~The scheme to cover retail businesses spanning across all retail operations including hypermarkets, super markets, department stores, speciality stores, restaurants, salons, spas, wellness centres, FECs and cineplexes~
The launch of the much awaited ‘Trusted’ Mark in India at the IRF’s 2015 annual congregation was an historic event. As part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative IRF with inputs from global and Indian experts in retail and consumer trust building program, launches – The first of its kind in the world – the IRF certification scheme, which aims to bring over 1,00,000 retail stores across the country in to the fold of modern retail following IRF standards in next five years’ time.
The certification scheme is developed with support from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Quality Council of India adhering to ISO/IEC 17067 Guidelines.
On Day 1 of India Retail Forum, all stakeholders in the scheme including some of the compliance and legal heads of the best of global, national, regional and local retailers joined Industry and certification bodies, policy makers, PWC and QCI officials to understand the scheme and its standards.
Introducing the scheme, IRF Convenor, R S Roy said that the sole objective of IRF was to modernize Indian retail; bring retailers across the country into the fold of structured businesses with modern systems & processes following Govt rules and regulations. IRF Certification scheme is a step forward to encourage retailers to be more customer centric and adhere to the ’Trusted’ standards in all retail operations.
Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Quality Council of India talked about the various initiatives of the QCI in improving standards and sighted examples from the Indian health care sector. “Today India can boast of world class health care facilities and with ‘Trusted’ mark we hope to see similar transformation in the retail sector as well”.
Amitabh Kant, Secretary, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce said in his message, “The launch of ‘Trusted’ mark is indeed a very exciting news for the Indian consumers and I compliment Quality Council of India and IRF Knowledge Partner PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) India to support IRF on developing the certification scheme for retailers operating in India across channels like brick and mortar, ecommerce or omni-channel. I am happy that this Indian originated scheme has the scope for global acceptance. IRF has built a very strong community of retailers that truly believes in modern systems and processes and I am sure that these retailers once committed to the IRF standards will together build a retail environment where consumer are aware, assured and encouraged to shop, eat and enjoy products and services of outlets with ‘Trusted ’ Mark in full confidence”.
IRF Chairman Krish Iyer who heads the Walmart business in India gave the biggest push to the scheme by expressing his intent to push 100 of Walmart’s top retailers in India to go for the ‘Trusted’ mark. “This will indeed set the ball rolling and will be the 1st milestone in bringing thousands of retailers across India in to the fold of modern retail,” added Kant. I agree with QCI Chairman Mr. Adil Zainulbhai that the scheme needs to encourage SME retailers to go for the ‘Trusted’ Mark and I am glad that IRF Chairman Mr. Krish Iyer has agreed to take the lead, he further added.
PwC experts Mr. Manpreet Singh Ahuja and Shreyans Dudheriya in their presentation explained how retailers seeking IRF certification would have to comply with the requirements of the Scheme. The key to certification is not only adhering to statutory requirements but also the requirements as mentioned in each of the technical standard. This will help in bringing transparency so that the consumers know what to expect from their purchase/ service from the point of browsing and buying to after-sales. This will ensure that the brick and mortar retailers in general and specifically e/m-commerce retailers, selling through e/m-commerce as well and omni-channel adhere to mandatory compliance with respect to information, security and integrity in their transactions, as stipulated in the relevant IRF Standard. The IRF Certified Retailers will be graded in 5 levels (1 to 5 stars) based on applicant’s score achieved during IRF Scheme audit.