Mobility: Future of retail tech

NEC, after hospitality, to eye convenience retailers.
Amit Bhatia

In a recent development, PVR selected NEC solutions at 12 locations in India, including PVR’s food courts, bowling alleys and multiplexes, in order to streamline retail operations. NEC, one of the leading names in retail technology, further to this is bullish about the Indian market. Amit Bhatia, Head Retail Solution, NEC India Pvt Ltd shares his views on the expanding Indian retail market and the role NEC plans to play in this growth.

Gunjan Piplani (GP) : NEC has a globally strong base, what are the key focus markets for NEC where it plans to grow big in?

Amit Bhatia (AB): We have been in India and Middle East from past two and a half years. Middle East has been growing very strong for us as we have clients including the Landmark Group. India has now become a key focus, from past seven-eight months we are working towards growing our footprints. To begin with, we have got PVR and now we are working towards having such big players in our kitty.

GP: What has been the tie-up like with PVR and what solutions are you offering to them?

AB: With PVR, in the first phase published, we have deployed the hardware solutions. But moving on we will deploy field analytics software and other software and solution aspect of PVR. We will be covering all the solution aspect of PVR multiplexes, right from display, food court, ticketing and bowling alley. We will be deploying to the existing as well as new properties coming up.

We are running a trial phase for solutions as our in-house testing gets over and we go on the field for testing the products.

GP: How will the solution help PVR?

AB: Of the solutions we are offering, twin display is being introduced for the first time in India. Under this concept, while the person at the billing station is cutting the bill, the other screen can display advertisements, promotions or display the bill. With this the POS can be coupled with of point of purchase. The customer can have a different experience.

GP: Do you customise services for the clients? What changes have been come for PVR?

AB: We don’t really customise the hardware solutions as R&D is done in Tokyo and US. But for software and solutions we offer customization to customers.

For PVR, India is a very tax variant country in terms of various products; that is where changes are brought about in the billing solutions. While in terms of analytics, we are not like US and Japan, so we have to bring about certain changes in those applications to get desired changes.

GP: With the Indian retail scenario growing, NEC is expanding its reach, so who all are your clients and which all categories do you eye?

AB: As far as NEC is concerned, we are picking up in the Indian market with more than 25 active customers which we cannot name. We see ourselves going very strong in hospitality, our solutions run in more than 60 per cent properties in this category across India. NEC also by nature is very strong with convenience stores, now that technology transfer is happening to India and as the solutions come to India, we will look at that category as well.

So after F&B and hospitality, we will soon be present with top convenience retailers as well.

GP: How do you see technology changing the face of this market?

AB: We stay in strong touch with retailers across India and while talking to them we realise, even the biggest retailers today look for mobility solutions to service their customers. They also look at robust applications to run complex businesses and they want analytics to start off.

It’s not new if we look at how globally retail has changed.

GP: Which all technology will have the highest impact on the Indian retail market?

AB: Mobility will drive the change in the Indian retail market in order to serve customers on the go.

GP: How do you ensure feedback and after sales service for the customers?

AB: The industry we are in, is in a very critical condition environment. So we have our own and third party services centres in 200 locations across the country. This would cover urban, metro and mini metro areas. So wherever our customers go and expand we already there to offer after sales for the solutions.

We have spare parts in all the service centres, we share SLAs with the customers. We have built this infrastructure in two years and is now in a very mature state.

GP: Where does NEC’s USP lie and how do you compete with other players?

AB: NEC has been a part of the global retail market for almost 40 years now. We have been there and seen it. India is a maturing, though it’s unorganised retail right now. Now with FDI, as market will start to get organised, the need for solutions and mobility will come in. We are already ready to offer the solutions whatever the market demands for. It’s just the matter of sourcing it from Japan or US.

GP: What changes that should come India in order to have best of technology?

AB: The Indian retailers, atleast the big names have matured in past 10 years. They have better infrastructure, now the main investment is to understand consumer behaviour as the need of retaining and servicing the customer becomes important.

We have technology, but deployment has not come yet, this will take some time. In next one year we will see solutions being deployed including mobility and NFC.

GP: What are your future plans for India?

AB: Key is to build application base for NEC in India. Focus is to bring in application, built services around it and offer to the customers.

Amit Bhatia, Head Retail Solution, NEC India Pvt Ltd
 
 
 
 
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