The future of Indian retail looks promising, say the retail industry experts. India is undergoing a retail revolution making a gradual shift from the unorganised to organised sector.
Retailing is an important prerequisite for modernising India which can facilitate rapid economic growth. Here are some expert views on the consumer-led trends that will impact retail industry in 2015.
Shiv Inder Singh, MD, Firefox Bikes Pvt Ltd
Today, we live in a society where consumers want convenience and control, which is why the continuing trend i.e. mobile’s disruptive role in the retail shopping and shopping experience will keep getting stronger for every consumer. Mobile devices and smartphones are becoming more and more pre-dominant in a way that is driving digital retail. Browses, volumes and also the conversions are increasingly going up on mobile sites. It is not just about the transactional ease and putting products in people’s faces, it is also about consumption of more content and really building on having a better and hassle-free experience for the consumers. The consumers expect more engagement and they want to see relevant content and a behaviour-based experience, which is in sync with their requirements and surroundings. Experiential engagement therefore, is going to be the key objective for the retailers beyond just selling products.
2015 is going to be a year of fragmentation and it is going to be challenging to keep the primary shoppers in stores. The consumers have a lot of destinations, platforms and options to fulfill their shopping needs. Because of this fragmentation, it will be more important than ever to keep shoppers in the ecosystem, whether it’s online, mobile or in-store. As the retailers continue to go under the microscope, one thing retailers are going to have to deal with in their effort to keep shoppers coming back is an increasing demand for transparency. There’s increased sharing of information and a quest for understanding from a source perspective and an ingredient perspective.
This year will also witness the lines between the online mobile and the real world begin to blur. There are new technologies coming out that will change the experience of online and how one looks at, touches and feels a product. The reason people go into the store today is to touch, feel and see. This line of differentiation will start getting blurry and can have an impact on the retail industry. However, these technologies will not be limited to online, but will also exist in stores and it will be interesting to see how the retailers use this technology.
Induction of technologies like Augmented Reality in the industry brings in a unique customer experience and acquaints the market with a fun filled method to reach and connect with today’s consumers who live in a digital eco-system and put life into an everyday product.
Anuj Sawhney, MD, Swiss Military Worldwide
In the coming year, India is expected to get into omnichannel retailing like other countries with some brands already planning to venture into this model.
The merchant will be able to provide the flexibility to its customers to browse through the store and purchase it online or vice-versa. This will help in creating loyal customers that not only return, but also recommend.
Brands are starting to see huge opportunities in emerging markets such as China and India and will strongly go after the potentially promising opportunities.
Another key element to the retail segment will be India's e-commerce market which is set to get a significant boost largely driven by Internet penetration and lifestyle changes leading to more and more consumers being online. Consumer preferences are changing and along with it the way they shop.
Nikhil Ranjan, MD, William Penn
The growth in ecommerce has increased the reach of brands to a broader audience. Indians are growing more brand-conscious and have a desire for quality products as their disposable incomes increase. We will continue to see this trend in 2015.
With organised retail expanding, 2015 will be the year to reach out to these tier 2 cities in all forms of retail. There is massive untapped potential in smaller Indian cities as well.
The writing instruments industry in India is expected to witness healthy double digit growth going forward. International writing instrument makers like Caran d'Ache and Sailor have realised this potential in the Indian markets and are creating exclusive, limited edition writing instruments for the Indian market.
Manpreet Gulri, Country Head, Subway Systems India Pvt. Ltd
Indian retail industry is being recognised as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries the world over, with several new players looking to enter the market and changing consumer behavior. According to a research by India Brand Equity Foundation, food & grocery accounted for nearly 69 per cent of total revenues in the retail sector in 2013.
One has to continually adapt according to the needs and preferences of the market in order to gain a strong foothold.