Chief Operating Officer
The Body Shop
Privilege Clubs(India Retail Forum) From being a Delhi University rank holder with a passion to be a historian, Shriti Malhotra made an abrupt shift to fashion, joining NIFT in 1992. This was in a period when NIFT students were thriving as fashion designers and developing rewarding careers with exports and buying agencies. And that movw laid the ground for her entry into retail.
“I opted to join retail because I wanted to be part of something new and to be in a brand that excited me. I joined Benetton and the first three years in the company as a Management Trainee and then as a Product Manager doing multiple roles, which provided hands on, on-the-job training in retail,” Malhotra says.
“Each of the brands that I have worked with have been global leaders in their category providing great products and experiences to their customers. Some of these brands are Benetton, Nike, Puma, Wilson, Speedo and now, The Body Shop,” she adds.
The Body Shop, which entered India in 2006, now has over 125 stores across 40 cities. And it is not just through retail this iconic brand has made its presence felt in the country.
“Our business is not only about incredible beauty products and our retail stores but it also has the power to do social good by campaigning, creating awareness and generating funds to tackle key social causes like education of girls, sex trafficking of young children, violence in the home, and HIV/ Aids awareness, to name a few,” Malhotra notes.
“Retail is probably one of the toughest industries to work in and there are always new challenges all the time especially in a country as complex and diverse as India. Yet is intensely exciting as it gives retailers the wonderful ability to connect with so many consumers directly,” Malhotra says. “Each city and store has different consumer dynamics and this diversity and complexity never fails to amaze, perplex and surprise all the time.”
“Being a retailer, I help people look good and feel good. It’s a great feeling to be able to do that,” she says.
To Malhotra, the responsibility of living up to the promise of delivering great brands, products and services to customers and creating a positive experience in their lives is what is energising.”Retail is a new industry going through lots of changes. Each time it is about learning new things: it gives the opportunity to ink, initiate and improve every day.”
According to Malhotra, to achieve full potential, Indian retailers must focus on the fundamentals and deliver on execution. “We need to be in touch with these consumers everyday and to align products, customer service, staff training and exciting marketing campaigns to inspire and excite them. The biggest reward is when these customers come back to our stores again and again,” she asserts.