporary jewellery that's bound to dazzle your sibling.
Evil Eye Necklace
Gift an artful Evil Eye Necklace that goes beyond being just an ornament. It symbolizes safeguarding your sister's radiance even in your absence. With its protective aura, this necklace embodies the belief in good luck and serves as a thoughtful gesture.
Blooming Bud-Inspired Earrings
For a heartfelt gesture that speaks volumes, consider gifting blooming bud-inspired earrings. Intricately designed and dazzling, these earrings encapsulate your wishes for your sister's journey of growth and prosperity.
Elevate your gift with a Diamond Bracelet that serves as an enduring emblem of your presence in your sister's life journey. This piece adapts seamlessly to her style, whether it's minimalistic elegance or extravagant statements.
Show your sisters how special they are with handcrafted pieces from Tribe Amrapali. Delicate and vibrant elements within gold-plated contemporary statement jewelry elevate your sister's collection and bring a smile to her face.
This high fashion designer jewelry brand combines meticulous craftsmanship with environmental responsibility, making it an ideal choice for Rakhi gifting. As you celebrate love and cherished bonds, Aulerth encapsulates the essence of this occasion.
For a symbol of unbreakable sibling bonds, consider the Itara Unisex Chakra Bracelet. Crafted in 14KT solid gold, these lab-grown jewelry pieces harmonize wellness and style, making them versatile companions for any outfit or occasion.
II. Décor and Living: Enrich Their Spaces
Tara Candles, an industry leader in candle production, offers an elegant yet luxurious gift option. These scented candles not only illuminate spaces but also infuse them with soothing fragrances. Their proven track record, including providing candles for prestigious events, makes them a delightful choice.
Enrich your sibling's daily life and surroundings with beautifully crafted utensils and artistic accents from ellementry. Enhance their living spaces and strengthen your bond by giving them something truly special and unique.
Illuminate the spirit of Rakhi with Rosha's exquisite lamp collection that blends traditional and modern aesthetics. Each lamp is meticulously designed to evoke warmth and joy, making them a perfect symbol of love and togetherness.
Mirooh's vibrant cushion collection is more than just decor – it's a tapestry of heritage that connects your sibling to their cultural roots. Infuse their space with the vibrant hues and intricate patterns that define our rich heritage.
III. Luxury Grooming: Pamper and Delight
Elevate the bond of sibling love with the perfect gift from Charles & Keith. Their exquisite collection of bags isn't just about style; it's about symbolizing heartfelt connections. Treat your sister to a stunning Charles & Keith product that resonates with the love and connection shared between siblings.
The realm of elegance finds its true expression in a meticulously crafted timepiece from Maserati. These watches offer a timeless appeal that reflects your admiration and affection. Beyond their aesthetic allure, Maserati watches are a symphony of precision timekeeping, ensuring that every moment is cherished.
For the sibling who seems hard to shop for, ALDO's X Disney line presents an array of fashionable shoes, luggage, and accessories. With an abundance of alternatives, finding the perfect present has never been easier.
Celebrate the bond with Truefit & Hill's luxurious grooming products, symbolizing strength and refinement. Pamper your brothers with options like Freshman Cologne, Sandalwood Bath and Shower Gel, and Shaving Comfort Set, making their Rakhi truly unforgettable.
Give the gift of exquisite fragrances from Kastoor that evoke mystery and confidence. The Mystique Rose with Oud and Panache scents are unique blends that your sibling will cherish.
IV. Fashionably Chic: Style That Speaks
Unveil excitement this Rakhi by gifting the epitome of comfort and fashion from XYXX. This brand doesn't just offer clothing; it's a statement of unique style and unwavering commitment. With an extensive loungewear collection, XYXX ensures that comfort and style go hand in hand.
Celebrate the enduring bond with your sibling by gifting them a touch of timeless elegance and contemporary fashion from Gap. Renowned for its exceptional quality and versatile style, Gap's offerings make this occasion truly special.
The 'Evermore' collection from Saundh captures the essence of calmness and innocence. With signature silhouettes and pastel hues, this collection embodies the excitement of newfound love and the beauty of autumn.
Embodying values of love and unity, Being Human is the perfect choice to celebrate the bond of siblinghood. By selecting a gift from Being Human, you not only express affection but also contribute to impactful initiatives.
Celebrate the bond of rakhi with ur sibling and gift these personalised cute hampers. We have tye and dye T-shirts in different personalised initial options in denim and crystal which adds the personal touch. One can also choose from a fun variety of co-ord sets of T-shirts & shorts in 4 fun marble print colors.
V. Skincare: Nurture Their Skin
Raksha Bandhan is a celebration of the threads that bind siblings through laughter and tears. This Rakhi, celebrate Threads that Bind with Fabindia. From kitchenware to toxin-free skincare gift boxes and gift cards, Fabindia offers a range of choices for the perfect gift.
Elevate lip care with The Lip Balm Company's enchanting array of lip balms. Meticulously concocted with prime ingredients, these balms promise an unparalleled lip-pampering experience that encapsulates luxury and care.
Protect and nourish your sibling's skin with SkinQ's expertly formulated solutions. Their Sun Protect Ultra Light Gel and Glow Bright Mask are clinically proven to address Indian skin concerns, making this gift both practical and thoughtful.
Embrace Salt Oral Care for a tale of taste and transformation. With a focus on ethics, these products are vegan, cruelty-free, and environmentally conscious, making them a perfect choice for conscious consumers.
Consider gifting organic goodness from Juicy Chemistry's collaboration with Paul & Mike. With exciting offers and a range of personal care and makeup products, these hampers are an ideal way to kickstart the festive season.
This limited-edition duo offers healing and nourishment for the skin barrier and under-eyes. With powerful natural ingredients, these products provide instant hydration and illumination, making them a thoughtful skincare gift.
For tired and dull under-eyes, the Indulgeo Essentials Eye Gel offers a hydrating solution. Formulated with unique plant-derived ingredients, this eye gel instantly brightens and soothes tired-looking eyes.
Maintain an everyday glow with the 3AM's Everyday Bundle is a comprehensive package that addresses various skincare concerns. With mushroom extract and hydrating humectants, this bundle is perfect for those on the go.
Give the gift of hydration and nourishment with OTT Skincare's simple 3-step routine. This package is designed to retain your skin's moisture over time, providing a rejuvenating skincare experience.
Brighten up your sibling's skincare routine with La Pink's transformative skincare products. From Ubtan White Haldi Face Wash to Ideal Bright Serum, this gift set promises radiant and refreshed skin.
VI. Color Cosmetics: Embrace Glamour
Channel your inner glamour with Defi Beauty's PHAT Face Palette. This luxurious palette guarantees a flawless finish and stellar payoff, ensuring you shine bright during Rakhi celebrations.
Enriched with superfoods, LA MIOR's Velvet Liquid Lipsticks offer both beauty and skincare benefits. Dive into a world of enriched makeup that makes your skin look divine.
Elevate lip care with Type Beauty's innovative anti-pigmentation lipstick. This pigmented lipstick not only offers vibrant color but also heals and hydrates lips, leaving them nourished and visibly brighter.
With Rakshabandhan just around the corner, these last-minute gifting ideas ensure that your gesture of love reaches your siblings in the most thoughtful and delightful way. Whether it's statement accessories, elegant decor, luxurious grooming, nurturing skincare, or glamorous cosmetics, these gifts encompass a wide array of choices that will make your Rakhi celebration truly unforgettable. Express your affection and strengthen your bond with these tasteful and meaningful gifts. Happy Rakshabandhan!
The environmental impact of the fashion industry, particularly the footwear sector, has lately come to light. As consumers become more worried about climate change and the growing amount of plastic garbage in our oceans, they expect more ecologically friendly and sustainable products. As consumer tastes evolve, footwear firms are seeking new and inventive solutions to reduce their environmental burden. Thus, recycling technology has emerged as a game changer in this area, allowing businesses to enhance sustainability while maintaining product quality and performance. According to Grand View Research, the estimated size of the worldwide footwear industry in 2021 was $373.19 billion, and it is anticipated to increase at a CAGR of 4.3 percent from 2022 to 2030.
Here’s a look at how recycling technology is transforming the footwear industry and paving the way for a greener future.
Embracing Circular Economy Principles
The old linear economy model, in which items are manufactured, used, and discarded, has proven to be unsustainable and destructive to the environment. Recycling technology enables the application of circular economy ideas in the footwear sector. Instead of dumping old shoes and creating extra trash, manufacturers can now collect and recycle worn footwear materials to create new items. Brands can extend the life cycle of their shoes by introducing recycling technology, lowering the need for raw materials, and reducing the environmental impact associated with making new products from scratch. This transformation to a circular economy not only benefits the planet but also generates a positive business image among environmentally conscious consumers.
Sustainable Materials Innovation
Recycling technology has enabled the footwear industry to develop revolutionary sustainable materials. To manufacture high-quality shoe components, brands are experimenting with eco-friendly materials like recycled bottles, ocean plastics, used PU soles, and discarded textiles. These recycled components undergo transformation using innovative recycling techniques to ensure that they meet the required performance and durability standards. These environmentally friendly materials not only lessen the need for fresh resources but also lessen the amount of garbage that is destined for incinerators or landfills. As a result, we should anticipate further remarkable advancements in sustainable materials as technology advances and consumer access to eco-friendly footwear options increases.
One significant advancement in recycling technology is the development of shoe-to-shoe recycling processes. In past times, recycling footwear meant disassembling the components to make insulation or sports surfaces. But shoe-to-shoe recycling goes one step further by allowing old shoes to be turned into fresh pairs of shoes. The procedure includes removing the components from the old shoes, sorting the various materials, and then reprocessing them to make new shoe parts. Since most of the materials used to make the shoe can be used again to make new shoes, this strategy significantly reduces waste and conserves resources.
Customization and Personalization
Recycling technology not only promotes sustainability but also gives shoe manufacturers the chance to offer their clients customization and personalization. Customers can recycle their old pairs of shoes by returning them to the company, which will then make new pairs out of them. Through this closed-loop approach, clients may customize and design their own shoes, strengthening their bond with the company and its environmental goals.
Collaboration and Consumer Engagement
The integration of recycling technology in the footwear business has facilitated collaboration between brands, recycling facilities, and customers. Brands are cooperating with recycling firms to establish efficient recycling infrastructures and make it easier for customers to recycle their old shoes. Furthermore, recycling activities provide great opportunities for businesses to connect with customers about environmental issues. Brands can enlighten consumers about the importance of recycling and how their decisions can benefit the environment. Thus, by involving customers in the recycling process, brands enhance customer relationships while also instilling a sense of collective duty for environmental protection.
Stepping Towards Sustainability!
In order to address its environmental issues and satisfy the rising demand for sustainable products, the footwear industry is adopting technology. Brands are dramatically decreasing their environmental impact and promoting a better future by implementing shoe-to-shoe recycling, following circular economy ideas, and using sustainable materials. Technology recycling not only benefits the environment by minimizing waste and preserving resources, but it also offers great opportunities for companies to engage with their target audiences more deeply. We can anticipate more developments in recycling procedures and eco-friendly materials as technology develops, bringing the goal of a totally sustainable and environmentally friendly footwear business closer to reality.
About the Author
Shersingh Kumar, CEO of Rymbal
Sher Singh is a compassionate business leader who has grown organically over the years and has earned his leadership by working his way up from the grassroots. He has 20+ years of consistent and proven track record in a B2B environment within the specialty chemical industry with extensive exposure in P&L management, Operation Management, and business development.
In an arena where evolution is the essence of survival, and innovation is the compass of progress, The Rug Republic, a name synonymous with quality and artistry in the carpet industry, ventured on the path of D2C in the year 2020. Their narrative took a twist during the pandemic when the world grappled with the upheaval. From the bosom of Sharda Exports, the pivotal year saw the company's foray into the e-commerce arena. A conversation with Raghav Gupta, Director of E-commerce, The Rug Republic, and the brain behind this strategic leap offered a glimpse into the brand’s insightful approach and ambitious vision.
Innovating in Times of Change
The Rug Republic's decision to diversify into e-commerce was steered by the understanding that the world was undergoing a paradigm shift in consumer behavior. Raghav elaborated, "I joined the company at the onset of the pandemic, and the world was shut down. Since we were only into exports, we began to think about what was next for us. It was pretty clear that e-commerce was the logical step." Therefore, they crafted their own D2C label and began the B2C journey in choppy waters.
Navigating Two Worlds
Integrating a new channel with an existing one is no small feat, especially when the two operate in vastly different spheres. Shifting from B2B to B2C meant the need for a strategic overhaul. According to Raghav, the production team faced the challenge of adapting to single-piece orders, a concept alien to their B2B background. “This transformation required meticulous planning and seamless coordination between production and management. Selecting products optimized for online sales was essential - items that were quick to produce and easy to stock became the focus. Years of export experience and a robust network of logistical partners proved to be valuable assets during this transition,” he added.
Catering to Diverse Tastes
Understanding their target audience was pivotal for The Rug Republic's success in the e-commerce sphere. Their designs resonated particularly well with economically affluent areas, with Tier I and II cities taking precedence. Interestingly, the company found greater traction in the southern regions of the country, and its design language also found favor with expatriates due to its European influence. By tailoring their approach to various regions and demographics, the brand has managed to strike a chord with diverse consumer preferences.
The Art of Design
A key question then emerges - who drove the design vision of the brand? While an in-house design team played a crucial role, the top layer of creative direction came from the founders themselves, well-versed in their global travels and design literature. “The journey from ideas to tangible designs is entrusted to a dedicated team based at the company's head office in Meerut. This iterative process leads to the creation of captivating designs that resonate with the brand's identity,” mused Raghav.
Convenience and Beyond
The Rug Republic recognized that beyond quality and design, convenience played a pivotal role in the online shopping experience. Embracing this notion, the company began offering free shipping and easy returns, ensuring customer satisfaction. Their commitment extended to personalized assistance, guiding customers to make the right choices amidst their unique design language. This blend of distinctive design and customer-centric convenience established the brand as a premium choice in the competitive e-commerce landscape.
The Grand Vision
Looking beyond immediate success, The Rug Republic harbors grand aspirations. “The perception of rugs has evolved from utilitarian products to fashion statements, echoing a broader societal shift. Beyond commerce, our long-term goal is to become a thought leader in the design space. We envision not only selling products but also spreading design education, positioning ourselves as the original influencers in the décor industry,” elaborated Raghav.
It is this aspiration to lead not just in terms of profits, but also in terms of shaping design conversations, which epitomizes The Rug Republic's commitment to pushing boundaries. In a world driven by constant change, the brand’s journey stands as an inspiring testament to the power of adaptation, creativity, and unwavering vision. As they weave together tradition and innovation, aesthetics and convenience, the young brand continues to leave an indelible mark on the tapestry of design and commerce.
For 44 years, Archies has been a name synonymous with heartfelt gifting, making special occasions even more memorable. Its legacy stretches across India, touching the lives of numerous age groups. People who were once 15 or 20 years old are now in their 40s and 45s, and for them, the brand is a nostalgic connection to cherished memories. But as times change, so do consumer preferences, and this is where Archies has shown its adaptability and innovation.
The brand evaluated its customer base and realized that while it had a strong connection with its loyal customers, there was a missing piece of the puzzle - the younger generation. Millennials and Gen Z, aged 4 to 12, were not as connected to the brand. To rectify this and ensure that they too could become lifelong Archies customers, the company decided to embark on a unique journey.
This journey began with the creation of AMA, the brand mascot, a character deeply embedded in the values that Archies has championed for over four decades: leadership, friendship, joy, loyalty, and self-expression. AMA represents the heart and soul of Archies, evoking nostalgia while also symbolizing adaptability.
“AMA isn't just a character; it's a bridge that connects generations. It's a powerful catalyst for boosting brand awareness, fostering customer engagement, and ensuring that Archies remains a cherished part of people's lives, no matter their age. It forges emotional connections, rekindles shared memories, and nurtures brand loyalty,” said Varun Moolchandani, Executive Director, Archies.
Archies is not just content with its legacy; it's looking to the future. From October 15, 2023, the brand will embrace the kid category with a diverse range of back-to-school essentials and AMA-specific merchandise. This strategic move underscores Archies' dedication to staying in tune with market trends while upholding quality and authenticity.
Under the umbrella of AMA, there will be a wide range of kids' products. From stationery and coloring books to pens, soft toys, mugs, caps, and more, the brand aims to cater to the needs and desires of young children. “Additionally, there will be festival-oriented, kid-centric items, all with AMA at the center, making them even more special,” he stated.
