For retailers, the days of relying on a physical presence without incorporating digital selling channels are over. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, retailers are blending both worlds to meet — or exceed — customers’ expectations. After all, it’s the consumer, rather than the retailer, who now defines the shopping journey.
Elaborating on the importance of Omnichannel, CEO, Walmart India told Indiaretailing Bureau on the sidelines of India Food Forum 2017, “Everything is eventually driven by what the customer wants and India being a young country, the millennials are adopting digital in a big way. So, the retailers don’t have a choice. If they want to be successful, I think it is one of the key success practice that they provide the Omnichannel experience and implement strategies to serve the customers.”
According to a retail survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers titled Building Retail Businesses for Tomorrow Today, the value conscious Indian shopper believes that price is just a part of the larger value story. Convenience offered by the retailer also plays a major role in determining value. The survey data shows that Indians buy online primarily because of convenience (65 per cent), followed by price (31 per cent).
The study further points out that shoppers are demanding a service-focused in-store experience and want to interact with a knowledgeable store employee (both in e-marketplaces as well as physical stores).
“In addition to shopping in stores, the consumer is also opting for e-Retail. The choice, and ease of ordering from a smartphone gives a greater shopping convenience to the consumer, which is expected to grow in the coming years. Indian Retail – both brick-and-mortar and online, thus will continue to drive domestic consumption growth which in turn will boost manufacturing,” revealed Iyer.
There are plenty of reasons for this upsurge in Omnichannel retail, the foremost being the penetration of broadband Internet, as well as a growing number of 4G users in the country. Add to this the fact that India will soon be home to the world’s second largest smartphone user base and one can understand why there has been an explosive growth in online sales.
Other factors such a rise in the standard of living, competitive prices and availability of a wide range of products, doorstep delivery options and loyalty privileges have all contributed towards forwarding India’s Omnichannel boom.
Easement of FDI policies and retailing growth too occurred hand-in-hand. The retail scenario in India registered a paradigm shift when the Government of India allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single brand retailing as long as 30 per cent of sourcing was done locally.
“This is an exciting time for the retail industry and the next five years will belong to those who commit to provide the seamless Omnichannel experience to customers. e-Retail is undeniably a very big change and is here to stay,” he concluded.