Entrepreneurs don’t need a formula for success, rather they create their own. And when we talk about retail entrepreneurs, the phase goes without any saying. Perhaps touted as one of the most complex and gung-ho business vertical, retail horizon has no rule books of sorts.
Despite the troublesome introduction above, retail industry and its transformation over the course of time has been more of a theatrical show. The industry has not just evolved in terms of business models but also in consumer behaviour. Today what a customer wants from a retail brand is way more pivotal than what a brand has to offer. India has produced many retail entrepreneurs who have mastered their line of businesses and have made retailing a life changing experience all together.
If we rewind the show 20-30 years back, who thought of an online shop or an experiential 3D physical store. Retail is a confederacy that many entrepreneurs attempt to grab but only a few manage to reach that inflation point. Many retailers tried their luck with all forces available but a very few managed to steal the show.
Here is the list of 5 of the most influential Indian retailers who have changed and reshaped the definition of retailing with their determination and exclusivity.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm/ One97 Communications
Vijay, the brain behind Paytm, an online payment turned eCommerce marketplace that does not need any further introduction. Within a span of 3-4 years, Paytm has evolved as one of the leading online shopping destinations of the country. With a belief of ‘winning is about not giving up’, Vijay has made his roads towards becoming the most influential personnel in the retail world today.
Vijay aims to make Paytm an ultimate shopping junction. A boy from a small town near Aligarh, after completing his higher secondary jumped into the real world and left no stone unturned to make THAT difference. Today Paytm is one of the biggest online firms and is valued at around $3 billion.
Kishore Biyani, Director, Future Group
The super retailer, Kishore Biyani, popularly known as KB is the Group CEO of grocery supermarket chain Future Group. He is the man who elicited the concept of retail supermarkets in India. With a sheer instinct and calculative risk taking capabilities, he has transformed Future Group as a household entity. Biyani is also the reason behind the fast growth of Pantaloon Retail.
Coming from a small trading family, Biyani started his first business enterprise selling stonewash fabrics to small shoppers in Mumbai. Despite being criticised by many the 54-year-old retail maverick won consumer’s heart and took food retailing business to the next level. Today Future group is India’s largest supermarket chain valued at more than $1.3 billion.
J Suresh, MD & CEO, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd.
When it comes to international brands in India, there is just one name that comes into the mind, Arvind Brands. And when it come to Arvind Brands who else than J Suresh to talk about. An MBA from IIM Bangalore, Suresh has been associated with Arvind for around a decade now. During this stint, he not just drifted the company into a profitable figure but also joined forces with many international fashion retailers including GAP, ZARA and Aeropostale.
Suresh, with his vision towards making Arvind a definitive brand for consumers, have pumped up the industry at a time when domestic brick-and-mortar retailers are facing tough competition from online stores that are attracting consumers with heavy discounts, taking advantage of growing Internet penetration.
Prashant Gupta, President & CEO, Abof.com
The man behind the online wing of Aditya Birla Retail Limited, Prashant Gupta is an IIT graduate who left behind a lavishing investment banking opportunity and kicked off his career in consultancy with McKinsey in 1999. Prashant with his willingness to experiment and go out of the comfort zone, has well-driven Abof’s journey so far.
Known for his strategic business acumen, Prashant has cemented Abof into the pole position in market within no time. He is also one of the closest advisors for Kumar Mangalam Birla (Chairman) on strategy and operational issues in each business. His intense planning aptitude and business competence, makes him one of the most competitive retail entrepreneur of the country.
Kamal Nandi, Business Head & Executive VP, Godrej Appliances
Honored as the ‘Man of Appliances’ from CEAMA, Kamal Nandi, over his stint at Godrej Appliances, Godrej & Boyce, has seen at least 100 major changes happening at the Godrej group. Out of these 100 changes, more than half are spearheaded by him. Competing with the likes of Samsung and LG, he managed to maintain that consumerism towards his brand.
With a Mechanical Engineering background, Kamal never thought of getting into white goods industry, but was soon astonished by the extent of drift towards the field of appliances. He is one of the best warriors when it comes to combating competition from all corners. Kamal has successfully place Godrej into every big small cities of the country and further aims at expanding Godrej’s presence in every vertical across appliances.