To introduce AMA and the kids' category, Archies has planned a massive social media campaign, running from now until Valentine's Day, with a strong presence on YouTube and collaborations with bloggers and influencers.
“Talks are also in progress with Cartoon Network channels for AMA cartoons, targeting the 4 to 12-year-old Gen Z bracket. The goal is to ensure that the brand becomes a household name for these kids, fostering brand loyalty from an early age,” asserted Moolchandani.
Archies has ventured into the quick commerce sector through partnerships with platforms like Blinkit, offering 10-15 minutes delivery services, a surprising but welcome addition to its services.
Additionally, in the world of e-commerce, it operates through its website. While customers shop there for special occasions like Diwali, Holi, Christmas, and Valentine's Day, the brand also recognizes the importance of marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart for everyday shopping.
“With recent ventures like Blinkit and increasing partnerships, we aim to balance the online and offline presence to cater to the diverse needs of its customers,” he further highlighted.
Currently, Archies operates around 150 stores, but the company has ambitious expansion plans. The focus will be on high-street markets in North India, with an aim to open 25 to 30 stores by March. This move is set to solidify its presence and accessibility for its customers.
With a revenue of close to Rs 100 crore in the previous year, the brand is poised for growth in the coming years. Additionally, it is planning to mark its entry into the international market – UAE, bringing its unique charm to a global audience.
The need for energy-efficient solutions and products are heavily on the rise in today’s market. However, a majority of Indian consumers are still unaware about many solutions that can make their homes energy-efficient. There can be two reasons for this, ignorance or lack of information available. In both instances, the right distribution channel plays a vital role in providing information and making such solutions available to the consumers.
Every step in the distribution process plays a vital role in reaching out and informing our consumers about revolutionary solutions and products.
Manufacturers / Importers: The manufacturers and principal importer play the most vital role as they are responsible to provide the information when they introduce products and solutions that are energy efficient and sustainable. The effective dissemination of the information around their vision and story of their products and solutions is the key factor in building the process of educating and placing their unique solutions to the consumers.
Key Channel Partners: Tying up with them is the primary and most important means for a manufacturer / importer to reach out to the end consumers. The key channel partners are generally placed to feed the demand in the market. However, when it comes to unique solutions, the consumers need more information and hand-holding to make a decision. In such cases, these key channel partners are developing themselves to not only feed the market but also put in effort in guiding and providing all necessary information to cater to a consumer’s need. As time moves forward, channel partners are developing into mini-consultants for consumers in the residential sector. Having more channel partners increases the visibility of the brand / products, thus resulting in better access and awareness to these offerings and information to the consumers.
Influencers / Direct Promoters: Our market consists of key influencers and promoters such as architects, interior designers, and MEP consultants who play a key role in consulting and guiding their customers when making their home. All manufacturers/importers and channel partners invest a vast majority of their time and effort in reaching out to such influencers as a means to providing access to innovative energy-efficient solutions to the end consumers. Effective information dissemination to the influencers puts them in a better position in guiding their customers to create an energy-efficient home.
Local Distributors: Once a solution / product becomes well known, and the demand increases, the principal companies invest their time in appointing local distributors. With increase in demand, a proper balance of supply is to be maintained to ensure last mile availability. With increase in demand, the market requires market feeders. This job is done by the local distributors who play a role in maintaining inventory in their local hubs, which helps in empowering more resellers and influencers to service their consumers more efficiently. Hence local distributors play a vital role in expanding the reach of energy efficient solutions to a consumer.
Service Agencies : A consumer’s experience play a vital role in the success of the distribution channel, irrespective of that experience being in pre-sales or post sales. Making an energy efficient home involves an investment in various unique products and solutions, which generally require an adequate amount of service. Servicing and maintaining these products/solutions increases the life of such products which results in homes being energy efficient for a long period of time. Hence having the right service setup is of utmost importance to provide the last mile availability of service parts / guidance after sales.
About the author:
Rajesh Sachdev, CEO, Blutherm, carries an unwavering passion for energy efficiency and spearheading the low carbon revolution.His expertise has empowered him to deliver an extraordinary array of solutions in the space of water heating, ventilation, and water purification.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/woman-office-working-environment-project_13105369.htm#query=Making%20Indian%20Homes%20Energy%20Efficient&position=0&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
It is no secret that the retail industry is undergoing significant transformation. The growth of e-commerce and mobile commerce has transformed how customers shop. Augmented reality (AR) is another prominent disruptor on the horizon. AR is a technology that superimposes digital data in the real world. It's been there for a while, but it's only just begun to attain traction in the consumer retail market. AR is now positioned to influence retail significantly, thanks to developments in hardware and software. AR will impact retail in various ways, from how things are displayed to how customers interact.
Retailers are attempting to engage with customers through innovative retail technologies. AR may be utilized to deliver emotionally charged virtual events in the same manner that face-to-face interactions can.
Augmented Reality can Transform the Retail Landscape
In recent years, augmented reality’s influence on retail sales has grown exponentially. Customers can try different looks and check how they fit before purchasing online. Augmented reality can help retail establishments be more efficient. Businesses can engage in cross-selling and upselling by using augmented reality retail applications. Retailers can utilize AR to evaluate which products catch customers' attention and which are the most appealing to organize products efficiently. According to recent research, 34% of customers now utilize augmented reality (AR) while shopping. And 47% of them use it for in-store and online purchasing.
Augmented Reality is the Future Of Retail
The future of augmented reality in retail appears to be bright. Retail has been one of the early adopters as a sector and has consistently experimented with the latest technologies, systems, and processes. Here are a few examples of how augmented reality alters the retail industry.
Delivering Customised Experience for the Users
Augmented Reality (AR) enables businesses to give personalised services to their customers. This technology lets clients visualise how a product will meet their requirements before purchasing it. It allows customers to purchase the products they require at their convenience. IKEA made furniture buying enjoyable with its AR catalogue, which allows customers to use their mobile devices to picture how a piece of furniture will look in their homes.
Enhance Brand Presence and Awareness
Businesses may reach a wider audience by incorporating AR into mobile applications and giving their clients a one-of-a-kind experience. It also provides the best means of communicating with the audience and getting direct feedback. Lenskart scans users' faces to put the digital reflection, allowing you to see how its products look on you before purchasing.
Augmenting the In-Store Experiences
AR in eCommerce apps helps provide clients with a delightful purchasing experience similar to the traditional shopping experience. It also benefits businesses by lowering inventory expenses, labour costs and avoiding overcrowding in storefronts. Sephora has developed the Virtual Artist App, an augmented reality application that uses Modiface technology to allow app users to see how cosmetic products would look on their faces using their phone's camera.
Offer an exclusive new level of "Try before you Buy"
Augmented reality gives retailers a competitive advantage by improving the customer buying experience by bridging the gap between in-store shopping and virtual shopping. AR Successfully delivers a true omnichannel sales experience with seamless integration between online and physical store formats. Fashion retailers such as ASOS and Adidas employ augmented reality to provide virtual clothing try-ons, allowing customers to see how a pair of shoes, jackets, or trousers will appear on them before purchasing.
Drive Next-gen data revolution in retail
AR in retail generates a lot of data and insights that can be used to drive business growth. Retailers can acquire important insights into customer preferences, product performance, and marketing success by evaluating user interactions, preferences, and behaviors inside AR experiences. This data can help businesses optimize their product offerings, marketing tactics, and customer experiences. AR technology's data-driven insights enable retailers to make informed decisions and remain ahead of industry trends.
Eliminates Language Barriers
With so many languages spoken in India, retailers would find it challenging to interact with their customers. AR-mode shops may simply reach their target demographic and convey brand information using Google Translate.AR allows customers to submit feedback in their local language, which helps companies collect and supply location-based services or products.
Augmented Reality is More Immersive and Personal
On a closing note, by implementing AR technology, retailers can build engaging and immersive experiences that engage customers, generate sales, and gain a competitive edge in the dynamic retail scene. Retail organizations which fail to embrace and integrate AR as part of their DNA will get replaced sooner than later.
Hareet Arora, Founding Member & Partner, Acuvon Consulting is the youngest partner at Acuvon consulting, and brings over 12 years of expertise in Strategy Development, Operational Excellence, and Profitability Enhancement, with a special focus on the Retail, QSR, and CPG sectors.At Acuvon Consulting, Hareet has successfully led several transformation and value-creation mandates for its clients including post-merger synergy realization programs.
Pic credit: <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/shopping-with-virtual-augmented-reality-apps-realistic-composition-with-holding-smartphone-hand-choosing-sportswear_7378412.htm#query=augmented%20reality%20in%20retail&position=1&from_view=search&track=ais">Image by macrovector</a> on Freepik
In today's fast-paced world, last mile delivery has become a critical component of the overall customer experience in retail and e-commerce industries. This is driven by the fact that consumers are increasingly turning to e-commerce as their behavior and buying habits are evolving daily. So, the need for speedy order fulfillment and distribution has become a new norm. The emergence of last mile delivery has ensured that businesses must ensure speed, accuracy, and customer satisfaction to gain a competitive edge. Coupling it with innovative automation strategies further aids to streamline & bolsters the operations, which eventually plays a pivotal role to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Here are some strategies for improving efficiency and customer satisfaction in last-mile delivery:-
Paradigm shift seen in Consumer Behavior
As per a report by Capgemini, 59% of consumers purchase items online when they need them or on demand, rather than waiting until the weekend to purchase in-store. This potentially showcases a fundamental shift in the decades-old consumer purchase pattern, mostly disrupted by the millennials and Gen Z population.
Automated Route Optimization
One of the most impactful ways to enhance last mile delivery efficiency is through route optimization. Automation software and algorithms can analyze numerous variables, such as traffic conditions, delivery destinations, package sizes, and delivery time windows to determine the most efficient routes for delivery drivers. By minimizing unnecessary detours and reducing travel time, businesses can not just improve delivery speed but also reduce fuel costs and environmental impact, which is a need of the hour.
Automated Real Time Tracking
Since e-commerce has become an important element of business strategy today, Customers expect real-time updates on the status of their deliveries. With the advent of the rapid E-commerce Boom, automation enables businesses to provide live tracking of packages, giving customers the ability to monitor their orders from the moment they leave the distribution center until they reach their doorstep.
The advent of innovations via delivery drones and robots have revolutionized workforce automation, specifically augmented the last mile delivery landscape and also aided in minimizing operational cost.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots aid with handling customer inquiries, schedule deliveries, and provide real-time updates which is beneficial as it frees up human resources and improves customer service.
IoT & IoT Sensors is also seen to be a gamechanger with respect to monitor cargo conditions, enabling companies to ensure products remain in optimal condition during transportation. Also coupled with Data Analytics it can further recognize customer preference, allowing businesses to tailor-make their services and enhance overall customer satisfaction
Although last-mile delivery is the shortest part of the delivery process, but simultaneously also the most expensive stage for both the end user and the business with the integration of new infrastructure handling. It further becomes cumbersome with unexpected expenses that arise during delivery, such as delays or order cancellations. While the track & trace segment is bolstered by AIDC tools, but if businesses don’t implement the real-time communication strategies, the lack of real-time visibility could be irksome for the consumers.
Also to with the rapid innovation, some business struggle to keep up with the modern technologies and end up using outdated technology which not makes them lose the competitive edge. Reverse Logistics is one more such phenomenon where major logistics and retailers struggle, with in other words refers to transferring goods from customers back to sellers or manufacturers, mostly in case of product returns and cancellations.
As per a survey by BCG, the road congestion in just four metro cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru added up to a whopping $22 billion with regards to congestion costs. This situation gets worse when there is massive traffic and when customers who are used to on-time deliveries, feel frustrated and constantly call and ask about the status of orders. When drivers are dissatisfied and under-productive, they fail to provide a delightful delivery experience for customers. This leads to a loss of customer trust and cuts down business growth. Hence, the focus in 2023 will be to make drivers happy and empower them.
The growing volume of last mile deliveries also contributes to carbon emissions and environmental concerns.
With the burgeoning E-commerce boom, last mile delivery remains a critical factor. As per a report, it is also cited that India’s last-mile delivery market size will touch $6-7 billion by 2024. The overall e-commerce shipments will grow to 5 billion by 2025 from 1.36 billion shipments in 2020. As technology continues to advance, the potential for transforming last mile delivery is enormous, making it a pivotal area for businesses to invest in to stay competitive and meet the ever-increasing demands of consumers.
JP Mishra, Country Manager India-Newland AIDC is a business leader with over 19 years of proven global experience in managing P&L, strategy, people, sales, operations and building new businesses. He is passionate about understanding customers’ business issues and solves the same with technology solutions.
Pic credit: Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/hands-holding-modern-smartphone_33300283.htm#query=Last%20Mile%20Delivery&position=28&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
As consumers increasingly turn to the internet to research products before buying them, businesses now need to manage the pre-purchase consumer experience. By investing in search engine optimization techniques, retailers can ensure their products are visible and drive organic traffic. Market leaders also need to prioritize online presence to adapt to changing consumer expectations.
Frictions such as inflation and the cloudy macroeconomic climate can gum up the gears of commerce and stand in the way of more satisfying customer experiences. PwC unveiled the latest findings from the Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey: India perspective, which presents an up-to-date view of the impact of powerful internal and external forces on consumers and companies.
Ravi Kapoor, Partner and Leader - Retail & Consumer, PwC India, said “We're thrilled to present the latest June 2023 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, with a focused lens on the Indian landscape. This comprehensive report provides a real-time snapshot of the intricate interplay between internal and external forces on both consumers and corporations. Evident within this dynamic is the recognition that hurdles such as inflation and an uncertain economic climate can act as roadblocks, impeding commerce and obstructing the path to enhanced customer experiences.
“At the heart of this revelation is a clear directive: With consumers progressively harnessing the digital sphere to meticulously research products prior to purchase, businesses are tasked with choreographing the pre-purchase consumer odyssey. By strategically investing in potent search engine optimization techniques, retailers can ensure heightened product visibility and organically boost traffic. Simultaneously, market leaders must cement their virtual foothold, nimbly adapting to the constantly evolving expectations of the modern consumer,” he added.
Embedded within this landscape are several other gems of insight. E-commerce platforms, coupled with skillful SEO orchestration, emerge as pivotal influences in shaping pre-purchase behaviors. Smartphones, acting as veritable catalysts, empower consumers in their informed shopping quests. Traditional television advertisements and meticulously curated sponsored social media content retain their pivotal roles in guiding consumer decisions.
“As we stand on the precipice of technological evolution, the metaverse and generative AI promise to dynamically redefine the very essence of the shopping experience. Food and beverage alongside clothing reign supreme as the premier categories in the realm of direct-to-customer (D2C) engagement. A surge in direct purchases is fuelled by the prospects of choice and improved availability. Yet, amidst these trends, the once-prized subscription models beckon a recalibration. Amidst this ever-evolving landscape, consumers are displaying a laudable appetite for conscientious choices, readily embracing the prospect of investing extra for the values that resonate with them”, Kapoor further added.
Attainable luxury is the mojo of new India, and luxury furniture brand Sunday Design is spreading its network of exquisite designs and impeccable functionality. The young brand flung open its doors to Mumbai at their Worli store on 20 August. An interaction with Gautam Baid, Founder & MD, Sunday Designs gave a sneak peek into Indian interior decor as he envisions.
Indianising Global Decor
The first experience store is 10,000 sq ft wide, followed by the one in Bangalore with 7,000 sq ft of space, and the latest destination at Worli pulsates with glamour across 6000 sq ft. In just 18 months, the brand has grabbed the attention of the quintessential corporate India; the ones who are well-traveled with an average age profile of 35-45 years looking to make their first homes with solid understanding of comfort and luxury.
“With Instagram and Pinterest updating billions of users on latest trends, every country has similar decor preferences today. In order to offer a truly global design, we have hired 3-4 designers across Italy and Portugal, and are looking forward to collaborate with a designer in Japan,” says Baid. “Our art director then curates it for the Indian palette. Since we manufacture in India, we can make attainable luxury possible according to domestic price points,” adds the founder. The brand aims to open one store in eastern India, followed by eight small-format stores in B-town, the fastest growing market in India.
Personalisation and Functionality
Fabric, stone, and finish are the three criteria for product personalisation in case of any Sunday Design range. The expertise lies in the unwavering commitment to ergonomics and aesthetics, latter of which has been more necessary for Indian buyers. Recalling one important customization, Baid said that the elevation of Italian sofas don’t work with Indians, who find it too low.
