Sixty-five percent customers still want to shop in stores: Oracle

Retailer Media caught up with Mukesh Mathur, Executive Director, Oracle Retail India, who explained further on the India specific findings and how Indian consumers fare in comparison to global consumers.
Mukesh Mathur, Executive Director, Oracle Retail India

Enabled by technological advances, today’s consumers are reaching across borders and channels for shopping experiences that provide unprecedented choice and convenience. Today the consumer is more interested in convenience as well as better choices and this need is fuelled by technology that is driving and facilitating their shopping journeys.
In one of the research by Oracle retail- India, on consumers’ need for a retail experience, which was conducted of 500 participants from each of 10 countries- Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US, some mindboggling findings emerge. Findings reveal that Indian consumers like their counterparts across the world are driven by convenience and want a converged commerce experience, in which retailers combine the best of digital and in-person resources. Some of the key findings pertaining to Indian customers are: 84 per cent say their use of technology to shop has increased over the last year, 86 per cent are using mobile more and 59 per cent of the Indian consumers surveyed feel that mobile point-of-service is the technology that would most enhance their experience.
In the context of the findings, Retailer Media caught up with Oracle India’s Mukesh Mathur, Executive Director, Oracle Retail India, who explained further on the India specific findings and how Indian consumers fare in comparison to global consumers.

Why did Oracle undertake the retail research?
The Retail Industry is the one of the most dynamic industries in the world where the pace of change is simply breath taking - being dictated by an increasingly savvy consumer and a hugely disruptive competitive landscape. Technology is playing a critical role in enabling retailers to both serve their customer and maintain competitive differentiation. According to IDC one- third of Western European retailers expect to increase spending on cloud computing by up to 25 per cent in Asia-Pacific.
At the same time, 28 per cent of retailers in Central and Eastern Europe plan to increase spending on cloud technologies. The research was undertaken to explore what the consumer considers to be most important to them when shopping. Oracle interviewed over 5000 consumers in 10 countries and learnt some valuable insight in terms of what retailers need to focus on to deliver value to their customer.

According to you, what is the highlight of the research? Please explain.
Convenience is one of the most significant themes within the research. For consumers convenience is of paramount importance. They do not care about what goes on behind the scenes. Shoppers increasingly require retailers to invest in delivering seamless retail experiences that connect digital and store channels.
Another important theme to emerge is that shoppers understand the benefits of sharing personal data in exchange for more targeted promotions and rewards. Consumers also find it useful to share and research through social.
The fact that an overwhelming 91 per cent of Indian consumers use Facebook to collect and share information with friends & followers, whereas only 51 per cent of Japanese use Facebook, is another one of the key highlights of the survey.

As the survey shows that Indian customers are using technology increasingly while doing shopping. What, do you think, should be the action plan for the Indian retailers?
Indian consumers feel that a seamless retail experience is critical. This is going to be one of the key take away for the Indian retailers. Ninety-seven per cent of respondents want retailers to invest in technology, and 67 per cent stated that converged commerce is key to enhancing their shopping experiences.
Indian consumers like their global counterpart value transparency highly. Eighty-four per cent of respondents say visibility to product to enable them to purchase anytime, anywhere adds most value to their shopping experiences. And 51 per cent consumers cite lack of transparency as main reason for disappointment.
One interesting finding is that Indian consumers prefer online but still value the store. As much as 65 per cent still are inclined to make a purchase in store if a store assistant uses mobile technology and 43 per cent are encouraged to spend more if an assistant engages them in-store. So not just the online stores, but offline stores can also use technology to enhance the experience for their consumers.

How can technology help offline retailers to remain relevant in today’s scenario when online retailers are gaining more traction?
The shoppers want store associates to recognise the shopper and their purchase history and personalise interactions accordingly. Not surprisingly customer loyalty is influenced by great in-person service.
Offline retailers can use technology to get insights into their customers’ thought process. Since the customer is not averse to sharing personal information, the retailers can use that information to give differentiated service to the individual customer.For example, store employees can be equipped with tablets that have access to the inventory position across the business to ensure a sale through to the point-of-sale capabilities to process that sale.

How important is retail as a market for Oracle?
According to industry reports Indian Retail industry is expected to grow to US$ 1.3 trillion by 2020, registering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.7 per cent over 2015-20. Therefore, India is definitely one of the key retail markets for Oracle. We are already observing a strong momentum in India with recent customer wins like adidas, Aditya Birla Online Fashion and adoption by companies like Jabong, MakeMyTrip.com, BookMyShow, Flipkart and many more. In India eCommerce and retail are amongst the key industries which have seen a spurt in the adoption of latest technologies.
Enabled by technological advances, today’s consumers are reaching across borders and channels for shopping experiences that provide unprecedented choice and convenience. Today’s consumer is most interested in convenience and their need for convenience is fuelled by technological advances that are both driving and facilitating their shopping journeys.
Oracle is in a unique position to provide truly connected experiences across channels, enabling consumers to transact (research, select, purchase or return) and employees to interact (recommend, maintain and service) anywhere, at any time and on any device.

Mukesh Mathur
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