Digital enablement and advancement in technology is currently leading the entire retail industry. Recent unfavourable situations have made it difficult for businesses to survive on traditional brick and mortar models. Where giants of the industry have always had an online presence, even small merchants and retailers are leveraging digital models such as D2C and omnichannel.

On the consumer side, accessibility, availability, convenience and doorstep delivery are some of the reasons behind this shift. Today, everything is available online from groceries to apparels, and appliances to watches. Not just this, many of these brands are also leveraging technology to enhance their product. One of the giants, Titan watches is one such example. Titan’s total income during January-March 2021 jumped 58.87 per cent to Rs 7,551 crore, compared with Rs 4,753 crore in the year-ago period. 

Raja Neravati is Head of Technology at Titan watches and wearables. A technology Entrepreneur and accomplished leader with experience in growing and managing global business, he  is known for building next-generation products with a human touch. His specialties are innovation & entrepreneurship, strategy & leadership,  business transformation, product management and software engineering.

As part of our Tech Gurus series, we talked to Neravati about his role at Titan and how the industry has changed over the years.

Covid impact

It is impossible to talk about a brand, retailer or even e-commerce company without mentioning the pandemic and lockdown. Apart from personal losses, it was undoubtedly one of the hardest struggles for businesses, big and small.

“With COVID, we have streamlined our processes further and connected the dots across departments to work remotely in a seamless manner.”

He also added that Titan is a technology-focused company, and uses tech to stay updated with the changing times.

Digital enablement: The new normal

“We have made a conscious effort on the digital enablement of our products. When it comes to smart products, e-Commerce has always been way ahead of offline buying, irrespective of the market circumstances.

Talking about the smart products category, Neravati shared that consumers are moving towards smart watches from fitness trackers. This trend is not just countrywide, but being witnessed by the industry globally.

Due to Covid-19, people are paying more attention to hygiene features such as SP02, body temperature monitoring. Lockdown also resulted in people moving from big cities to small towns, leading to a change in buying patterns in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

“We see a change in buying patterns and purchasing power in smaller towns which is different from pre-COVID times.”

Revenge shopping was one of the key trends of 2020 in retail and smart products were no exception. With travel, dining and entertainment expenses becoming limited, consumer buying patterns changed, and people were seen investing in non-essential/luxury products, more than pre-Covid times.

Focus on vision and mission

Neravati also talked about future plans for the company, “Focusing and expanding to newer territories to reach out to the customers in a more meaningful way will focus on the walk ahead.”

Discussing the smart wearables category, Neravati shared that the mission of the company is to reorganise their portfolio, strengthen technology, manufacture in-house and provide a superior customer experience.

“This will help increase the shelf life of the product and allow us to engage with our customers in a better manner. We also are focusing on reducing the time to manufacture and launch more products in wearables and hearables. So you will see a far more aggressive and superior offering from Titan in the coming few months at various price points.”