This adjustment and countless more insights have been obtained after communicating with the target audience across omnichannel formats. Winning with functionality, Sunday Design has been earning brownie points with seating, beds that come with storage spaces, and functional tables that blend with existing decor.
Modifying Retail with Coworking
On that note, Sunday Design is experiencing healthy demand of small-ticket items on their e-commerce platform, but for high-ticket items such as beds and sofa, customers prefer the touch-and-feel factor, which is why retail footprints in prime locations matter a lot. “We work very hard on the prototype reaching the right balance in terms of ergonomics. We deliver the product in 4-6 weeks,” he mentions.
While Sunday Design is concentrating all efforts on digital media for brand discovery, their latest strategy on optimizing store space is interesting. Baid will soon launch a co-working offering titled ‘Sunday Spaces’ for interior designers across its three stores. “Young designers often can’t afford their own studio and need spaces to work and meet clients. With our spacious stores, Sunday Spaces will allow designers to book a time slot as per their convenience. There clientele coming in will also lead to meaningful exposure across markets and spark interest,” Baid concludes.
Yarn testing stands as an indispensable step within the textile manufacturing process, guaranteeing the quality and performance of yarn. By subjecting yarn to various tests, manufacturers can assess its properties and characteristics, ensuring it meets the required standards of strength, evenness, twist, and more. This meticulous examination serves as the cornerstone for the production of high-quality fabrics that possess the desired attributes for their intended applications.
Testing Procedures for Yarn
Common Issues in Yarn Quality
Yarn imperfections, twist variation, contamination, and excessive hairiness represent common challenges encountered in yarn quality. These issues can compromise the strength and uniformity of the yarn, ultimately leading to the production of fabrics with subpar quality characteristics.
Solutions to Improve Yarn Quality
Steps to Address Low-Quality Yarn
The significance of yarn testing cannot be overstated when it comes to ensuring consistent quality and preventing defects in woven fabrics. By subjecting yarn to various testing procedures and implementing quality control measures, manufacturers can identify and address issues in yarn quality, leading to the production of high-quality fabrics. Through solutions such as fine-tuning the manufacturing process, selecting superior fibres, and conducting thorough re-tests, manufacturers can meet the demands of the market and deliver textiles of superior quality and performance. Yarn testing, indeed, serves as an indispensable tool in the pursuit of excellence, elevating the textile industry's standards and satisfying consumers' expectations for exceptional fabrics.
Pratik Gadia is the founder and CEO of The Yarn Bazaar. It all started when he was trying to procure yarn for his textile unit and faced multiple issues due a severely broken supply chain. He decided to pursue the opportunity and formally launched The Yarn Bazaar in July 2019 with the vision of organizing the unorganized textile industry. The Yarn Bazaar is a Managed (full stack) Vertical B2B Marketplace solving the problem of broken supply chain & working capital constraints in textiles - a highly fragmented $200 billion market that they are looking to transform.
Pic credit: <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/woman-standing-factory-with-thread_6633974.htm#query=yarn%20testing%20in%20fabrics&position=3&from_view=search&track=ais">Image by prostooleh</a> on Freepik
For millennia, India has been renowned globally for its rich cultural heritage, especially its holistic approach toward health and well-being. Over the generations, legacy practices based on Ayurveda, natural remedies, and yoga were extremely valued for their gentle healing touch and effectiveness.
In recent years, the world has been paying increasing attention to the tremendous value India’s age-old traditions have to offer, particularly when some of these practices can be combined well with today’s scientific thought, as seen through the healing powers of yoga. Now, as modern science continues to shed light on the efficacy and benefits of these time-honored traditions, there is a remarkable convergence between ancient wisdom and contemporary knowledge, leading to a transformative synergy that enhances our lives in countless ways.
In recent years, the world values India's age-old traditions. Some practices align well with modern science, like the healing powers of yoga. As science reveals its efficacy, ancient wisdom and contemporary knowledge converge, enhancing our lives in numerous ways.
Benefits of Blending Ancient and Modern Practices
The harmonious integration of conventional practices with modern science has become a subject of great interest and importance across various fields. From healthcare to holistic wellness, individuals and communities are embracing the profound insights passed down through generations. Cultures around the world have long valued natural remedies, traditional healing techniques, and mindful practices as integral aspects of their well-being.
Significantly, the blending of conventional practices with modern science is also gaining popularity in baby care to safeguard the health of infants. When it comes to infant care, Indian mothers have traditionally used natural remedies while bringing up their babies with extra love, attention, and care.
Additionally, many first-time mothers – specifically in rural India – have depended on the ‘dai’ (or traditional birth attendant) to ensure primary healthcare needs during pregnancy and childbirth. ‘Dais’ remain well versed in giving the baby a bath along with a massage, most often with oil, swaddling (wrapping the baby closely with cloth), and using natural products for the baby’s good health.
Today, modern Indian mothers and the rest of the world have shown an increasing interest in these ancient baby care practices. Parents and physicians are now understanding and acknowledging the inherent wisdom in these age-old practices as modern science validates and highlights their hidden benefits.
For example, in recent years, there has been a resurgence in cloth diapering due to its environmental benefits, cost-effectiveness, and health benefits. As modern science continues to highlight the same, more parents are choosing this ancient baby care practice as an eco-friendly and safe alternative to disposable diapers. Moreover, natural fibers such as cotton or bamboo, are gentle on a baby's skin and may help reduce the risk of diaper rash and other skin irritations. Additionally, cloth diapers do not contain potentially harmful chemicals or fragrances that are often found in synthetic diapers.
The Downside of Synthetic Diapers
For decades, synthetic disposable diapers were the first preference for most mothers across the globe because of their ease of use. But what seems like a practical solution can often have a hidden impact on a baby’s well-being. Nappy rash, a condition that causes irritation, discomfort, and redness on the baby’s tender skin – is one common problem among babies when synthetic diapers are used.
This happens because disposable diapers contain synthetic materials that restrict airflow to the baby’s skin, thereby trapping moisture and heat. The damp environment creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, causing a nappy rash. To make matters worse, continuous contact between a baby’s delicate skin and the synthetic diaper materials only worsens the condition, leading to irritation and redness.
It is no surprise that cloth diapers, used earlier in India for centuries in the form of a ‘langot’, provide several benefits, both for a baby and the environment’s well-being. Unlike the langot that was inconvenient and did not offer much absorbency, modern cloth diapers, on the other hand, have evolved to address these concerns and offer improved convenience and performance. Modern cloth diapers are designed with multiple layers of absorbent cloth materials, stitched together to provide effective and long-lasting absorbency. They offer a dry feel for the baby, and the ability to adjust the diaper to fit the baby's size as they grow. As for synthetic disposable diapers, these come with severe environmental consequences. The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reveals that it can take up to 500 years for a single disposable diaper to decompose fully in a landfill. Since the average mother uses thousands of disposable diapers in her baby’s early years, the environmental harm can be immense.
But by combining the age-old wisdom of our ancestors with modern science, it has become possible to create products that are beneficial for both babies and the environment.
How Cloth Diapers Work
Some explanation is necessary on the advantages of cloth diapers. Besides being gentle on the baby’s skin, they permit proper airflow, which minimizes the risk of nappy rash. These reusable diapers are usually made from natural fibers such as cotton, hemp. Using natural fibers avoids the need for major chemical processes that are required in producing synthetic diapers.
Cloth diapers made without synthetic fibers and harmful chemicals are a more compassionate choice for baby care items. Reusable cloth diapers also go well with environmental consciousness and the sustainable living culture of the present times since they reduce landfill waste considerably.
Although one could be tempted to dismiss cloth diapers as outdated or inconvenient, technology and design innovations have made these diapers extremely user-friendly. For example, cloth diapers with adjustable snaps or Velcro bands can ensure easy use and a snug fit. Furthermore, some cloth diapers come with insertable liners so cleaning up the waste becomes simple and easy.
Given the regular innovations in baby care products, cloth diapers are improving continuously. As a result, reusable cloth diapers are an ideal option for parents seeking a balance between comfort and environmental considerations. By harmonizing modern science with our age-old wisdom in baby care products, parents can make well-informed choices that prioritize the well-being of their babies while safeguarding the environment for future generations.
About The Author
Pallavi Utagi,CEO & Founder, SuperBottoms
Pallavi Utagi is the Founder & CEO of India’s no 1 brand of sustainable mom and baby essentials, SuperBottoms. An engineer from Govt College of Engineering, Pune, Pallavi discovered her passion for building brands and making a purposeful impact. This fueled her to pursue an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai- enabling her rich experience and expertise in marketing and brand management. Having worked with multinationals like Strides Arcolab Limited, Piramal Healthcare, Sanofi, when Pallavi became a mother she witnessed a huge gap in the conscious Indian baby care market, especially diapers. The fire of creating drove Pallavi to start working on SuperBottoms as a passion project to provide diapering solutions that were convenient for babies and were good for the planet too.
As end-consumers increasingly make their presence on digital channels and platforms, companies and brands are reimagining their customer connect strategies. At the same time, they are also reworking their product development and supply chains. And like most sectors and categories, FMCG companies have not been impervious to this trend. So, even as new-age digital technologies have offered new ways for FMCG businesses to manage their supply chain network and processes; they have also opened up new avenues for the latter to cultivate customer relationships.
What are some of the ways in which FMCG companies can build a customer-centric supply chain and thereby make their customer connect stronger?
First, the fast-digitalizing consumer universe affords a mindboggling amount of data on a wide range of metrics today. From demographics such as age, income groups, and location, etc., to cultural data, to lifestyle and product-based data related to consumer interest, sentiments, and preferences, to life events and actual engagement and conversion rates, to previous purchase history, there is a lot that is available today. FMCG companies should also make use of AI to select relevant data, carry out micro-segmentation of customers (and products), and conduct required analyses based on their end goals.
Second, while the collection and analysis of data is the first step, FMCG companies would need to go beyond. This means that they would need to forge a connection between chosen customer data and foreseeable demand and the entire supply chain flow including sourcing of raw materials and inputs, logistics, distribution, sale, and delivery right up till the end-consumer’s doorstep. Given that by definition, since FMCG products have a low shelf-life with a high turnover rate and are purchased frequently and consumed rapidly, they typically follow the traditional continuous flow supply chain model wherein a continuous flow of goods is ensured. However, now that FMCG companies are armed with precious consumer data on a more granular basis than ever before, their supply chain managers can finetune and work out flexible supply chain models, usually employed by companies that make products susceptible to seasonal ebb and flow of demand.
Third, FMCG companies should no longer limit themselves to customizing products at the final sales stage in the supply chain. In fact, using advanced digital analytics, they should be able to gauge the nature of demand signals based on how their regular products are being received and commented on by the end consumer. And the customer need for a differentiated product as opposed to the company’s standard offering must be taken into consideration at the early product development stage itself. At the same time, FMCG companies should also move from addressing merely cost and speed issues in the supply chain to those related to actually catering to the need and desire for a particular product customized in a particular way irrespective of cost and other issues. Companies would do well to remember that customers today are willing to pay more as long as a product is perfectly customized according to their wishes and desires. In other words, brands should prioritize personalizing the customer experience right through the supply chain.
Fourth, FMCG companies could also consider investment in the latest supply chain technologies such as AI and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, robotics and automation, and even 3-D printing for a selected few FMCG products.
Fifth, instead of reckoning the supply chain as a network of different and disparate processes and personnel, FMCG companies should treat the whole chain as a single entity. This requires having shared objectives with their partners. Working out shared business objectives with vendors and suppliers, and logistics, distribution, and retail partners, they would not only achieve cost and operational efficiencies but also prove to be more agile and precise in terms of responding to market shifts and vagaries of consumer demand leading to over-all improved decision-making in the end.
Therefore, these are some of the ways in which FMCG companies can build a customer-centric supply chain away from the traditional product-centric supply chain. This would also drive profitability as well as improve customer experience.
About the Author
Manish Aggarwal, Director, Bikano, Bikanervala Foods Pvt Ltd
For about 20 years now, Manish Aggarwal has been a prominent face in the Indian FMCG industry. During these years, he has proved himself to be an outstanding business leader, innovator and an out-of-the-box thinker always ready to ‘take on’ new problems. When Aggarwal joined Bikano in 2000, he was rightly taking the family legacy forward. However, during this stint, he has also made his mark as an individual who has had the wherewithal, resourcefulness and vision to take the company forward on his own.
In recent years, the culinary landscape of India has witnessed a remarkable shift in consumer preferences, particularly in the realm of baked goods. As the demand for artisanal and high-quality confectionery grows, a new trend has evolved: boutique bakeries. These charming, niche establishments are a growing necessity in every tier-1 city across the country, offering an array of delectable treats and redefining the baking experience for Indian consumers.
For a better understanding, these delightful establishments are small-scale specialty bakeries that dedicate themselves to crafting and providing unique, high-quality baked goods. With a strong emphasis on artisanal techniques and meticulous attention to detail, boutique bakeries place quality above quantity, ensuring their limited daily production is packed with flavor, freshness and unparalleled taste. Every city has its own specialized boutique bakeries that are unique to the city concerned with a loyal customer base.
There are several reasons behind the popularity of boutique bakeries, and one of the key reasons is changing consumer preferences. With increasing exposure to international cuisine and a growing middle class population, Indian consumers are seeking diverse and unique culinary experiences. This gives boutique bakeries a chance to offer a departure from traditional Indian sweets and provide a wide range of artisanal bread, pastries, cakes, and desserts to cater to evolving tastes.
Another key reason for popularizing the concept of boutique bakeries is customization and personalization. They provide a more personalized experience compared to large commercial bakeries as their products are hand-made and boast of an authentic taste. Boutique bakery establishments also offer custom-designed cakes, personalized desserts, and unique flavor combinations. The art of customization allows customers to celebrate special occasions and express their individuality through bespoke baked goods.
Such specifications give rise to artisan bakeries to showcase the unique offerings that are customized to locales. The rise of boutique bakeries has not only delighted consumers but has also provided a platform for local entrepreneurs to showcase their talent and realize their dreams. These small-scale establishments not only contribute to the local economy but also serve as incubators for innovation and creativity within the baking industry. From the renowned Yazdani Bakery in Mumbai to the iconic O.G. Variar & Sons in Bangalore and the beloved Kayani Bakery in Pune, amongst others, are cherished by locals of the city and offer an array of palatable baked delicacies.
As tier-1 cities in India embrace the boutique bakery revolution, it is clear that this trend is here to stay. The allure of artisanal craftsmanship, exceptional flavors, and a delightful customer experience have elevated boutique bakeries to a prominent position in the Indian culinary landscape. With their commitment to quality, innovation, and personalized service, these establishments have successfully carved a niche for themselves, appealing to a growing segment of discerning consumers. The future holds great promise for the boutique bakery industry as it continues to reshape India's dessert culture.
Aditi Handa, Co-founder & Head Chef, The Baker’s Dozen is the Sourdough Protagonist of India. She started The Baker's Dozen in 2013 with an aim to draw attention back to the age-old goodness of sourdough bread and put it on every dining table as an essential commodity. From falling in love with sourdough to selling over a million loaves since the inception of The Baker’s Dozen (TBD) in 2013, she helmed the ethnic sourdough explosion.
India’s e-commerce industry has recorded an impressive 26.2 percent YoY order volume growth in FY-2023 supported by a 23.5 percent rise in annual GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) compared to the previous financial year.
Unicommerce’s third edition of its annual trends report, the ‘India E-commerce Index’ 2023, throws light on the consistently rising consumer inclination towards online shopping and provides a rationale for the rapid adoption of omnichannel strategies by brands to cater to the rising demand across both physical and digital channels.
The e-commerce space has witnessed robust growth in the electronic products & peripherals segment with a notable 46.8 percent YoY order volume growth and GMV grew by 20.6 percent in FY-2023, the report stated. This can be attributed to the inclusion of newer brands that were seen offering economical products across the segment.
The Eyewear & Accessories segment recorded a substantial 44.6 percent YoY order volume growth during FY-2023. The segment’s GMV saw a significant uptick and rose by 52.8 percent annually during the same period as compared to the last financial year. The Beauty & Personal Care segment recorded a reasonable 26.6 percent YoY order volume growth and an 18.9 percent YoY growth in GMV during FY-2023. Driven by the increasing number of young consumers, the Fashion & Accessories segment witnessed a YoY order volume growth of 19.5 percent along with a rise in its GMV by 15.3 percent during FY-2023.
