The 4th session of the South India Retail Summit 2015 on December 10 at the ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru featured an engaging discussion on the essentials of survival for a retailer. The panel included VP Harris, MD, Witco; TP Pratap, Co-Founder and CMO, QwikCilver and Woohoo.in; Sunil Sanklecha, Managing Partner, Nuts n Spices; Lavanya Nalli, President, Nalli Group; CK Kumaravel, CEO and Co-Founder, Naturals Salon and Spa and Chandrima Pareek, Head of Business, Reliance Ecommerce. The panel was moderated by Gautam Kotamraju, SVP – New Initiatives, Myntra.
Understanding that shopping behaviour in South India is still primarily dependent on touch and feel, the online industry does not really threaten the offline store format, panelists said. Lavanya Nalli, President, Nalli Group, said that she was convinced that businesses are tuning in with what is in motion. Though there were several gaps in the industry, many are bridged by innovation, she noted. “What consumers want hasn’t changed and everything else is the innovation around it,” she said.
Is there a need to align stores according to changing dynamics? According to VP Harris, MD, Witco, in-store design paradigms have changed and are now increasingly influenced by online activity. Store aisles are growing smaller in size, he said, adding that consumers require space and time to research on what they intend to purchase and that can happen through online or offline store formats.
CK Kumaraval, CEO and Co-Founder, Naturals Salon and Spa, remained optimistic on offline formats. “Indian brands need to grow internationally and technology has become a great enabler in achieving this target,” he said. He also, however, expressed his excitement with the idea of online media creating new experiences for consumers who can order hair cuts with a click of a button.
The discussion moved on to sustainability, which the panel speakers felt that was something which may not really succeed, probably due to the fact that customers are still not ready for it.
Chandrima Pareek, Head of Business, Reliance Ecommerce said,”We (retailers in general) have gone beserk with using up water and forest areas. Today, fashion has a need to exist and we can’t reverse it, but we can slow the entire process down.”
The first-ever South India Retail Summit on December 10 opened with an eye-opening presentation and talk by Rashmi Nair, Associate Director, Deals Strategy, PwC who delivered noteworthy insights on key characteristics defining consumer behaviour in south India.
Later in the day at the one-day retail business event, during the Inaugural and Keynote Addresses (on ‘Growth and Opportunities in Retail’ and ‘The Role of Omnichannel in Growing the Retail Ecosystem’), session chair BS Nagesh, Founder of TRRAIN, held an exciting discussion on growth oppotunities in retail and the role of omni-channel models.
Joining the panel for the discussion were Alok Dubey, CEO, Arvind Lifestyle Brands; Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO, Nykaa.com; Lavanya Nalli, President, Nalli Group; Viney Singh, MD, Max Hypermarket (Spar); and Neeraj Biyani, Director and Co-Founder, Paper Boat.