Retail has seen many shifts in the past, but with the pandemic the shift to the digital domain has helped brands and retailers to stay in business. And, when the retail stores are finally opening up post lockdown, brands are already thinking and strategising on their next move to counter similar situations in future.
Since the onset of the pandemic, retailers have been all about digitalisation and every brand is working on creating a robust infrastructure for the same, states Hemant Agarwal, CMD, V-Bazaar Retail Pvt. Ltd.
“While the lockdown has led to many challenges for the retail industry and for us, in some ways it has helped us push our digitalisation agenda. We anyway wanted and needed to adopt digitalisation in a big way across all areas, and during the past year we have made great strides in adopting digitisation for payments, marketing, CRM, Cloud-based ERP, collaboration, workflow management etc,” he says.
Digitalisation Means Connectivity
Today the consumers are changing and adopting new trends, irrespective of any category that they shop for.
“Digitalisation is helping us connect better with the customer in a more efficient manner, as well as make our processes faster and more economical in order to deliver value. Our brand represents Fashion and Value for the customers,” says Agarwal.
“Our customers are also changing and adopting new trends in fashion, browsing products and payment modes. Our brand and its communication need to convey all of these to our customers, and it does,” he adds.
New digital technologies adopted by V Bazaar as part of digitalisation initiatives over the past year are:
>> Introducing multiple modes of UPI based payments in all our stores – such as Paytm and Bharatpe. The overall contribution of card and UPI based payments vs cash payments has increased 1.5x.
>> Widening of social media presence across – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Local Whatsapp customer groups for the marketing, promotional and social messaging
>> Use of SMS driven marketing for our existing customers for CRM, marketing and promotions
>> Use of CRM software for our – customer loyalty program, in-store customer engagement and promotion execution
>> Cloud based ERP, which caters to all our stores, warehouse and head office, on a real-time basis, and integrates all resource applications
>> Use of personal, group and broadcast tools such as Webex, Google workspace and Zoom for – communication, employee engagement, training and business reviews.
>> Paperless workflow for most processes and approvals
“Most of our vendors and service providers are also gradually adopting these methods to interact and work with us, which further helps integrate them in our workflows,” says Agarwal.
New Areas to Explore
V Bazaar is further accelerating their automation and digitalisation initiatives in the coming months.
“Our warehouse management system and the auto-replenishment system are expected to go live soon, making our inventory management more analytical and automated. We will also be launching our Omnichannel online storefront to our customers in the coming month, with a web and app interface, This will make our storefront reach new customers, as well as service existing customers with a D2C (Direct-to-customer) channel,” Agarwal informs.
The brand firmly believes in adopting changes as per requirement and technological developments. “Anytime is a good time to adopt change, especially the changes which help you leverage or get ahead of the technological developments. As a young organisation with a young workforce, the pace of adoption is rapid without any major learning curve or disruptions to processes. In fact, these changes are helping us define our processes better and getting rid of any early-stage ill-defined processes,” explains Agarwal.
“Our technology partners are also tremendously aiding our adoption by taking an agile approach to implementing solutions,” he concludes.