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Post-Covid customers better informed on products and services & want seamless offline online possibilities, experts at PRC 2022

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Top retail executives said customers have emerged even more informed about products and services and more are now looking for seamless combination of offline and online purchasing and transaction possibilities at every retailer.

“Nowadays customers are looking for ease, they want to buy in the offline mode but at the same time they want to return in the online mode vice-versa. Time has become an essence part for the business, and the customers are demanding convenience for that,” said Vineet Gautam, CEO of Denmark-based Bestseller Retail that sells Jack & Jones, Vero Moda and Only among other brands. “During Covid, it was expected that the customers would not come back to the offline stores, but eventually it (fear) didn’t happen as they are looking for an experience and for that brands are available in both the modes.”

“In the online mode, the customers get suggested products on the website based on the purchase journey, buying behaviour. In the future, we can see the same in the offline mode as well where the sales guy would recommend the products depending upon the buying pattern of the customer”, Gautam added.

The retail honchos were debating:  “How Retail CEOs Are Managing Their Strategic Priorities” in a session of the first day of the IMAGES Group’s Phygital Retail Convention (PRC) 2022. The other panelists for the session included Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste, Harsh Bansal, Director, Vegas Mall & Unity Group, Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls, Raghav Verma, Co-Founder, Chaayos and was moderated by Pramod Arora, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer, PVR Cinemas.

Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste said technology and experience are driving the consumer thought process.

“With the evolution of technology in the retail sector, the customer journey has shifted drastically. The customers are now well educated about the product before even making a purchase and expecting a frictionless experience from the brand,” Jain said. “Customers are looking for more services in the offline store as compared to the online store and this kind of behavior is changing the whole trend in the retail sector. The next big opportunity for the retailers can be the Metaverse and it can eventually change the whole customer experience in both the offline and online mode of shopping”, Jain added.

Harsh Bansal, Director, Vegas Mall & Unity Group stated, “The malls are now well-designed as compared to the past. With the growing infrastructure in the malls, the operations have improved a lot. Earlier Elevators/Lifts were a selling point for the malls, things have changed drastically. After the pandemic, the customers are expecting the shopping centres to be more hygiene and more functional in nature and it should be digitally enabled as well.”