With rising demand for artifacts, kitchenware, wall hangings, and plant accessories, the Home Decor segment witnessed strong YoY growth of 27.2 percent in its order volumes during FY-2023. As a result of brands offering high-quality products, the segment’s GMV increased by 46.5 percent annually during the same period as compared to FY-2022 resulting in a jump in the average order value by 15 percent during the period.
Health & Pharma, which has become an important e-commerce segment as consumers continue to shop for medicines and nutraceuticals online, recorded a YoY order volume growth of 22.1 percent during FY-2023. With the segment catering to the discrete needs of a diversified audience, the segment’s GMV rose by 38.5 percent leading to the average order value growing by 13 percent during the same period.
As brands continued to adopt a mixed approach to serve their customers across their brand websites as well as marketplaces, FY-2023 saw consumer preference move slightly towards marketplaces which witnessed a 31.2 percent YoY order volume growth during the period. Brands continue to offer exceptional experiences via their brand websites, providing exclusivity and personalization, and saw a YoY order volume growth of 24 percent during FY-2023.
With a rising number of Beauty & Personal Care brands offering higher discounts across marketplaces, order volumes grew exponentially by 80.1 percent during FY-2023 whereas, brand websites witnessed a 20.5 percent rise among the segment during the same period as compared to the last financial year. On the other hand, Electronics Products & Peripherals and Home Appliances saw a higher YoY order volume growth across brand websites recording a 55.4 percent increase during FY-2023 while marketplaces witnessed a YoY order volume growth of 36.7 percent within the same segment. Other segments like Home Decor, Fashion & Accessories, and FMCG saw higher YoY order volume growth across marketplaces during FY-2023 witnessing 39.1 percent, 27.1 percent, and 23.6 percent respectively during the same period.
As offices return to regular operations, there has been a notable shift of consumers shifting back to Tier I and metropolitan cities for work, resulting in Tier I cities exhibiting fast growth in order volumes relative to Tier II and Tier III cities. Tier I regions indicated the highest YoY order volume growth of 31.1 percent during FY-2023, followed by Tier II and Tier III cities which witnessed YoY order volume growth rates of 23.3 percent and 22.4 percent respectively, during the same period. Consistent e-commerce growth in Tier II and Tier III cities underscores their substantial untapped potential. These cities are witnessing continued e-commerce adoption driven by increased online consumer activity and small businesses from these regions venturing into e-commerce as potential sales channels.
The market share of Tier II and Tier III cities stood at 18.6 percent and 37.1 percent respectively in FY-2023, reducing slightly from 19.2 percent and 38.6 percent respectively during FY-2022. Tier I cities however observed a slight increase in market share during the same period which stood at 44.3 percent in FY-2023 as compared to 42.2 percent in FY-2022.
The FY-2023 exhibited a slight rise in order returns which stood at 10.4 percent as compared to 9.8 percent order returns in FY-2022. The report further attributed the rise in order returns largely due to Cash-on-Delivery (COD). In FY 2023, the return rate for Cash on Delivery (COD) orders stood at 20.9 percent, a slight uptick from the 19.3 percent recorded in FY 2022. Conversely, returns on prepaid orders exhibited a marginal increase, rising from 5.6 percent in FY 2022 to 5.8 percent in FY 2023. The notably lower return rate on prepaid orders has prompted companies to incentivize such orders, reflecting a strategic approach to minimize returns and enhance customer satisfaction. Also, COD orders continue to account for more than 60 percent of the overall returns, while prepaid orders accounted for 39.2 percent of the overall returns.
Interestingly, returns on marketplace orders grew by 26.3 percent in FY-2023, while it was 24.2 percent in FY-2022. With greater use of technology and deeper consumer connections, D2C brands witnessed a marginal reduction in order returns which stood at 6.2 percent in FY-023 as compared to 6.3 percent during FY-2022.
As the demand for omnichannel strategies rises, new-age brands have integrated this approach into their business models, while traditional enterprises are adopting cutting-edge technology to establish a cohesive framework that serves both their physical and online sales channels. The number of online orders shipped-from-store reported a 44.6 percent growth during FY2023 compared to the previous financial year.
Stores continue to adopt omnichannel technology to serve their customers better and enhance their shopping experience. During FY-2023, the number of stores that implemented omnichannel operations rose by 58.4 percent as compared to the last financial year.
Kapil Makhija, CEO of Unicommerce commented, "The launch of India's e-commerce Index 2023 marks a pivotal moment in our industry's evolution. The consistent growth of over 25 percent underscores the robust maturity of the sector. E-commerce is no longer just an additional sales channel; it has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of modern business. Companies are harnessing digital platforms not only to sell but also to promote and engage with consumers.”
He further added, “We are transitioning into a true omnichannel era where brands and consumers seamlessly interact and transact across a multitude of online and offline touchpoints. At Unicommerce, we remain committed to simplifying e-commerce selling through a range of initiatives. This comprehensive report, now available on our website, reflects our dedication to empowering businesses in this dynamic landscape.”
Re-commerce was the entry point for CoutLoot, a young player in India's fashion e-commerce scene back in 2016, when bringing value in used products and providing a secure and smooth online marketplace sound like blessings. It has now evolved into an online selling brand empowering small, unorganized retailers. The brand has been making its presence felt with lucrative facilities such as online stores up and running in 30 seconds, shipment tracking and scalability of offline stores. Jasmeet Thind, Co-Founder, CoutLoot, says empowering an under-served, unorganized segment presents a slew of challenges from early adoption of product to user education.
“Unbranded fashion categories are, by volume, the largest category in India and are non-standardized. As far as size issues are concerned, free pricing volatility and correct supply chain are some of the main issues which create low trust,” Thind says.
CoutLoot has solved that pain point by setting up a bargaining system in regional language for faster conversion, both for consumers and retailers. It also facilitated supply chain access to retailers and launched standardized local brands for the mass consumers.
“CoutLoot not only enables retailers to scale up business but also empower the same with the right supply chain directly from factories. We also empower promising, small offline stores to grow to large, standardized CoutLoot-powered stores via technology and allied services,” he adds.
Opportunities and Expansion
Sustaining top-notch supply chains and standardizing small non-grocery retail stores are actually the biggest opportunity in the segment. CoutLoot is trying to bring efficiencies to non-grocery segment that are similar to the transformation grocery has seen with Dmart.
“Our aim is to hit Rs 20 Cr of monthly revenue in the next two quarters with sound margins and scale up from there. We will launch 5 of our local brands in each subcategory and enable 100 offline-powered CoutLoot stores in the next 3 quarters, thus taking the tally to about 200 stores by the end of the fiscal while crossing 40mn users on our platform,” Jasmeet Thind concludes.
The retail sector is replete with jargon and acronyms that can seem daunting at first. One such commonly used acronym is FMCG. With Indian Retailer's authoritative and insightful lens, let us dive in and demystify what FMCG means in the context of retail.
FMCG stands for 'Fast Moving Consumer Goods'. These are products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost. Examples include packaged food, beverages, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs, and other consumables.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods are defined by several shared characteristics:
High Turnover: Given their nature, these products are bought frequently, leading to a fast turnover rate.
Comparatively Low Price: FMCGs are typically priced lower than durable goods, considering their quick purchase cycle and replacement rate.
Short Shelf Life: These goods usually have a short shelf life due to high consumer demand or perishability.
FMCGs constitute a significant portion of a consumer's budget and form the backbone of the retail sector, playing a critical role for the following reasons:
Consumption Frequency & Volume: FMCGs are consumed frequently and hence purchased in high volumes. This regular demand ensures constant turnover for retail businesses.
Revenue Generation: Due to the high volume of sales, FMCGs contribute substantially to the total revenue of a retailer.
Attraction of Footfall: The necessity and demand for these products attract customers, driving overall footfall in retail stores.
Brand Building: Retailers can leverage the sale of FMCG products from well-known brands to build their own reputation and gain customer loyalty.
The FMCG sector, with its high-speed turnover and continuous demand, undeniably forms an essential aspect of the retail industry. The future of the FMCG space is exciting as it continues to evolve in line with consumer behaviour, technological advances, and market dynamics.
With the rise of digital channels and e-commerce, retail is embracing an omnichannel approach towards FMCG. Retailers are exploring online sales strategies alongside traditional distribution channels to capture a larger share of the market.
The FMCG category, with its economic significance and broad influence, is a linchpin in the retail sector. This guide, as part of Indian Retailer's commitment to provide accurate, up-to-date news and analysis, is designed to give both retail professionals and enthusiasts a clear understanding of the FMCG landscape.
Stay ahead in the highly competitive and rapidly transforming world of retail by understanding the key segments like FMCG that shape its course.
As the retail industry continues to evolve with technology, terms like EAS or 'Electronic Article Surveillance' are becoming increasingly prevalent. With a firm commitment to accuracy and insight, the Indian Retailer provides a comprehensive guide to understanding this retail security system.
Electronic Article Surveillance, commonly abbreviated as EAS, is a technology-driven loss prevention system used in the retail industry. It involves the usage of electronic security tags or labels that are affixed to merchandise to prevent theft and unauthorized removal of items from a store.
The working of an EAS system can be broken down into three essential components:
Tags/Labels: These are attached to the retail items. They come in two types - hard tags and soft labels. Hard tags are reusable, and they are typically attached to high-value goods. Soft labels, meanwhile, are adhesive and are used for single-use purposes.
Deactivation/ Detachment Devices: These devices are stationed at the point of sale. When a purchase is made, the cashier deactivates the soft labels or detaches the hard tags using these devices.
Detection Systems: These are usually located at the store entrances and exits. These systems can detect active EAS tags that have not been properly deactivated or detached, triggering an alarm.
The merits of an EAS system in a retail setting are multifold:
Theft Deterrent: The foremost advantage of EAS is its theft deterrent capacity. The mere presence of EAS tags and accompanying detection systems can discourage potential shoplifters.
Inventory Management: EAS systems also aid in better inventory management, enabling retailers to monitor and control inventory levels effectively.
Operational Efficiency: By reducing losses and enhancing staff productivity, EAS systems can positively impact a retail store's operational efficiency.
Improved Customer Experience: EAS systems obviate the need for intrusive security methods, thereby fostering a more relaxed shopping environment which can enhance the overall customer experience.
EAS systems have now become an integral part of the retail landscape. While they represent an additional investment, the advantages they confer - from loss prevention to operational efficiency - make them an indispensable tool in the modern retail environment.
As part of the Indian Retailer's ongoing commitment to demystify complex retail concepts and provide up-to-date insights to retail professionals and enthusiasts alike, we hope this comprehensive guide has helped shed light on the meaning and relevance of EAS in the retail sector. The world of retail is ever-changing, and understanding these dynamics is imperative to stay one step ahead.
Amidst India's vibrant cultural tapestry, a crescendo of colors, flavors, and traditions heralds the annual Independence Day celebration. As the nation unites to honor its sovereignty, a different kind of festivity unfolds in the world of commerce – the Independence Day sale. This captivating journey through bustling markets and digital realms sees brands in India orchestrate their patriotic retail symphonies.
Beyond being a commercial event, the Independence Day sale testifies to the ever-evolving landscape of commerce and consumer behavior. Both established and emerging brands embrace the spirit of freedom to create a shopping experience that transcends transactional bounds. As India marks its 77th year of independence, the significance of this sale expands, embodying not just savings but also the pursuit of quality, individuality, and holistic well-being.
Digital commerce platforms like ONDC rise as symbols of inclusivity and collaboration, bridging the gap between major brands and local businesses. The initiative mirrors the unity spirit of Independence Day, granting consumers access to special deals across diverse categories through a single platform. ONDC's commitment to empowerment underscores the symbiotic relationship between brands and consumers.
The changing face of commerce finds expression in strategies by brands like Senco Gold & Diamonds, Lavie and Lavie Sport, and ReshaMandi. These brands offer new designs, celebrating tradition while catering to the evolving preferences of modern Indian consumers.
Aesthetic offerings aside, brands like Aqualens, Myprotein, and mCaffeine underscore well-being and self-care. Aqualens' Freedom Sale opens a gateway to a clearer vision, echoing the idea that freedom extends to how we perceive the world. Myprotein's "Tareeke Anek, Maksad Ek" campaign unites diverse fitness enthusiasts, fostering a healthier nation. mCaffeine's skincare range enhances appearances and empowers individuals to embrace self-care beyond the surface.
While discounts play a significant role, the sale's impact surpasses immediate revenue. It serves as a consumer sentiment barometer, a brand-audience connection opportunity, and a platform for new products. As India readies to celebrate another year of independence, the sale mirrors the nation's vibrant spirit. It embodies freedom, choice, and celebration, emphasizing every individual's right to express preferences, make informed choices, and revel in indulgence. Beyond deals, the Independence Day sale captures a unique moment where brands and consumers unite in celebrating freedom, expression, and connection.
Scroll through to learn more about the brands showcasing these captivating Independence Day sales and their projections for the same.
Joita Sen, Director and Head of Design & Marketing at Senco Gold & Diamonds, reflects on the brand's unique approach, stating, "As India marks the 77th Independence Day, we take this opportunity to celebrate this momentous occasion with our valued customers by introducing a new set of designs in Chains and unveiling the new Mariposa Collection." From the glint of precious stones to the elegance of gold, Senco Gold & Diamonds celebrates independence through the artistry of jewelry, offering patrons a chance to adorn themselves with symbols of freedom.
For Aqualens, the meaning of independence extends beyond political boundaries. Prasun Kumar Dubey, Business Head of Aqualens, articulates, "Independence Day signifies much more than merely a date on the calendar; it embodies a sentiment that Aqualens stands true to 365 days of the year - the sense of freedom - from bulky glasses, blurred vision, and any other form of limitations." Aqualens' Independence Day Freedom Sale boasts discounts of up to 76 percent on their range of contact lenses, offering customers the freedom to see the world clearly.
Nitin Chhabra, CEO of ace turtle, brings denim into the limelight, saying, "We are confident that consumers will purchase their favorite denim brands during the Independence Day sale." Lee and Wrangler's merchandise takes center stage, offering shoppers the chance to embody the timeless allure of denim, a symbol of rebellion and freedom.
Ayush Tainwala, CEO of Bagzone Lifestyle Pvt Ltd, speaks to the power of accessorizing in their Independence Day sale, stating, "With this sale, we're excited to connect with our existing patrons and introduce new enthusiasts into our world." Lavie and Lavie Sport's collection of handbags and accessories empowers individuals to express their unique style, embodying the essence of personal freedom through fashion.
Bala Sarda, Founder and CEO of VAHDAM India, anticipates a positive response from customers, stating, "This presents a significant opportunity for brand growth and reinforces our position as a top choice for quality-conscious consumers." VAHDAM India's sale not only offers premium tea products but also a taste of India's rich heritage and culture.
Centuary Mattresses' expectations for this Independence Sale align with national aspirations - forging connections, celebrating uniqueness, and offering contentment. Uttam Malani, Executive Director, Centuary Mattresses asserts, "This initiative embodies our commitment not just as India's Sleep Specialist, but as companions in your journey toward comfort and well-rested living." Centuary is embracing the spirit of freedom, inviting people to share a picture of their comfort sleeping place, the brand is further giving out 77 gifts to its valued customers, the first prize being Rs 1,00,000.
Anurag Chhabra, Co-Founder of Bevzilla, toasts to the spirit of celebration, stating, "This sale is emblematic of the freedom to choose uncompromising quality and elevate your daily indulgence with flavors we meticulously craft." Bevzilla's sale offers a sensory journey, enticing customers to savor the essence of freedom through expertly crafted beverages.
Soumava Sengupta, CEO of BUILD., envisions a tripled run rate during the Independence Day sale, showcasing the brand's determination to inspire and empower consumers in their pursuit of fitness. BUILD.'s offerings reflect the ethos of strength and resilience that Independence Day represents.
In the world of health and fitness, Myprotein sets the stage for a diverse celebration with its "Tareeke Anek, Maksad Ek" campaign. Sanya Chhabra, Regional Marketing Manager of Myprotein, explains, "Our vision is to create a global health movement and engage Indians to live healthier & more fulfilled lives. Through this campaign, we aim to inspire and bring together individuals from different backgrounds, united by their passion for fitness and love for their country." With the campaign rallying diverse athletes and influencers, Myprotein transforms fitness into a unifying force that mirrors the spirit of Independence Day.
