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IRF 2016: Trusted Mark in retail to ensure 360 per cent customer care


Indian retail industry celebrates the launch of ‘Trusted’ mark at India Retail Forum 2016. The first of its kind customer-centric certification mark in retail will be a seal of excellence in customer service and assurance that retailers are adhering to stringent standards laid down by the IRF certification scheme.

IRF 2016: Trusted Mark in retail to ensure 360 per cent customer care
he first of its kind customer-centric certification mark in retail will be the seal of excellence in customer service and assurance of retailers adhering to the stringent standards

Launching the much-awaited scheme for retailers, India Retail Forum (IRF) Chairman and President & CEO Walmart India, Krish Iyer said that while the Government in past few years had been working towards consumer protection law legislating new enactments to meet the needs of the changing times and equip the consumers to protect their rights against unfair trade practices, IRF had been busy in developing a voluntary certification scheme for retailers that will see retailers winning consumer trust not just by adhering to statutory requirements but integrating customer focus across their retail operations.

“Today is that big day when IRF is ready to roll out the scheme after a year long ratification process involving over 100 retailers from India and the world over, leading trade bodies, top corporate counsels, economists, consumer organizations, consulting, research and academia and surely many of you sitting in the audience,” he added.

Top dignitaries in retail with multi-stakeholders including Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm; Al Rajwani, MD and CEO, P&G India; Govind Shrikhande, CCA & MD, Shoppers Stop;  Rakesh Biyani, Joint MD, Future Retail; Vanitha Narayanan, MD, IBM; B S Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN,  Shashi Rekha, Director, NABCB and R S Roy, Convenor, IRF unveiled the 10 Trusted Marks that will cover retail businesses spanning across all retail formats and channels including hypermarkets, super-markets, department stores, speciality stores, e-retailers and service providers, restaurants, jewellers, pharmacies, salons, spas, wellness centres, FECs and cineplexes.

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 and processes following Government 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.

“Retail is all about serving customers. It takes a lot to win customer trust. The technical standards that retailers would have to comply with will surely help in bringing transparency in customer dealing. Consumers would 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, as well and Omnichannel 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,” he added.

Former Secretary, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and now CEO, Neeti Ayog, Amitabh Kant had said in his message, “The launch of Trusted Mark is indeed a very exciting news for the Indian consumers and I compliment IRF for developing the certification scheme for retailers operating in India across channels like brick and mortar, e-commerce or Omnichannel. I am happy that this India 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 2016: Trusted Mark in retail to ensure 360 per cent customer care

Krish Iyer 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 Chairman, QCI, Adil Zainulbhai that the scheme needs to encourage SME retailers to go for the Trusted Mark and I am glad that IRF Chairman Krish Iyer has agreed to take the lead, he further added.

Committing to the standards, Joint MD, Future Retail, Rakesh Biyani said that the retailers across verticals, formats and channels were already gearing to go for the mark. “We are committed to maintain and improve on the standards and we hope by 2020 at least 7 per cent of modern retail sales would be under the Trusted Mark”, he added.

Retailers that adhere to the Scheme requirements obtain the Trusted’ Certification Mark. The Trusted Mark will be allowed to be displayed on their outlet fronts/ e-page and all marketing and communication materials as an outward sign of their commitment to the Trusted Certification Mark.

The IRF Scheme has been formulated in a manner compliant to ISO/IEC: 17065, which has sections namely, technical standards, certification process, requirements for Certification Bodies (CB). CBs in operations for at least five years can conduct ‘IRF Certification’ audit with provisional approval from IRF subject to they getting accredited by National Accreditation Board for Certifying Bodies (member International Accreditation Forum) within one year of accreditation launched by the accreditation body.