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E-commerce – The game changer for the Indian retail industry

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The 12th edition of India Fashion Forum 2012 (IFF 2012) concluded with the retail and allied industries chalking a clear roadmap for the industry to follow in unison in a session titled “The Challenges I Have Faced in Fashion Retailing, and How I could Overcome Them”. The IFF created a platform for the young first-generation entrepreneurs to interact with industry stalwarts but even provided retailers from tier II and III the opportunity to attend and lead interactive discussions with some of the nation’s biggest retail chains. Knowledge-sharing and exchange of best practices being the key focus of IFF 2012, the participants benefitted through the stimulating panel discussions.

Speaking on the ways to fuel consumption Akhil Chaturvedi, Director, Provogue opined that e-commerce will be the game changer for the business. “The whole mobile revolution that has moved e-commerce from the computers to a smart phone will make business cost effective and decision making a faster process. This will increase business,” believed Chaturvedi.

The panelists comprising of Asim Dalal, MD, The Bombay Store, Puneet Nanda, MD, Genesis Colours, Rakesh Biyani, Joint MD, Pantaloon Retail, and Parag Dani, Retail Director, Levi’s unanimously agreed that there could be tremendous growth if the industry followed a fixed calendar days for sale. “If we do it four years in a row we won’t even have to advertise and then the same money could be used for brand building,” stressed Biyani.
Elaborating on the discount theme, Nanda added that the returns could be much higher if the fashion fraternity came together on a common ‘design’ theme rather than occasions like festivals. “Everyone can recognize the sensibility of a good design. So the focus should be design-led rather than festivals-led,” he added.

The per sq.ft. area productivity of the industry needed to double believed Biyani. “It’s not going to be fashionable to be in the fashion business if we don’t increase our per sq.ft. productivity,” warned Biyani while urging the fraternity to take urgent measures to correct the situation. The Fashion business is not about the width of the range but the depth of it. He revealed that Big Bazaar offers far less in way of range than it did four years ago and this shift has led to better margins. Everyone wants to be a Zara and offer something new every week. But does the customer walk in every week? Our research showed that the customer visited only once in six weeks on an average. Today we have the lowest supply chain management cost in India,” said Biyani.

-Nivedita Jayaram Pawar