Shilpa Khanna, CEO of Chicnutrix, draws a connection between Independence Day and the evolving shopping landscape, stating, "The Independence Day sale is a key indicator for pacing and purchasing potential influencing subsequent sales - Diwali, Dussehra, and weddings." Chicnutrix's sale not only offers health and wellness products but also serves as a barometer for consumer sentiment and future sales trends.
Ananya Kapur, Founder of Type Beauty, emphasizes the brand's commitment to individuality, asserting, "By being part of this celebratory sale you're not only getting any makeup; you're investing in makeup that not just conceals but heals your skin from within." Type Beauty's sale celebrates the freedom of self-expression, inviting customers to embrace their unique beauty.
mCaffeine's Independence Day sales witnessed unprecedented success, as Vaishali Gupta, Co-founder & Chief Growth Officer, mCaffeine, shares, "We've witnessed an impressive surge in orders, an approximate increase of 30 percent compared to regular sales periods." The brand's caffeinated skincare products empower customers to embrace skincare that not only enhances their appearance but rejuvenates their skin from within, aligning perfectly with the spirit of renewal that Independence Day embodies.
Pooja Nagdev, Founder of Inatur, underscores the brand's commitment to holistic wellness, stating, "We aim to spread awareness about the benefits of using natural and organic products that are both effective and environmentally conscious." Inatur's Independence Day sale extends a hand of self-care, inviting customers to embark on a journey towards healthier, happier lives through natural and organic skincare and wellness solutions.
Prashansa Saha, VP-Design of ReshaMandi, weaves together tradition and modernity, stating, "ReshaMandi takes immense pride in embracing our nation's diverse cultural legacy. Through our captivating array of sarees, each a tribute to timeless arts like Paithani, Madhubani, Kalamkari, Batik, and Shibori, we honor the hands that create." ReshaMandi's sarees become a canvas of heritage, celebrating India's artistic richness.
Luve Oberoi, Senior Marketing Manager of Asahi Kasei, sheds light on the evolving landscape of commerce, stating, "Savvy brands have recognized the power of offering attractive discounts frequently, keeping consumers engaged and intrigued throughout the year." Asahi Kasei highlights the transformation of consumer behavior and the dynamic nature of sales events in the digital age.
As India's Independence Day sale unfolds, a vibrant tapestry of brands, products, and values emerges. From health and fitness to fashion and self-care, each brand weaves a unique narrative that celebrates freedom, expression, and connection. Through discounts and deals, these brands amplify the spirit of independence, forging a deeper bond with consumers and creating a legacy that extends far beyond the confines of a sale.
‘Less is more’, ‘never give in, never give up’, ‘persistence’… these may sound like clichés but are, in fact, the success mantras of the top D2C founders who graced the cover of the Special D2C 100 issue of the Retailer magazine. Talking during a fireside chat at the D2C 100 Summit of the Entrepreneur Show 2023, the four founders - Bala Sarda, CEO & Founder, VAHDAM; Ankit Garg, CEO & Co-Founder, Wakefit; James Wellwood, Founding Partner, Urbanic; and Sahil Dharia, CEO & Founder, Paree Sanitary Pads - Soothe Healthcare, spoke about how they disrupted the traditional platforms and charted their stupendous success stories.
Elaborating on the global tea market, which is dominated by the wellness revolution, especially after the Covid pandemic, Sarda emphasized, “A lot of people are not consuming the traditional Indian chai but have moved towards green teas, herbal teas, infused with superfoods, etc. The other category is the lifestyle consumer who is consuming functional teas for health benefits, such as stress management and inflammation, and much more. This is the category that will drive growth in the tea market, for the young consumer who is well-traveled, has a sizable disposable income, and is aware of the product.
For Urbanic, their strategy to select a new market depends on where they can make the most impact. “We scout countries where we can offer premium high-quality fashion, in European designs, at an affordable cost. So India and Mexico, where we are now venturing, fit perfectly with our philosophy,” elaborated Wellwood.
Soothe’s journey began with education about women’s menstrual hygiene. “Our three pillars for expansion are first access and distribution; second the affordability – we can manufacture 1 billion sanitary pads. That’s the scale of the high-tech technology which we have invested in for the brand. It can produce 1000 pads per minute! Third is awareness, we deal in the world of taboos, so mobile phones are our tools for disseminating correct content,” explained Dharia.
Mattresses were a traditional brick-and-mortar retail category, but Wakefit managed to disrupt the vertical and today have managed to become a leading furniture and mattress brand. Adopting an omnichannel expansion, Garg said that the key to their instant success was the D2C channel wherein they interacted directly with the consumer. “The customer-friendly policy, after-sales service, and designing products based on customer feedback, all contributed to our story.”
The Special issue was unveiled amidst much fanfare and marked a significant step in acknowledging the remarkable achievements and future potential of the D2C movement in India. The summit, graced by industry titans, entrepreneurs, investors, and enthusiasts alike, was met with excitement and anticipation, as attendees gathered to witness a comprehensive overview of the brands that were reshaping India’s retail industry and forever changing the way we shop, consume, and experience products and services. The special issue, meticulously curated by Team Retailer, showcased a diverse array of brands that have harnessed the power of technology, data analytics, and consumer insights to thrive in a competitive market.
In today's fast-paced digital era, where online shopping has become the norm, it is crucial to acknowledge the environmental impact of e-commerce. As conscious consumers, we have a responsibility to support sustainable practices that promote a greener and more ethical approach to online shopping. Sustainable e-commerce is not just a trend; it is the need of the hour. By embracing sustainable practices, we can create a positive impact on the planet and ensure a better future for generations to come.
One of the primary areas where e-commerce can reduce its environmental footprint is through green packaging initiatives. Businesses should prioritize the use of recyclable or biodegradable packaging materials to minimize waste. By optimizing packaging size and reducing excess materials, we can lower shipping emissions and save costs. Encouraging customers to reuse or recycle packaging further enhances sustainability efforts and reinforces our commitment to a greener planet.
In addition to green packaging, a transparent and ethical supply chain is vital for sustainable e-commerce. It is crucial to partner with suppliers who uphold fair labor practices, respect human rights, and adhere to environmental regulations. By conducting thorough audits and certifications, we can ensure ethical sourcing. Supporting responsible suppliers contributes to sustainable development and fosters a positive impact on communities and the environment.
Another significant aspect of sustainable e-commerce is reducing carbon emissions. We must explore options to optimize our transportation and delivery processes. Utilizing hybrid or electric vehicles, consolidating shipments, and leveraging route optimization technologies can help minimize emissions. Offsetting carbon footprints through investments in renewable energy projects or reforestation initiatives further enhances sustainability efforts. Transparently communicating these initiatives to consumers empowers them to make conscious choices and supports brands committed to reducing their carbon footprint.
Empowering consumers with knowledge about sustainable e-commerce practices is essential. Brands should provide clear information about their sustainability initiatives, eco-friendly product options, and ethical brands they partner with. Incorporating sustainability labels or certifications helps consumers make informed choices. Educating customers about the importance of responsible consumption, such as opting for longer-lasting products or repairing instead of replacing, encourages a shift towards a more sustainable e-commerce ecosystem.
Embracing a circular economy approach is instrumental, hence we must prioritize product durability, repairability, and recyclability. Encouraging customers to return or recycle products at the end of their life cycle enables the recovery and reuse of valuable resources. Implementing take-back programs and promoting resale platforms or rental services can extend product lifespans and minimize waste generation. Adopting a circular economy mindset not only reduces environmental impact but also fosters a more sustainable and cost-effective business model.
Thus, sustainable e-commerce is not just an option but an urgent need in today's time. By prioritizing these points, we can transform the e-commerce industry into a force for positive change. So, we need to embrace sustainable practices, work together, and pave the way for a greener future in e-commerce. By doing so, we can create a harmonious balance between our shopping habits and the well-being of our planet.
About the Author
Naina Ruhail, Founder and Co-CEO, Vanity Wagon
In a world brimming with boundless possibilities, the birth of a new-age product marks the genesis of a captivating journey - an odyssey from inception to consumer's hearts. This voyage blends the artistry of creativity with the shrewdness of marketing prowess, all while weaving a tale that unfolds through carefully orchestrated stages. Join us as we embark on this enthralling expedition, where ideas evolve into tangible marvels, delighting the world with their brilliance.
At the core of every remarkable product lies the seed of an idea - an ember of genius that ignites the fire of creation. Here, amidst the strategic contemplation of tangible and intangible pros and cons, we explore the fertile ground of brand extension, business contribution, and diversification. As we venture into uncharted territory, the imagination blossoms, giving birth to concepts that beckon us toward new horizons.
No journey toward innovation is complete without the guiding light of research. Immersed in a vast sea of data, we glean insights from the voices of our customers, scour the vast expanse of Google and marketplace searches, and derive wisdom from the ancient tomes of white papers and industry reports. With each nugget of knowledge, we uncover hidden opportunities, fueling the flame of innovation.
Here in the realm of concept creation, the product's soul is laid bare - wrapped in the artistry of packaging, formulations, actions, ingredients, and utility. Every brushstroke of creativity adds depth to its character, while each carefully chosen element weaves a narrative that captivates the senses. The product emerges, embodying the vision of its creators and leaving the world spellbound in anticipation.
A pivotal moment in the journey, the proof of concept bridges the chasm between imagination and reality. It is here that we bring forth the closest semblance to the actual product - a testament to the tenacity of our vision. With each stroke of precision, we paint a masterpiece of promise, offering a tantalizing glimpse of the product's potential.
Innovation bows to the altar of quality, and thus the proof of concept undergoes meticulous testing. Rigorous assessments and certifications of products and formulations ensure that our creation meets the highest standards of excellence. It is through this crucible of scrutiny that our vision gains its unwavering integrity. This also involves pre-approvals related legalities of the product and service.
As the puzzle pieces align, meticulous planning and skillful production take the stage. The product's grand vision metamorphoses into a tangible reality, as the wheels of progress churn with unyielding precision. Behind the curtains of production, a symphony of dedication and expertise orchestrates the harmonious birth of the final product.
With the stage set, the curtains rise for the grand spectacle of go-to-market. Here, the magic of photography, video, and written content planning unfolds, casting a mesmerizing spell upon the audience. Expertly choreographed shelf placements and trade arrangements take center stage, while consumer testers and samples beckon eager participants to partake in the wonder. Offers and schemes add a flourish of excitement, kindling desire amongst the masses.
In the grand symphony of marketing, media planning wields the baton, guiding the crescendo of consumer desire. With a compelling call to action, the product's narrative echoes across various channels, captivating hearts and minds alike. Strategic placements ensure that the message resounds far and wide, enticing all who hear it to partake in the marvel.
Every journey is a learning experience, and customer feedback serves as a compass, guiding us toward growth and refinement. Embracing this invaluable insight, we evolve our product, ensuring that it continues to resonate with the ever-changing desires of our audience. This iterative process births continuous innovation, cementing the product's place in the hearts of those it serves.
the new-age product journey is not just some ordinary Stage-Gate Process but a tale of relentless passion and unwavering dedication. It is a testament to the limitless possibilities that arise when creativity intertwines with marketing brilliance. As the product's allure enthralls consumers, it embarks on a transformative quest, enriching lives and redefining industries. Through each stage of this epic odyssey, we glimpse the boundless potential of human ingenuity - a beacon guiding us toward an inspiring future where innovation knows no bounds.
Brand Manager, Denver for Men
A seasoned Brand Manager with a decade-long track record of driving brand success. With an MBA in Marketing, B.Sc in PCM, Marketing Analytics Certification from SPJIMR and Digital Marketing certification from ISB, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.
As the brand custodian for Denver for Men, he has played a pivotal role in elevating the brand to new heights. He is the driving force behind numerous projects, from NPD and go-to-market strategies to ATL and BTL campaigns, and Marketing Research initiatives. He has also been the driving force behind Denver's D2C platform, denverformen.com, which has seen tremendous growth under his leadership. His innovation and vision have led to the successful launch of the Denver Grooming range and the Exclusive SRK Autograph Collection Perfume Range. Moreover, his digital and PR campaigns have earned widespread acclaim and industry recognition.
In the intricate world of retail, understanding industry-specific terminologies can empower businesses to manage their operations more effectively. One such term that plays a critical role in inventory control and supplier management is GRN or Goods Received Note. It's a fundamental part of both retail and wholesale business operations. Through our commitment to delivering well-researched, authoritative insights, let's delve deeper into the concept of GRN.
GRN stands for Goods Received Note. It is a document used by the receiving department of a company to record the goods received from a supplier. The GRN provides an official record of goods received into the warehouse or stockroom and confirms the receipt of ordered items.
In retail, the GRN plays a multi-faceted role. Beyond confirming the receipt of goods, it also serves various other purposes:
Inventory Management: It acts as a checklist for received goods and helps in keeping track of inventory.
Supplier Payment: It is often used by the accounts department to authorize supplier payments.
Audit Purposes: A well-maintained GRN system can serve as a reliable audit trail for physical verification and discrepancy resolution.
A GRN can vary across organizations, but a comprehensive GRN usually includes:
Date of receipt
Purchase Order number
Description of goods
Any discrepancies between ordered and received goods
Though the GRN is a simple concept, its successful implementation requires a systematic approach:
Digitization: Using a computerized system can streamline the GRN process, providing real-time tracking and reducing paperwork.
Staff Training: Regular training of staff to record and verify the arrival of goods promptly can ensure accurate inventory management.
Audit Controls: Establishing a frequent auditing system can help identify discrepancies early and take corrective action.
The Goods Received Note (GRN) plays a vital role in the operations of sellers, serving various purposes:
Delivery Acknowledgment: A GRN spells out a clear acknowledgement of goods delivered by the supplier to the customer. It ensures that the delivery is completed as per the contractual agreement.
Payment Documentation: GRN is often used as a reference document by customers for making payments. The supplier attaches the GRN to the invoice before sending it back to the buyer.
Record Keeping: With a GRN, sellers can maintain internal records to confirm that the agreed-upon goods were delivered. It acts as a proof of delivery.
Discrepancy Resolutions: If any disputes arise regarding the delivery, a GRN provides a detailed record that can help sides to identify and resolve these issues.
In the age of digital transformation, traditional GRNs have given way to e-GRNs or Electronic Goods Received Notes. These provide enhanced accuracy, real-time updates, and faster processing times. As businesses become more tech-driven, the adoption of digital processes like e-GRNs will become a norm rather than an exception.
In conclusion, understanding and managing a Goods Received Note or GRN could contrive a significant difference in inventory management in retail operations. Its efficiency in tracking and authorizing supplies can lead to successful business operations.
Our commitment to providing authoritative, insightful, and comprehensive understanding of retail operations helps professionals stay abreast of fundamental concepts like GRN. Stay tuned for more posts where we continue to demystify business-critical terminologies and their role in an evolving retail landscape.
In the proliferating retail industry, a myriad of terminology and retail formats governs operations. One such term you might frequently encounter is EBO, or Exclusive Brand Outlets. It's a pivotal retail concept, particularly for brands seeking to establish a strong presence in the marketplace. As a brand that maintains an in-depth and comprehensive perspective of the retail ecosystem, we're here to provide you with a thorough understanding of EBOs.
EBO in Retail stands for "Exclusive Brand Outlets".
EBO stands for Exclusive Brand Outlets. These are retail spaces owned by a single brand, showcasing and selling only its own products. They represent the most direct channel for brands to connect with their customers, offering the brand's complete catalog and, often, its newest and most exclusive items.
EBOs have evolved substantially over time. Initially, they emerged as a way for brands to gain greater control over product presentation and customer experience. However, their role has broadened to encompass an entire spectrum of multifaceted retail strategy objectives:
They serve as a platform to offer an immersive brand experience.
They act as a touchpoint for unique customer service.
They function as a valuable source of direct customer feedback.
EBOs hold a significant place in the retail landscape — and for good reason:
Brand Control: EBOs provide complete control to brands over merchandise, in-store experience, and staff training.
Customer Experience: Through EBOs, brands can offer customers an immersive experience, strengthening brand loyalty.
Profit Margin: Direct sales from EBOs often carry higher profit margins as there are no intermediary distribution costs involved.
Market Presence: EBOs enhance a brand's visibility and market presence, offering a physical experience that online shopping cannot replicate.
