“The only thing that can retain customers is not brand loyalty but service loyalty" said Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults, addressing the session on "Consumerism and Retail Trends in East India" on the second day of East India Retail Summit 2012 at ITC Sonar, Kolkata.
Bijoor said that an average of 47 brands reach out to Indian consumers everyday and the era of brand loyalty is well and truly over. “East India is a unique market with some distinguishing features from the rest of the country. The retailers in the region should leverage on these to effectively compete with national retailers and carve their own niche.” He further added that it is a big myth when brand managers say they know their consumers well. “The consumers today are so varied and segregated, it is almost impossible to know them at the grassroot level. Retailers should do comprehensive market research to gain unique insights into the market,” Bijoor said.
The first session of the day laid emphasis on understanding the consumers in East India through insights from expert brand marketers, sociologist, and marketing gurus.
The session was moderated by Sanjeev Mehra, GM, Mall Operations, Spencer’s Galleria. Jasojit Mookerjea, Sr. VP, Consumer Research East IMRB and Tejaswani Adhikari, Chief Insight officer, Future Group were the other two speakers who shared their perspective during the session.
Tejaswini Adhikari, Chief Insight Officer, Future Group, also shared her views during the session and talked about how modernity entered the retail market in East India. She said: “Modernity in the East India retail market started with food because of the immense food diversity in the region.” Touching upon the uniqueness of being a different market she further added: “Preserving community identity is vital in having the regional touch”. Adhikari also congratulated modern retail for democratization of products."
The day also saw some intense discussions on latest trends in Indian retail, increasing profitability, the need to invest in information technology to maximize efficiency, and setting up an effective e-commerce strategy.