Rising connectivity of the consumer with multiple data connect points is significantly changing the world of retail as the data captures consumer behaviour, traits and loyalty and facilitates and influences his decision making in completing transactions.
Speaking on the second day of the India Retail Forum 2014, on the evolution of the whole consumer journey in the new retail paradigm, Vipul Mathur, Head Branded Retail, Nokia India (Microsoft Mobiles), said, "Omni-channels are digging deeper on how a consumer is navigating through these channels seamlessly from conceptualising the purchase to closing the sale. The consumer journey is now even being monitored inside the store as he has options on his smart phone and navigates online and offline together."
In fact, it is said that a consumer goes through 12-16 data touch points and 4-5 stores before he decides on his purchase. Retailers are tracking the consumer’s profile on his choice, wherever, he goes with his age profile, gender, past purchases so on and so forth, said Rajesh Kakkar, Chief Executive – Global Strategic Technologies.
However, mere data, unless it is about action and insights of the consumers and being exponential in nature, would be irrelevant, he said. "In certain outlets, the consumer data is captured the moment he walks into the store and a dedicated representative equipped with the consumer data is entrusted to facilitate a transaction," said Vikas Choudhury, COO & CFO India, AIMIA.
The significance of big data can be gauged from its combination with the power of digital as the medium that can enable retailers to multiply their sales and profitability if used in the most effective manner. However, it cannot be processed with conventional methods and the unstructured data of consumer behaviour needs to be introspected with digital aspects.
Vineet Goenka, National Co Convener, Information Technology Cell, BJP said, “Big Data can be used without paying single penny to the traditional media, but it must be understood by the CEO of the company and used judiciously and effectively”.
However, despite the data availability, in an omni channel model, it would be of paramount importance to ensure that the product is also available at the point of sale when the consumer walks in. Else it may end up having a negative connotation about the brand, said Chirantan Kislae, Head – Information Technology, The MobileStore.
On a cautionary note, while the big data is getting increasingly personalised, the challenge with each of us is to use the data with responsibility and trust as well as gratitude towards consumers by giving them something in return for usage of his data, Choudhury said.
Day two also witnessed a discussion on the great expectations through brand experiences and brand loyalty which helps in anchoring a customer’s emotional connect with a particular brand.
Elaborating on this, Shankar Balan, President- Processing & Retail Vertical, QwikCilver, said, “Brand identity and brand loyalty plays a major role which helps in creating a new creativity, credibility and vitality around it. The business of the Gift Cards accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total retail market in the USA and UK whereas 90 percent of Gift Cards sale is achieved in the Indian retail market today. The acceptance of gift cards has increased exceedingly.”
The second half will see sessions like how consumers and shoppers are getting more tech mature, the future of retail development, building the vision for a fashion forward India, regional retailers conclave and few others.