With the surge in e-commerce, you may wonder about the relevance of EBOs. However, data shows that physical retail remains a significant player in the retail spectrum. In this omnichannel age, EBOs, coupled with online sales, can offer a holistic, integrated retail experience. This blended approach, often referred to as 'phygital', is marking the future for retail, thus ensuring that EBOs will remain a central component of retail strategy.
From their origin to their modern incarnation, Exclusive Brand Outlets, or EBOs, have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in the retail sector. With their ability to foster brand loyalty, enhance customer experience, and generate valuable data, EBOs represent a potent strategic tool for any brand looking to make its mark in the retail landscape.
Through our extensive network of industry experts and commitment to delivering accurate and insightful information, we hope this comprehensive understanding of EBOs arms you with valuable insights into the dynamic world of retail.
Stay tuned for more deep-dives into retail concepts and strategies, as we continue to bring you well-researched and authoritative content designed to empower your retail journey.
SKU Full Form in Retail: Stock Keeping Unit
In the intricately designed framework of the retail industry, a multitude of codes, acronyms, and terms specific to the sector are frequently encountered. One such term that has gained significant prominence, acting as an integral part of effective retail inventory management, is SKU or 'Stock Keeping Unit'. This comprehensive guide aims to enlighten retail professionals about SKU's full form, its implementation in retail, its escalating significance, and its potential in driving operational efficiency.
'SKU' - 'Stock Keeping Unit' is a unique mix of alphanumeric characters assigned to products with an objective to track inventory. This unique identification system ensures streamlined handling of merchandise and simplifies complex business operations.
Underneath the sequence of characters, SKU encapsulates vital information about the product, including size, color, brand, style, and price. Hence, each SKU is unique to a particular product variant, thus distinguishing it from the rest in the inventory.
SKUs are more than mere sequences of numbers and letters. They are duly recognized as dependable tools in the inventory management process, impacting distinct aspects of a retail business's operation.
Inventory Management: SKUs help retailers maintain a balanced inventory by enabling them to track the quantity of each product type accurately. As a consequence, both overstocking and understocking scenarios can be effectively prevented, nurturing a profitable retail environment.
Product Identification: SKUs act as a differentiator, furnishing details of size, color, brand, etc. They facilitate easy identification and management of products within the large gamut of inventory.
Sales Analysis: SKUs are instrumental in driving data-based decision-making in retail. Analysis of product-wise sales guided by SKUs allows for informed decisions concerning product assortment, pricing balance, attractive promotions, and product replenishment.
Product Placement: Retailers can bolster SKU sales through strategic placement of high-performing SKUs, ensuring maximum visibility to customers and pull prospects.
Typically, an SKU consists of an alphanumeric code that captures diverse product features succinctly. For instance, consider the SKU - 'WJE24-BLU-M':
'WJE' could represent 'Women's Jeans'
'24' could indicate the size,
'BLU' could suggest the color blue,
'M' may signify the mid-rise style.
This coded system helps retailers accurately track each product variant within their inventory. However, the creation and arrangement of SKUs can significantly vary based on an establishment's unique retail strategies and preferences.
Effective SKU management demands a delicate balance - too many SKUs can lead to complications in tracking and management. The following practices can help retailers manage SKUs efficiently:
Clear and Consistent Coding: Keep SKU coding clear, simple, and user-friendly to facilitate quick recall and decoding.
Avoid Special Characters: To prevent potential confusion and software compatibility issues, use only alphanumeric characters in SKU creation.
Regular SKU Review: Implement periodic SKU audits to phase out underperforming SKUs. It helps in maintaining an active, profitable inventory while preventing stagnation.
SKU, or 'Stock Keeping Unit', is more than an industry acronym—it's a cornerstone of successful inventory management and efficient merchandising. When employed adroitly, it endows retailers with a comprehensive understanding of inventory health, identifying product performance leverages and spotting emergent sales trends— all of which are critical data points for intelligent decision-making in retail.
Armed with an understanding of SKU management's tenets, retailers can employ this critical tool to optimize their operations, thereby maximizing their profitability. Accordingly, it's safe to conclude: What's in a SKU? As it turns out, quite a lot!
Backed by a wealth of knowledge, expertise of seasoned retail experts, and a dedicated commitment to providing an enlightening, accurate, and comprehensive view of the dynamic retail landscape, Indian Retailer brings a continual flow of industry updates and meticulous content on various facets of retail. Be sure to keep an eye out for more of such insightful, data-centric coverage and in-depth industry analysis.
We, at Indian Retailer, aspire to share our knowledge and expertise by delivering a comprehensive understanding of the fast-paced retail industry. As an authority in the field, we aim to provide insight, analysis, and guidance for budding retail entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike. Today, our focus lies on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - the cornerstone of effective retail management.
KPI, which stands for Key Performance Indicator, may initially seem like a complex concept. However, as you read on, you will find it is an essential and straightforward method of monitoring, evaluating, and optimizing retail performance. Allow us to guide you through the world of KPIs so that you can harness their potential to steer your retail business towards success.
KPIs are quantifiable measurements that demonstrate how effectively a business is achieving its objectives. They can be employed at different organizational levels, from evaluating the entire company's performance to assessing specific departments, teams, or individual employees. In the retail landscape, KPIs serve as invaluable tools that give the business owner critical insights into their operations, paving the way for continuous improvement.
While there is a multitude of KPIs available, the key lies in identifying those crucial to the retail sector. Here are six essential retail KPIs that should be on every retailer's radar:
Sales Revenue: This fundamental retail KPI reflects the total sales revenue generated within a specific period. It offers insights into the business's financial health and its capability to generate profit.
Gross Margin: This KPI calculates the remaining revenue after deducting the cost of goods sold (COGS). It measures the profitability of the individual products you sell.
Inventory Turnover: This KPI measures how many times a business has sold and replaced inventory during a certain period, providing a yardstick for merchandising effectiveness and pricing strategy.
Foot Traffic: Particularly important for brick-and-mortar retailers, foot traffic denotes the number of customers who enter your store. An increase in foot traffic often indicates the success of your marketing and promotional efforts.
Sales per Square Foot: This metric demonstrates the average revenue a retail business generates for every square foot of sales space. It is useful for assessing store layout efficiency and the effectiveness of product placement.
Conversion Rate: This KPI measures the percentage of store visitors who make a purchase. A key objective for retail businesses, an increasing conversion rate indicates success in getting customers to make purchases.
Understanding the role of KPIs in the retail sector is just the beginning. The value of these indicators lies in their regular analysis, enabling businesses to:
Identify Strengths & Weaknesses: Consistent monitoring of KPIs helps identify areas where the business excels and areas requiring improvement.
Set Realistic Retail Goals: Understanding your current performance allows you to establish targeted goals for your retail business.
Formulate Strategies: KPIs inform strategic planning and decision-making, ensuring alignment between business goals and store operations.
Evaluate Performance & Adjust: Analyzing KPI trends and making the necessary operational and strategic adjustments drive growth and profitability.
Incorporating Key Performance Indicators into your retail management practices is an indispensable step towards realizing your business's full potential. Embrace these powerful tools to establish a strong foundation for continuous improvement and sustained success.
At Indian Retailer, we are committed to offering well-researched, data-driven insights that empower retail professionals and enthusiasts. As you embark on your retail journey, rest assured that our extensive network of experts is here to guide you every step of the way. Stay connected for more valuable knowledge, and together, let us shape the future of the retail landscape.
India is one of the largest dairy markets and milk producers in the world with a relatively small cheese market. The joint venture of Britannia and Bel in November 2022 became a watershed moment for cheese. India is a price-sensitive market, and the conglomerate is on a fast track with their highly economic creamy cheese sachet worth Rs 10. Abhishek Sinha, CEO, Britannia Bel Foods, elaborates the plan.
“By leveraging the established credibility and trust associated with both brands, the collaboration enables us to diversify our product offerings and expand our reach in the cheese category,” said Sinha. Combining Britannia’s distribution capabilities and Bel’s expertise in delivering innovative cheese products, the joint venture aims to provide with a diverse range of nutritious cheese products that align with their dietary needs and taste preferences.
New Branding and Growth Plan
The new brand identity for the Britannia The Laughing Cow product range, announced through a Digital Video Campaign (DVC), integrates ‘The Laughing Cow’ logo. This will be a part of all integrated marketing communication touch points for the brand across packaging, online platforms and marketing collaterals.
Similarly, the marketing campaign for the venture will employ a comprehensive multi-touchpoint strategy with a data-driven approach, leveraging digital platforms as the primary promotional channel. While digital platforms promise a more personalised approach towards the target group, branding at store levels will also drive product visibility.
“In the case of cheese sales in India, both modern trade and e-commerce platforms play a significant role. These channels will continue to be our primary focus as they offer substantial opportunities,” he added. Talking about introducing the product to an audience for the first time, Sinha harped on the importance of awareness about protein intake, especially for children.
Blending Merits of Both Brands
Britannia is India’s leading food company with a legacy of over 100 years. With their owned manufacturing facilities, Britannia will ensure greater control over innovation, quality, and cost to its consumers, while providing world-class manufacturing capability, robust technology, and an efficient back-end operating mechanism.
Relying on Bel’s expertise on innovation suited to Indians in retail and OOH channels, the joint venture will produce mainly locally at a new plant currently being set up. Britannia’s and BEL’s aim to co-develop India’s nascent cheese category will have Bel accelerating its international development, particularly in Asia.
The team with Britannia has already made significant headway through activities propagating healthy and fun ways of daily protein consumption. "On National protein day, we had launched a campaign that talks about our protein-rich cheese through the launch of #StartStrongProtein campaign. The new identity communication continues to talk about protein-rich qualities of deliciously creamy cheese that Britannia The Laughing Cow offers," Sinha concluded.
Amidst the ever-evolving global economic landscape, India and the United States have fostered a robust trade relationship that continues to flourish. Agriculture, a vital component of this bilateral trade, has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, setting new records and forging promising partnerships. In a candid conversation with Indian Retailer, Ron Verdonk, Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, the Embassy of the United States of America explored the dynamics of this burgeoning collaboration and the challenges and opportunities it presented.
Verdonk shed light on the remarkable strides made in agricultural trade between India and the United States. In 2022, the value of agriculture-related trade surpassed a whopping $8 billion, while the overall trade, including manufactured goods and services, approached $180 billion. With increasing income and economic growth in India, both countries hold immense potential for deeper economic ties.
Import Export Ties
The two countries share a diverse range of agricultural products in their trade. “For the US, the single most significant export to India is almonds, primarily from California, amounting to over $800 million. Additionally, tree nuts such as pistachios are also gaining popularity in India's market. The US also exports cotton, especially the extra-long staple variety, which India uses in its textile industries. On the other hand, India's most substantial agricultural export to the US was the farm-raised shrimp, which accounted for over $3 billion last year. India also ships various spices and basmati rice, a favorite variety among US consumers. These exchanges are vital for both nations as they cater to the unique demands of their markets,” he elaborated.
Recently, Northwest Cherry Growers (NWCG), a trade association based in the state of Washington in the US launched their promotion campaign in India to introduce Norwest Cherry to the discerning health-conscious Indian consumers. While launching the campaign, Verdonk remarked that food was an important part of India – US trade, “I am pleased that freshly-picked cherries from our Pacific Northwest are now added to the basket. I am confident that Indian consumers will love the quality and taste of these cherries that are considered amongst the best in the world.”
Another surprising US import to India was ethanol. Since in the country, all the ethanol is produced from sugarcane, the corn-produced variety is fetched from across the world. “All the ethanol we produce comes from corn as opposed to Brazil, where all the ethanol they produce comes from sugar cane. We ship ethanol here every year for use in industrial products – from solvents, paint to pharmaceutical products. Then of course for the production of alcohol,” he said.
While the agricultural trade between India and the United States has witnessed impressive growth, it still faces certain challenges and barriers. Verdonk pointed out the impact of retaliatory tariffs imposed by India in 2019 on US products such as apples, almonds, and walnuts, which significantly affected their exports to India.
Additionally, the pandemic and increasing shipping costs further complicated the trade dynamics. He added, “In the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Washington, it was decided to revoke the retaliatory tariffs that were in place since 2019. These retaliatory tariffs substantially diminished US apple exports from $175 million to $5 million in 2022!”
India and the United States have a long history of collaboration in agriculture, dating back to the Green Revolution. In recent times, partnerships have flourished in areas such as seed genetics, research, and educational exchanges. Technology transfer and knowledge-sharing are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of this partnership.
To bolster agricultural productivity and overcome challenges, technology and innovation play a crucial role. The integration of modern biotechnological advancements and mechanization can boost agricultural yields and improve overall efficiency. However, there exists reluctance regarding the use of biotechnology in agriculture, despite India's successful application of biotech in pharmaceuticals.
According to Verdonk, one of the key challenges for India was the population size and the number of people that were employed by the agricultural sector, and therefore the introduction of technology that cuts down on human involvement was difficult and slow. Hybrid seeds and biotechnology takes a backseat and there is hesitancy in adopting biotech versions of the seeds. However, the mechanization was increasing and hopefully, shortly, with the composting and better soil, the farmers would start using hybrid seeds to yield top-quality crops.
The furniture industry has experienced a remarkable transformation in recent years, thanks to rapid technological developments. Innovations have not only enhanced the design and functionality of furniture but have also introduced novel materials that redefine aesthetics and durability. Here, we set out to explore some cutting-edge technological advancement in the furniture sector. Leading brands across India and the world have continually pushed boundaries to create extraordinary products that elevate interior spaces.
1. Advanced Laminates: A Fusion of Form and Function
In today's furniture landscape, laminates have taken center stage due to their exceptional versatility and design possibilities. Advanced manufacturing techniques have enabled the production of high-pressure laminates, characterized by superior strength, durability, and resistance to wear and tear. These laminates boast an impressive array of textures and finishes, catering to a wide range of aesthetic preferences.
Incorporating the latest advancements in material science, premium laminates have evolved to mimic the appearance of natural wood, stone, and other textures with remarkable accuracy. Moreover, these laminates are engineered to withstand the harshest environmental conditions, making them an ideal choice for both residential and commercial settings.
Engineered surfaces with mineral components that significantly increase wear resistance, and components that elevate the tactile experience of textures are gaining popularity.
2. Metallic Surface Solutions: Unleashing Creativity
Metallic surface solutions have ushered in a new era of creativity and luxury in the furniture industry. The fusion of real metal with innovative laminates has unlocked a world of possibilities, allowing designers to craft unique pieces that exude opulence and sophistication.
Some of the popular metallic laminates in the market are manufactured by using real metal foils. These high pressure laminates use several layers of Kraft paper fused with melamine thermosetting resin to deliver exceptional finish and quality. These surfaces boast a captivating sheen, making them ideal for adding a touch of glamor to furniture and interior spaces. Furthermore, they offer practical benefits, such as scratch and abrasion resistance, ensuring longevity without compromising on aesthetics.
3. Sustainable Initiatives: Nurturing a Greener Future
If a leap in technology comes at the price of the environment and its resources, then it isn't good enough in the first place. Fortunately, global brands are not solely focused on aesthetics and performance but also on sustainability. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their choices, driving manufacturers to explore eco-friendly alternatives.
In line with this global trend, brands behind these groundbreaking surface solutions have been committed to sustainable practices. Embracing innovative recycling techniques and utilizing renewable resources, manufacturers have made significant strides towards reducing their carbon footprint. As a result, customers can now furnish their spaces with a clear conscience, knowing that they are contributing to a greener future.
The furniture industry is experiencing a technological revolution, with a focus on elevating design, functionality, and sustainability. The combination of advanced laminates, metallic surface solutions, and eco-friendly practices is reshaping the way we perceive and interact with furniture. Companies leading this transformation have been at the forefront of the furniture revolution, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of surface materials.
As the industry continues to evolve, we can expect to witness even more remarkable advancements that redefine the way we furnish and design interior spaces. With a commitment to excellence and a passion for enhancing everyday living, global players shall continue to inspire creativity and elevate the furniture industry to new heights.
A leader par excellence, Mr. Khurana holds more than three decades of experience in furniture solutions, building materials, automotive and industrial products with a proven success in cultivating and leading MNC organisations.
Gifting has evolved into a means of expressing admiration, gratitude, and enthusiasm that has become deeply rooted in both our everyday routines and our cultural norms. It serves as a way to convey these emotions in various settings, whether personal or professional. Employing imaginative wrapping, customized messages, and boxes adorned with distinct engravings all contribute to elevating the act of gifting, rendering it more individualized and emotionally connected.
