Since he started his career, the retail business in the country has grown to be more complex, says President – South Asia, Bata, Rajeev Gopalakrishnan. He has penned down his thoughts regarding the evolution of Indian retail and what the future holds in store for the industry.
Evolution of Retail Industry in India
Retail has come a long way since I started my career, but one thing has not changed – ‘Retail is Detail’ and the details have only increased.The business has grown to be even more complex. The evolution of malls has changed the landscape. E-commerce is growing at five times the rate of brick-and-mortar. Retail has evolved and mobility is going to the industry taking it to the next level of evolution in times to come.
Challenges in Retailing
Market is slow. The presence of e-commerce is growing more with each passing year. I believe consumers are rightfully getting more aware and at the same time their demands are increasing. To be able to innovate and evolve for the consumer and to have a top of mind recall are some of the key challenges. I also believe that using technology and digital channels to reach out to the consumer is also very critical.
Factors That Would Affect Organised Retail in the Country
With more jobs being readily available and an increase in disposable income, consumers are moving up the value chain, buying more which also incudes spending considerably on branded and good quality merchandise. E-commerce companies are taking distribution to areas where we have never been able to reach, that is also giving consumers the taste of good branded merchandise. All these factors and growing urbanisation are some of the factors that are affecting the organised retail sector.
Strategies To Fuel Growth In This Industry
It begins with the product, it is very important that we give the consumer a quality product wihich not only fulfills its functional need but also is stylish and fashionable. Consumers are becoming more and more style conscious and as we know India is a young country hence style now goes hand in hand with comfort. We are moving towards a seamless retail experience, where a consumer can walk in through any channel and engage with the brand. Besides these, biggest growth is going to come from the women and kids segment, we will have more than 40 million women joining the workforce in next five years and we all know that our under 14 population is close to 350 million.
Technology, its Impact and Importance
Everything is connected, everything moves on the Internet, consumers are closer than ever and information flow is faster. E-commerce is already showing its strength. Consumers are moving across channels and they expect us to serve them with a unified experience. Seamless retail is the thing of future.
The Framework of Retail Innovation
I have always learnt that in-store experience for a consumer is the ultimate way to touch their life and to establish a relationship. At Bata India, we are working on certain measures of retail innovation based on decades of research and experience. For example, in our newest store recently being launched at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, Delhi, the concept is completely unique with its clutter free aesthetics and visual impact, as it is an all-white European inspired décor, with white contemporary furniture to gel with its ambience.
Advice to Retailers Who Are Adopting Digitisation
Stick to the basics, digital is a resource but the reality of businesses do not change. Focus on the core of your business and figure out how to use technology around them. There are a lot of technologies out there, but not all are relevant for your brand. Scope out your objectives clearly and use technology in a way which is relevant to your brand and business.
Retail Funda for India
Understand consumer needs and be there in every walk of life. To be present where the consumer is. It is not the time to pull consumers in, it is the time to be where the consumer is. Hyper local and seamless seem to be the next steps and this is all over and above what we are doing at the moment. Satisfy consumer wants
rather than needs!
Bata Amidst Other National and International Brands
Marketing campaigns, effective understanding of consumer needs, seamless retail and an extended range make Bata one of the most present footwear brand in the country. We are also the only brand to cater to the complete Indian family. With a full range of Bubblegummers and Disney flip flops for children, made available in 200 stores, the ever powerful and premium range for women and an extended range of active wear, Bata with its multitude of offerings for every kind of consumer firmly establishes its presence as a leader in the market.