How technology is fueling today's retail gamut?

Alok Verma, Global VP, Retail & Strategic Global Alliance, ITC Infotech talks about the shakeout happening in the retail landscape.
Alok Verma, Global VP, Retail & Strategic Global Alliances

Retail industry is transforming towards consumer centric culture from typical product selling culture, driven by highly informed consumers, rapidly changing consumer needs and competition landscape. Online channels (web and mobile) are growing very fast and store channels are gearing up to compete with online channels.

The industry had undergone huge leaps and bounds backing upon the cutting-edge technology and have been successfully managed to increase their consumer base despite a hard-hitting competition within. The elemental shift from products to consumers has boosted retailers to reach new heights.

Sahil from Retailer Media caught up with Alok Verma, Global VP, Retail & Strategic Global Alliance, ITC Infotech to understand the shakeout happening in the retail landscape and how technology plays a pivotal part. He also talked about how CRM, analytics and IoT technologies that were touted as a niche play, have gradually become mainstream in today’s online retail spectrum.

What are the key solutions from ITC Infotech which can help retailers to setup agile business?
ITC Infotech offers solutions across the retail value chain to help retailers improve their competitive positioning by meeting the customers’ needs in a cost efficient manner.

Going deeper into CX space, our comprehensive offerings cover all layers of CX transformation – Strategy, Process Improvement, Technology solutions and ongoing customer value management (advanced analytics) offerings.

We follow the principles of business process driven design and selection of Off-the-shelf CX package solutions from leading ISVs and/or agile development methodology to reduce time to market and TCO. Once the platform is established, business-IT alignment and agility is established which helps with ongoing CX transformation.

What are your key competencies in this segment?
ITC Infotech is a full service provider to retailers by offering end to end services viz., strategy consulting, strategic technology advisory, process consulting, package implementation, application development, maintenance and support, business process support services etc.

In addition, ITC Infotech has a business consulting group (BCG) which comprises of consultants who were retail practitioners and now support our retail CX business consulting team.  We also provide customer experience solutions & ongoing Customer insights to leading retailers to improve customer retention, growth &loyalty.

Which are the key technologies which are transforming the retail industry today?
Mobile technology and Internet empowered customers and consumers with valuable information and opportunity to engage with retailers both in physical and digital world. Retailers have to transform their business models and operations to meet evolved consumer needs by building Omni channel capabilities.

Digitalization is a broad topic but retailers are looking at using digital to uncover opportunities to ‘differentiate’ as well as ‘disrupt’.  Retailers are using SMAC and IOT solutions to build capabilities to serve customers driven by the context.

How is ITC Infotech working towards providing quick ROI and cost reduction solutions?
ITC Infotech provides end to end customer experience services starting with Cx Strategy to managed services like customer segmentation, campaign planning, evaluation. We have built package technology solution accelerators which can help customers achieve quick ROI by accelerating ‘Need to Deployment’ cycle. Depending on the need, relevant part of the value chain, is quickly brought forward for the customer.

How is IoT impacting the customer experience?
IOT will enable creation of smart stores and smart supply chains. Smart stores would significantly enhance customer experience by providing assisted buying, personalised and targeted contextualised deals and offers, information on relevant products and relevant offers. Visibility of customer orders would also significantly improve with implementation of IOT in supply chains and improving customer experience related to order fulfillment.

How can customer experience management help provide a strategic framework to retailers?
Our Customer Value Management framework helps to understand customers better by analysing sales data, customer data and product data. Our 360 degree customer view framework helps to improve omni-channel customer service by leveraging insights provided by data. Deeper customer insights using predictive models, data science, etc. generated from data would help to design appropriate campaigns thereby improving customer satisfaction, campaign effectiveness and campaign ROI.

Which are the cutting edge tools that are being implemented by technology partners to gather knowledge and use data in real time?
Retailers are looking at implementing planning and optimization tools in the areas of merchandise planning, assortment, pricing, supply chain network design and optimization, campaign optimization, etc. as well as SMAC, IOT technologies for using this information in real-time through digitalization efforts.  Advanced analytics techniques are being leveraged to achieve optimization of cost, identification of right customer segments, right customer campaigns.

What is the growth scenario is this business? What are your future scale-up plans?
Retail is a strategic focused growth industry vertical for ITC Infotech.  We believe there would be considerable growth for us in delivering cutting-edge retail IT solutions to the market. Retail industry has been evolving fast with emergence of new technologies supporting dynamic business needs. We are investing heavily in cutting edge technologies like SMAC, IOT, Big Data, Auto Identification, Robotics and Machine Learning.

Our vision is to be the we will be preferred and trusted partners for global 1,000 retail corporations in addressing their key challenges of sustainable  profitable growth, differentiated services and products, superior customer engagement and technology led business operations enablement by creating and delivering relevant business friendly Digital, Data  solutions that create value and sustainable impact.

Alok Verma