Gifts World Expo 2023, India's foremost exhibition showcasing gifting and promotional solutions, offered a highly advantageous opportunity, serving as a profitable platform, catering not only to established brands operating within the B2B gifting sector but also to emerging start-ups aiming to expand their gifting enterprises. In recent times, gifting has assumed new dimensions, driven by technological advancements, evolving cultural norms, and an increased emphasis on personalization and eco-consciousness. This article highlights the latest gifting trends, which were viewed at Gifts World Expo 2023.
Personalization Beyond Conventional Bounds: Personalized gifts have long been a mainstay, but their contemporary iteration surpasses simple monogramming. Modern personalization extends to tailored experiences, where the gift serves as not just an object, but a reflection of the recipient's individuality, passions, and memories. From meticulously curated subscription boxes to handcrafted bespoke creations, personalization has reached an unprecedented zenith.
Healthy Gifting: As the tradition of gift-giving continues to evolve, a new trend has emerged that aligns with the growing emphasis on health and well-being. Healthy gifting, an offshoot of the broader gifting landscape, underscores the desire to express care and affection while promoting the recipient's health and happiness. As a leader in the gifting industry, Pansari Group is thrilled to showcase its range of healthy gifting ideas. In a departure from traditional gifting norms, Pansari Group's gift products are consumable and also promote a healthy lifestyle. This unique approach resonates with the modern consumer who seeks meaningful and health-conscious gift options. Moreover, the group's products offer incredible value for money, ensuring every gift is truly treasured by recipients.
Shammi Agarwal, Director, Pansari Group said, “At Pansari Group, we believe in redefining the art of gifting by offering innovative and healthy solutions that resonate with the modern lifestyle. Our commitment to provide healthy eating choices, backed by a stellar track record of customer satisfaction, is definitely going to leave a lasting mark on Gifts World Expo 2023.”
Integration of Technology in Gifting: Given the ubiquity of technology, it comes as no surprise that it has permeated the realm of gifting. From digital greeting cards featuring interactive elements to app-controlled smart devices, technology-infused gifts introduce an element of novelty and convenience. These offerings bridge the gap between the physical and digital domains, enhancing the overall gifting encounter.
Embracing Experiential Gifting: Material possessions are no longer the exclusive focus of gift-giving. Experiences have gained significant traction as cherished gifts. This trend encompasses presenting spa getaways, culinary workshops, concert tickets, and even virtual encounters like online masterclasses. Experiential gifts forge enduring memories and facilitate a shared bond between the giver and recipient. Tara Candles, the candle producer, showcased a diverse array of gifting and promotional solutions at Gifts World Expo 2023, and Tara Candles, with its unique aroma bars and exquisite scented candles, attracted significant attention from visitors and buyers alike.
Umesh Singh, Co-Founder and Director of Tara Candles, stated, “Our goal has always been to bring the heritage of India to the gifting community and overseas markets through our exquisite candles. The appreciation we received for our products motivates us to continue exploring new avenues and delivering exceptional aromatic experiences.”
Commitment to Sustainability and Ethical Gifting: In an epoch characterized by heightened environmental consciousness, sustainability has emerged as a pivotal consideration in the realm of gifting. Consumers are actively seeking environmentally friendly and ethically sourced gifts, contributing to a positive impact on the planet. Offering reusable products, upcycled items, or supporting fair-trade initiatives are all integral to this burgeoning trend.
Virtual Gifting and E-Gift Cards: The digital epoch has ushered in virtual gifting and e-gift cards, particularly in situations where physical distance presents a hurdle. These gifts provide flexibility and choice to the recipient while minimizing the ecological footprint associated with traditional gifting. Virtual gifting has gained even greater significance amidst the era of remote work and virtual gatherings.
As India's digital landscape continues to evolve rapidly, E-commerce is at the forefront of this transformation. In recent years, India's e-commerce landscape has experienced a remarkable transformation, driven by evolving consumer preferences, technological advancements, and a thriving digital economy.
Shiprocket, an eCommerce enablement platform, launched a detailed trends report titled “eCommerce in the New Bharat and its Future” which aims at decoding the evolving consumer behavior to empower MSMEs with in-depth insights to usher in the era of a rapidly changing e-commerce industry.
The Macro Industry Trends
The e-commerce trends report forecasts that consumer spending in India is expected to be >$4 trillion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of ~10 percent owing to the massive domestic consumer expenditure and consumption market. Moreover, consumer spending on categories of food, housing, apparel, personal care, transport, and communication is expected to increase ~2x by 2030. Evolving consumer habits, high internet penetration, a strong local consumer ecosystem, and technological innovation in consumer products are the main catalysts driving the growth of these categories.
Evolving Consumer Preferences
In terms of consumer preferences, UPI emerged as the most preferred prepay option (57 percent), followed by credit cards (31 percent), and other payment options like wallets, net banking, and debit cards. (12 percent). The extensive consumer survey also inferred that nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer shopping at online marketplaces. Fashion & Accessories (48 percent) stood as the highest shopped category according to the consumers, followed by Electronics (32 percent) and Groceries (30 percent).
According to the data, more than 52 percent of Indian consumers cited ‘quality’ as their most basic expectation from any online shopping site; trust and price stood second and third, respectively. The data also revealed an interesting preference for order tracking. Almost 2/3rd of Indian consumers (68 percent), and 55 percent of international consumers, prefer WhatsApp updates for tracking their online order status.
Business Preferences and Challenges
On the brand front, the report revealed that 40 percent of brands believe all channels combined together drive maximum sales for them rather than only 1 channel (marketplace, website, and social media). In terms of the challenges, 38 percent of brands believe efficient logistics (both domestic and international) is currently the most significant challenge they face, as timely delivery plays a crucial role in determining efficiency. With its seamless end-to-end E-Commerce solutions, Shiprocket continues to empower MSMEs to focus on their core businesses while leaving the complexities of shipping and delivery to the experts.
“We commend the spirit of entrepreneurs and small business owners who drive innovation, provide job opportunities, and promote economic progress. We believe in the power of MSMEs and are committed to empowering them with our tech-driven solutions and being their Partners in Growth,” said said Saahil Goel, CEO & Co-Founder, Shiprocket.
He further adds, “India’s digital economy is set to soar to new heights with MSMEs playing a very important role in the growth of the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision.”
T Koshy, MD, and CEO, ONDC said, “At ONDC our aim is to transform the Indian e-commerce landscape and we strongly believe that MSMEs will play a key role in developing the future of the Indian economy. It is critical for any business to understand the consumer psyche, and this Report will assist MSMEs in understanding their consumers' thought processes, allowing them to make better business decisions in the future.”
Inspired by the likes of Giorgio Armani and Jans Haminet, Peggy Oliver has been a new entrant in the Indian market with opulence and grandeur in glassware. The brand has left an indelible impact on the European and US markets, and have partnered with Reliance Retail for its first splash into probably the most price-sensitive market globally. Vick Rana, Chairman & CEO at Red Ridge Group, discusses the plan for India.
Something for Everyone
Anything we produce, we keep in mind how long will the consumer use our products and what kind of value will they derive out of that,” says Rana. Not limiting to dinnerware, Peggy Oliver is bringing a complete home solution for diverse Indian household needs across home appliances, carpets, door mats, aprons, coffee machines, and a lot more.
One of their remarkable innovations are stainless steel containers such as tiffin boxes that are microwaveable. Then comes their double glass-coated coffee mugs with hot and cold layers for optimum enjoyment. “Our competitors specialize in one kind of products. That is, if they make dinner ware, they don’t diversify. Our international home solution will satisfy all Indian needs at one place with an unprecedented price range in the premium category, encouraging the mass consumers to upscale their style of living with a touch of sustainabilty and class,” he maintains.
Making & Selling in India
Ceramic tableware has witnessed a lot of progress in terms of domestic manufacturing in the last decade. This has given Peggy Oliver a chance to fill a void in the Indian market by fulfilling two essential needs; one being creating high-end home solution products that one would find in overseas markets, and the other being an affordable range that has the high-end look and feel.
This strategy aligns with the demands of the well-traveled consumer base today. “The young consumers are well aware of international brands and their product quality. Their buying power has increased until a decade before. They are adventurous and know which brands apply to their strong ethics of health and quality. Originating in the US, Peggy Oliver has decided to manufacture and sell its products in India for the perfect price-product fit,” he adds..
The target remains similar across territories, which is middle-aged homemakers who want to buy classy glassware for occasional use or for guests. Therefore, the brand has tasted significant success across the US, European, and UK markets with word-of-mouth promotions and brilliant customer feedback on select products such as their coffee mugs. The informed customer base, who don’t differentiate between indoor and outdoor responsibilities, are in for a treat with Peggy Oliver’s unisex ‘Him & Her’ designs.
Understanding the competition, Peggy Oliver is expanding its product categories with iPad cases, cellphone covers, place mats, and storage boxes on the one hand, and experimenting on an everyday ware sub-brand currently. The brand has also got a promising response from the post-covid HoReCa (Hotel, Restaurant, and Canteen) sector in India that is experiencing an upsurge in staycations.
“We’ve booked many orders from this year just by the trade shows. We are pushing sales online and with modern stores. After our project with Reliance, we will launch the brand in other major cities and slowly bring it to tier 2 and 3 markets in India,” Rana concluded.
As the steady shift towards sustainability gains momentum in diverse segments, the nuts, and dry fruits industry is also acknowledging its crucial responsibility in prioritizing sustainable and ethical practices across the entire sourcing, production, and supply chain processes.
During the pandemic, nationwide lockdowns and panic purchases boosted the worldwide demand for dry fruits and nuts due to their long shelf life along with the sheer convenience of storage and consumption. As the global snacking industry records robust growth driven by the sustained evolution in consumer consumption patterns and the increasing popularity of healthy, nutritious snacks, the worldwide dry fruits market is anticipated to rise from $6.28 billion to $8.30 billion between 2021 and 2028, growing by a CAGR of 4.1 percent during this period.
Sustainability across Supply Chains
With ESG (environmental, social, and governance) concerns rising among consumers and other cohorts, the demand for ethically sourced, sustainably grown products is burgeoning each year. Consequently, the dry fruits industry needs to address sustainability issues in maintaining market competitiveness and ensuring customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty. Failure to embrace sustainable farming practices not only exacerbates deforestation, soil degradation, and water scarcity but also impacts local communities and, ultimately, consumer satisfaction levels.
Adherence to ESG norms covers sustainable agriculture practices, ethical use of human resources, and responsible corporate governance protocols. Among varied benefits, sustainable agriculture practices can make sure that natural resources are used responsibly, promoting soil health and biodiversity, minimizing water usage, and limiting pollution levels. In the case of human resources, while addressing the needs of rural communities plus consumer health and safety issues, it ascertains that workers have proper living and working conditions.
Here, the supply chain includes growers, processors, retailers, consumers, and waste managers, all of whom should work in collaboration while adhering to sustainability guidelines. In the case of nuts and fruits, farmer-producers are trained to make efficient use of water. Typically, efficient water usage is practiced by deploying more effective irrigation systems. Additionally, renewable energy sources such as solar power systems are used in farms, irrigation, and production facilities. Nutshells are also used as biomass fuel to generate power while by-products (e.g. husks) are reused as cattle feed, thereby lowering waste and, indirectly, curbing the resulting CO₂ emissions.
Social and Ethical Compliance
Furthermore, there is a renewed focus on social compliance and ethical sourcing of products. Today, social compliance has wider connotations that cover companies’ close attention to relationships with employees alongside the focus on supply chain vendors. As a result, companies are implementing major measures to eliminate unfair, unethical, and hazardous labor practices in supply chains while also ascertaining their employees have a safe and hygienic working ambiance.
Social compliance initiatives are driven not just by altruistic motives but also by the awareness that brand reputation, stakeholder expectations, and consumer loyalties are contingent on being compliant. Local laws apart, the business practices of companies also need to be compliant with internationally-recognized labor norms. Certified programs for sustainable farming practices, care for nature, and conducive working conditions convey to customers that the products they use have been sourced sustainably right across the value chains running from farms to shop shelves.
Moreover, sustainable supply chain systems should be based on transparent practices and standards that are assessed and audited periodically. But traceability of agricultural produce continues to be a hurdle in supply chains, especially in developing geographies.
Traceability Facilitates Responsible Sourcing
In recent years, however, numerous tech solutions have been introduced to enhance traceability, such as blockchain technology. A digital ledger-based technology, blockchain offers a secure, tamper-proof environment to store data. Used in supply chains, blockchain can ensure transparency in entries and the shipment of goods, simultaneously authenticating the veracity of transactions. Such new-age tech tools can also help in detecting child labor and other modern forms of slavery.
Nowadays, responsible sourcing of products does not end with a company’s suppliers but also extends to their vendors’ suppliers. In other words, for a product to be truly considered ethically sourced and compliant with universal labor practices, every player in the supply chain must comply with the laws in letter and spirit.
Eventually, transitioning to sustainable agricultural practices and ethical processes calls for a series of calibrated measures to achieve this goal. By embracing responsible farming techniques, promoting transparent supply chains, adopting certification programs, nurturing cross-company partnerships, and raising customer awareness about ethically produced, socially-compliant products, the nuts, and dry fruits industry can lower its carbon trail significantly while driving enduring brand loyalty.
In turn, this can benefit both the environment and society at large. Therefore, the transition to sustainable practices remains an ethical imperative that will promote the industry’s long-term viability and the overall well-being of the Earth.
About the Author
Akash Sharma, Founder and CEO, Farmley
Akash Sharma is the Founder & CEO of Farmley - a new-age brand revolutionizing the dry fruits & nuts category. An IIT Delhi graduate himself, Akash is passionate about cleaning up the largely unorganized value chain of dry fruits to enable better incomes for farmers as well as to enable better access to quality produce for the end consumer.
Pilot Pen, the globally renowned writing instruments brand, made a grand unveiling of its individual entity status in India, signifying its commitment to a robust distribution network and a formidable presence in the Indian market.
“In the last 40 years being associated with a distributor, we realized the existing constraints - we were taken up as additional business and not promoted as a 100 percent focused product. Now as an individual company, we will have the final say in everything, including advertising, inventory management, distribution, sales as well as every minute detail,” stated GP Srivastava, VP- Sales & Marketing, PPIN Private Limited.
With a vision of providing an exceptional writing experience and setting a benchmark in the industry, Pilot Pen has become one of the fastest-growing companies in its domain. The brand's dedication to meeting international quality standards is evident through its state-of-the-art R&D center equipped with Japanese test and measurement equipment.
Shift Towards Complete Control
Srivastava expressed great excitement about Pilot Pen's launch in India and shared the brand's focus on safety, quality, and efficiency. With a move towards complete control over marketing, inventory management, advertising, public relations, sales, and manufacturing, the brand is looking forward to sustained growth. Having established its manufacturing unit in Manesar, Pilot Pens’ stocks are reaching across the country. Moreover, the company aims to follow a multi-prompt communication strategy, targeting students primarily closely followed by corporate individuals.
“Our main market is the US, China, Japan, Europe. However, we see a lot of potential in India being present in the country since the 1950s. With the help of our local distributor, we have gained a significant market share in the country, and gaining100 percent control now, we aim to grow further within the country,” states Shu Itoh, President, Pilot Japan.
Positive Growth Outlook
Recording a 30 percent YoY growth, Pilot Pen anticipates revenue of over Rs 100 crore by the end of FY 23-24 and aspires for exponential growth in the coming years. The brand's expansion plan includes diversifying the localized product range and tapping into untapped regions in India, with a strategic focus on the youth population.
“In our first month as an individual entity, our focus is to fill the gap of the stock supply that occurred earlier, in the next 6 months we are set to launch 100 products that are already lined up,” added Srivastava.
As technology dominates, Pilot Pen recognized the opportunity to promote the writing culture in India. With a wide range of products, including roller ball pens, foundation pens, ball pens, markers, and more, the brand aims to enhance the quality of writing and provide a seamless experience to Indian customers.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Pilot Pen's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility remains unwavering. The brand pledged to actively contribute to environmental causes and support educational initiatives, further cementing its bond with the Indian community.
PPIN Private Limited wants to create awareness about the Pilot Pen brand to tap into smaller markets effectively. The brand envisions empowering retailers and customers alike.
The Road Ahead
Pilot Pen's journey as an individual entity in India is marked by focused growth and innovation. The brand is set to redefine the writing instruments industry and build lasting relationships with customers, making every writing experience memorable.
In an age of digital dominance, Pilot Pen plans to leverage social media and online platforms to engage with the tech-savvy Indian audience. Digital marketing strategies will be employed to stay connected with the youth and adapt to changing consumer preferences.
Hiroki Kisaichi, MD PPIN Private Limited further added, “Today, 71 percent of the Indian population is using smartphones. The overall economy has grown over the last couple of years. With our wide range of products such as roller ball pens, foundation pens, ball pens, markers, and more, we cater to the diverse needs of customers across India. Our current distribution network is around 60,000 and the target is to touch approximately 1,00,000 in the next 1 to 1.5 years.”
Recognizing India's large youth population, Pilot Pen will target to empower the younger generation through educational initiatives. By partnering with educational institutions and organizations, the brand seeks to promote the significance of writing and creativity among the youth.
Commitment to Customer Satisfaction
With a diverse product range and a strong focus on quality, Pilot Pen is committed to ensure complete customer satisfaction. The brand promises to deliver unmatched writing experiences that leave a lasting impression on its users.
As Pilot Pen takes charge of its distribution and marketing, the brand remains committed to embracing change and adapting to market dynamics. Continuous improvements and customer-centric approaches will be at the heart of its growth strategy.
With a rich legacy of excellence spanning decades, Pilot Pen's individual entity status in India is a testament to its unwavering commitment to providing superior writing instruments. The brand's journey in India is poised for even greater heights and numerous milestones in the years to come.
Save the influencers, celebrities, and those who were always conscious about their appearances, male grooming was almost an oxymoron in India. Beauty, wellness, and grooming were dominated by women clientele, while a lot of hygienic and health concerns for men stayed unattended.
Still, the hubs of entertainment across Mumbai and the NCR region sparked a demand for the same, which encouraged LLoyds Luxuries to bring the oldest barbershop ever, Truefitt & Hill, exclusively for men, to the country in 2014.
Market Growth Post Pandemic
“In India, men’s grooming market is growing at a CAGR of 11% with a market size forecast of INR 31,000 cr. The rate of growth will increase in the next 5-7 years. Globally, the rate of growth is 15%. It’s 11% in India,” says Prannay Dokkania, Managing Director & COO- Lloyds Luxuries Limited., noting the higher growth rate of women’s grooming industry in the last two decades.
What changed was the work-from-home routine during the pandemic, in which virtual meetings provided an opportunity for men to appear as their best professional selves. The trend had already been raging in developed European and American markets, which helped Truefitt & Hill to test the Indian market in the luxury salon space. Dokkania believes that all forms of innovation start getting democratized from the top of the pyramid, and distinguished services such as Truefitt’s will definitely be lapped up by the mass soon.
Within a decade of operations across India, the brand is already seeing its average age bracket of customers get younger from 35+ years to 20-25 years now. Although the brand didn’t provide at-home services during the pandemic, they spread awareness about its 150+ grooming products for men at during lockdown, which got their target audience experiencing products via self-grooming session. “Footfalls and product sales have gone up post-Covid,” states Dokkania.
Differentiating Services in an Emerging Industry
Luxury salon for men still remains a crowded affair wherein even the top 5-star hotels have salons with a minimum of 2-3 chairs for men to enjoy services in company. Truefitt & Hill fills that gap with their private room, a.k.a royal suite, for utmost privacy of the customer.
Another differentiating factor is their membership facility in harmony with the lifestyles of their clientele. “Our membership are accessible anywhere across our locations. That’s because our customers are frequent travelers and need services in one city or the other. It’s also a thoroughly SOP-driven company proliferating in an industry designed for personalized services. Every barber onboarded gets a minimum of a 45-day training, which results in service standardization irrespective of locations,” maintains Dokkania.
Other than color, every customer of Truefitt & Hill gets pampered by products manufactured and imported straight from England. The brand has popularized pre-shave oils, usage of which was unheard in common parlance in the country. Two of their most innovative products are the beard cream with matte finish and car cream, inspired by style statements in the 1920s West, where driving a car with window panes open needed this cream to keep the hair stay in shape.
Global Versus India
From the first flagship store at Khar, Mumbai, to 31 stores in India across 15 cities, Truefitt & Hill has its current global network spread across Bangladesh, Kuala Lumpur, China, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Europe, Middle East, North America, and United Kingdom.
When it comes to customer hot spot in the country, Mumbai takes the biggest share with 9 stores, followed by 6 stores in the NCR region. These two cities will keep contributing likewise because of their density of population, development, and command over about 50% of the domestic beauty market. The brand plans to expand first in NCR, followed by Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
With an array of products from shampoos, conditioners, facial creams, face wash, body soap, shower gel, razors, shaving creams, pre-shave oils and beard oils, Truefitt & Hill has etched its mark in comprehensive male wellness. The hinterlands provide a gateway to growth for the brand with sufficient presence of affluent families and aspirational value. The luxury salon will enter those markets after making its presence felt across developed cohorts.
Think about it: How many of us know about the detrimental effects of the plastic products we employ in our daily routines? How many of us actively seek out and use alternatives? It's not that we lack awareness about the issue; we do acknowledge it. However, a minority of individuals actually use plastic alternatives. Why is that? It's because we are creatures of habit, resistant to change after years of familiarity. The prospect of trying something new instills fear within us.
Recognizing these challenges, we at Loopify embarked on a mission to address the problem. We pondered over how to seamlessly introduce the concept of beautiful plastic alternatives into people's lives. After extensive research spanning several months, we arrived at a solution: gifting.
The insight behind venturing into “Gifting” was to encourage people to make a very easy switch in the gifts you choose – a choice that requires no direct lifestyle change and helps to make a huge impact. Especially with big and small corporates choosing Zero-Plastic gifts, we have been able to make significant strides by creating awareness amongst the masses and encouraging more people to make planet-friendly choices.
With this innovative Zero-Plastic strategy Loopify has emerged as a pioneer in the gifting industry, working diligently to reduce plastic pollution and promote a greener future. In just 3 years, we have sold more than 3,50,000 Zero-Plastic products, resulting in saving over 67,000 Kgs of plastic from going to the landfills and almost 18,000 tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere.
Traditional gifting products and packaging involve a copious amount of plastic products, plastic wrapping, shrink wraps, synthetic ribbons and bubble wrap, which eventually end up in landfills or find their ways to water bodies, choking our planet. Even the so-called Vegan Leather is made from polyester making it non-environment friendly.
Loopify offers a wide variety of unique gift hampers that are curated without sending even a single gram of plastic to the landfills. Each hamper is curated by a team of material scientists that take into account the cradle to grave situation of every product entering the Loopify portfolio. Each product is rated on the Loopify Sustainability Index (LSI), an algorithm that carefully evaluates every aspect of the operations to ensure it aligns with our sustainability goals. However, our endeavor to offer plastic-free alternatives as gifting solutions went beyond mere simplicity. We delved deeper, empathized with user concerns, and devised a unique strategy to address them all:
As we strive for a greener future, Loopify’s commitment to combating plastic pollution is a shining example of how businesses can make a meaningful impact on the environment by making simple and conscious choices. Our success bears testimony to the immense power of purpose-driven entrepreneurship. With innovative strategies, Loopify has averted a substantial amount of plastic pollution by driving a positive change in the gifting industry and inspiring consumers and industry peers alike!
Shweta Jain, associate director, Loopify World, is a seasoned professional with over 12 years of experience in strategy, sales, marketing, and operations. With a strong retail background, she excels in solving complex problems with innovative solutions.
Nowadays kidswear is embracing fashion and creating a trend of its own with the potential to make a statement with an unique style. Keeping the attire casual as much as possible is the new fashion that is enticing the kids these days.
Adopting casual clothes, parents can ace the look with grunge fashion that comes with the ability to create a statement in the summer. Based on the mid-1980s, Seattle fashion, it embraces the summer season by creating contrasting undertones with its unique style. At the same time, grunge fashion bodes well for the warmer months as it is durable and timeless which greatly emphasizes on comfort. Donned in a loose, androgynous manner that de-emphasizes silhouette, it allows children to move freely. Along with this, it is easy to wear that reduces the struggles of dressing up. The grunge fashion is a must for a functional along with versatile wardrobe.
It somewhere disintegrates the stereotypes of dressing boys and girls in a particular way. The fashion is gender-neutral which does not conform to the typical ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’ concept. Understanding the various nuances of grunge suitable for the summer season, let’s look at how to style up for the season casually.
In case the parents are at a loss, wondering how to create a grunge look, going for soft and oversized tees in shades of black and grey is the easiest way to adopt the durable and compelling fashion. Layering it up is one of the simplest tricks to create an impressive cool look.
Flannel is essential in the making of the grunge wardrobe. It is versatile and can be paired in countless styles to create miscellaneous looks. It can easily transform the kid into a rockstar, imitating/ rejuvenating the rock music genre of the 1980s. One can either layer a tee under a flannel shirt while tucking it under the ripped jeans, or they can even layer the tank top over the tee, wearing a side flannel around the waist. Parents can further elevate the look with a multi-colored or spliced pattern for achieving the maximum grunge look.
Cross long sleeve layered T-shirt
One can produce the classic grunge appearance by layering a tee over a long-sleeve top. It can visually pique the crowd's interest by pairing shades of pastels with darker grey.
Shrunken Cotton Graphic Tee
It can simply be called a cropped version of the tee that can be easily matched with high-waisted jeans or mini-skirts. For a more authentic vintage feel, wash the tee a couple of times to soften the fabric for a more casual look.
Denim is a must-have for donning a relaxed look that seamlessly aligns with the resurgence of the grunge style. Wearing ripped jeans with an oversized tee invariably complement each other and bring out the easy-going style seamlessly.
Looking at the rising lure for a casual look, children these days are donning grunge fashion with sheer confidence. Boding well for a cool vibe, it is a go-to summer fashion that complements the season with contrasting undertones of darker tones.
Swati Saraf is the President at Les Petits, and has brought all the high-acclaimed international luxury brands for kids under one umbrella. Given to her niche in the field of luxury clothing, she brings the best fashion from the global trends to the Indian market.
Luxury television has just received a level up with Vu’s massive Masterpiece range. The 98 Masterpiece TV was launched jointly by Devita Saraf, Founder and Chairperson of Vu, and Ranjit Babu, Director, Wireless & TV at Amazon India, at Neuma, Mumbai recently and has become the largest TV in terms of screen size, now available on Amazon stores.
Vu is available in more pin codes online than in offline in India. Commenting about the latest launch, Devita said, “With 1000 Nits brightness, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ support, the massive 98-inch screen brings every frame to life. The design is inspired by private jets and is crafted with 3000 Tensile Aerospace-grade aluminum.In terms of audio, the Masterpiece TV features a built-in 204Watt DJ Subwoofer. Its 100% anti-glare screens and a 120Hz refresh rate enable viewers to enjoy content even in bright, sun-lit rooms without compromising picture quality.”
Vu has consistently been at the forefront of innovation, and their Vu100, a 100-inch television, speaks for itself. The Vu Intelligent TV, which is the world's first TV with a built-in Windows PC, the Vu Super TV, which runs both Windows and Android, and their recent launch of the Vu Premium TV 2023 Edition have further solidified their position as pioneers in innovative luxury televisions.
On Amazon, the brand has successfully sold more than 9,000 QLED TVs priced at over Rs 1.1 lakh. With the market showing maturity, Amazon, stated Devika, has proven its ability to connect with discerning buyers who value quality products. “Our business primarily revolves around the 50-inch category, constituting up to 80% of our sales. The customers opting for our premium offerings have higher purchasing capacity, which is one of the reasons how the brand has tripled its profitability from pre-Covid times,” added Devika.
Talking about the continuing engagement with Vu Televisions, Ranjit reinstated the progress that the US-based brand has made in Indian home entertainment industry via Amazon. “The Masterpiece series has been super successful back in the United States. What is new is that the 98 inch screen size justifies Vu’s entrance into the ultra-premium luxury television space. Our strategic thrust of this launch is to tap demand across the country for such products,” said Ranjit.
Ahead of Competition With Amazon Store
The inherent technological advantage of Amazon Store has given a fillip to brands such as Vu in India to bring in products of such massive sizes, which would be difficult to otherwise demonstrate in a physical store. “There’s only so much space where one can demonstrate such products. With Amazon’s TV store, that is changing because you can now access 500 SKUs of TV anywhere. You can also see multiple resolutions such as HDI, QLED, OLED, or 4K,” said Ranjit, adding that buyers can now fix when they want product deliveries on the platform.
This apart, Amazon Store’s customer guidance on TV size selection based on viewing distance, a plethora of video content on resolutions across brands, and finally customer reviews help new buyers arrive at informed decision faster.
India holds great opportunities for television with over 65% of market penetration, a vast majority of which are non-smart TVs. There is a vast scope for upgradation in price bands, screen sizes, and resolution. With Amazon’s network of almost across every pin code in India, Prime Day sales had over 30% of all TVs sold above 55 inches of screen size.
“Sales of television over 32 inches have doubled between 2022 and 2023, thanks to no-cost EMI schemes, Bajaj Finance, Amazon Pay Later and other facilities are helping increase demand for high-end TVs from across the country. Our sales in the premium QLED segment has grown for about 100% year-on-year. So, our aim would be to ensure not only a good purchase but also a post-purchase experience,” concluded Ranjit.
In today's fast-paced and increasingly digital world, retail stores remain a vital part of the shopping experience. A retail store is a physical establishment where consumers can directly purchase products or services from a business. These brick-and-mortar stores serve as the final point in the distribution channel, bridging the gap between the manufacturer and the end consumer. They play a crucial role in displaying products, promoting brands, and delivering personalized customer service.
Retail stores come in various formats, each designed to cater to specific customer needs and the types of goods being sold. Here are some common types of retail stores:
1. Department Stores: These stores offer a diverse range of products, including clothing, furniture, home appliances, toys, cosmetics, and more. They are often large-scale establishments with multiple departments.
2. Supermarkets: Supermarkets primarily focus on selling a wide variety of food products, along with some non-food items like household essentials and personal care products.
3. Specialty Stores: These stores cater to specific market segments and focus on particular product categories, such as jewelry stores, sports goods stores, and stationery shops.
4. Convenience Stores: Usually found in residential areas, convenience stores are smaller retail outlets offering a limited selection of household goods, groceries, and convenience items.
5. Hypermarkets: Hypermarkets are massive retail stores that combine the features of traditional supermarkets and department stores, offering an extensive selection of products all under one roof.
Also Read: Meaning of Retail
To create an effective and successful retail store, businesses need to carefully consider the layout and design of their physical space. A typical retail store consists of four main areas:
The shop floor is the heart of the retail store, where customers interact directly with the products on display. The layout and design of this area are critical to catching the customer's eye and increasing the likelihood of a purchase. Key considerations for the shop floor include:
The cash area, also known as the checkout or point-of-sale (POS), is where customers make their purchases and transactions. An efficiently designed cash area can help improve customer satisfaction and increase sales. Important aspects of the cash area include:
The store front serves as the face of the retail store to the outside world. It is the first impression customers have of the store, and it plays a vital role in attracting potential shoppers. Key components of the store front include:
The back-of-house is the private area of the retail store, not accessible to customers. This area serves various operational purposes and contributes to the overall efficiency of the store. Components of the back of house include:
Retail stores continue to hold significance despite the rise of e-commerce and digital shopping. Understanding the components and functions of a retail store is essential for businesses to create a satisfying and convenient shopping experience for their customers. Whether it's a department store, supermarket, specialty store, convenience store, or hypermarket, the ultimate goal remains the same – to attract customers, showcase products effectively, and provide excellent customer service. By optimizing their physical space and paying attention to each area's design, retail businesses can enhance the overall shopping experience and ensure the success and longevity of their stores in this evolving digital era.
The Indian retail landscape is rapidly evolving, and a new wave of women entrepreneurs is making their mark. With determination, drive, and dedication, they are breaking through glass ceilings and leading successful retail ventures. This blog post aims to celebrate the achievements of some of the top Indian female entrepreneurs who are heading retail and e-commerce companies. Let's dive into the stories of these trailblazers and explore some relevant statistical data.
According to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Google, female entrepreneurs in India can generate 150-170 million jobs by 2030. Furthermore, 16% of the urban female workforce runs their businesses, as stated in the Sixth Economic Census by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI). The retail sector already represents a significant portion of female-led companies in India, with many successful ventures run by women who are making a difference in the lives of their consumers.