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Being ‘Digital First’ is the Way to Survive in the New Retail World: Sanjeev Rao, CEO, Being Human Clothing

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Sandeep Kumar
Sandeep Kumar
A multimedia journalist with over eleven years of experience in print and digital media, Sandeep Kumar is assistant editor with Images Group. Books, retail, sports and cinema are an inextricable part of his life.

To enhance the in-store experience, Being Human has introduced mobile POS that helps with faster checkout and makes the process seamless

Looking back, if you had to pen down your top 3 learnings from 2022, what would they be?

COVID has been an eye-opener for most of us in the industry. It has brought to the forefront the inefficiencies in our way[1]of-working and challenged some of the fundamental beliefs of retailers. For us, it has been a good challenge and a humble experience as we learnt many things in the entire phase. Some of the key learnings are:

We live in a ‘Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity’ (VUCA), which makes it imperative for corporations to be ‘lean and agile’ in approach. Organizations have learned to work on a ‘asset light’ business model, flatter organizational structures, and leaner inventory etc. We have also learned to be more agile through increased partnership with best-in[1]class service providers (ie 3PL Partners, Technology Vendors, Marketing Agencies, etc).

The pandemic has increased the rate of adoptions of Digital Technologies. Today’s Customer demands a digital solution at every touch point, be it during the awareness process, purchasing or returning the order. This has forced the brands to evaluate, implement and imbibe ‘digital first’ approach. Organizations are looking to digitize all aspects of business, leading to increased efficiencies and better customer experience.

COVID has made us realise how vulnerable and helpless a person can get. It has kindled the feeling of helping others and made the society more responsible. As a result, people and brands have become more socially conscious. Topics like sustainability, global warming, equality, giving back to the society are on top of their agenda and they expect that every action of theirs contributes to the betterment of the Society.

What is the vision 2023 for your brand?

In 2023, we aspire to lead our brand from being purposeful brand to a socially conscious brand. As every product of ours helps shape a life through education or helps save a life through healthcare, we also want to imbibe the social consciousness in the very DNA of our product and stakeholders.

Tell us about the brand growth in the last cycle? Highlight on the key elements which helped you achieve this number?

The brand has been on a phenomenal run since inception and has been doubling its business in the last couple of years. Few of the key elements which drives the growth for us are:

  • Resonance of our purpose with customers
  • Products acceptance by distribution channel
  • Entry into Tier III & IV markets and opening new stores

Tell us about your expansion plans? Tier I or Tier II/III cities, your preferred choice for expansion? Reasons.

Going forward, Bharat is going to play a key role in India’s growth. As reported, rural India is growing at 2X times that of urban India. As per reports by BCG, the elite and affluent class of consumers are spread across all tiers and would be major growth drivers. We believe that our brand cuts across all tiers and resonates with the customers. Hence, we need ‘Tier specific strategies’ to service these markets.

  • For metro and Tier I cities, we plan to service them via our EBOs and LFS stores.
  • For Tier II and III cities, we are following the distribution route,
  • For other regions, we are taking the e-commerce route.

What are the innovative in-store experiences that your brand has introduced to enhance customer experience?

The customer today is looking for solutions. The brand which provides the best solution is going to have a clear strategic advantage in the long term. Hence, we have introduced Omnichannel capabilities. With this, we can engage with customers at a much deeper level and deliver customized clothing solutions. The customer can shop with us anytime, anywhere, and can even return the product anywhere. Options like ‘Click and Collect, place order in[1]store and get it delivered at home, Endless aisle etc’ are introduced to make the shopping experience better.

To enhance the in store experience, we have introduced Mobile POS which helps with faster checkout and makes the process seamless.

Tell us about the tech innovations implemented and the impact of it?

We have implemented technology led innovations to enhance customer experience, such as social media-based shopping (wherein the customer can shop over a video call), and catalogue-based shopping experience.

To understand the customer better, we have implemented CRM Solution, which helps us create a Single View of Customer (SVOC). With this we can track customer’s purchase lifecycle, provide customised solutions, implement efficient marketing campaign; thereby delivering a better customer experience.

Going forward, which technologies and initiatives are you looking forward to?

Being ‘Digital First’ is the way to survive in the new retail world. We believe that the next phase of Digital Transformation would be led by Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Technologies like Virtual Store in the Metaverse gives customers a chance to have a complete shopping experience, anytime and anywhere. We are also exploring virtual trial rooms, where-in we can capture customer body measurement and enable trail of the entire range.

Are the new categories in the pipeline? If yes, please elaborate.

As we embark on our journey on becoming a lifestyle brand, we are following a full wardrobe strategy. We already have a strong presence in the men’s casual line, we are looking to strengthen our accessories line, introduce footwear and personal care for men. The womenswear has got phenomenal response and we want to build on that and recreate the success of menswear. Going ahead, we are looking forward to introducing Being Human for Boys.

How are you laying the bricks for growth and success in the New Year? Is it going to be an omnichannel journey or putting action to digital transformation or accelerating processes with technology or something else? Tell us your thoughts.

As the world comes out of COVID, it is facing multiple challenges of war, supply chain, inflation etc, leading to fear of recession being a real and present danger. With this in mind, we will be working on building the digital capabilities at a rapid pace but will take cautious and calibrated calls on physical expansion. Digital First and asset light would be the key words in the coming year.

Elaborate on the initiatives (marketing and digital) which were a success in this period?

As e-commerce is picking-up, offline retail cannot be ignored. Hence, while we focus on digital marketing, we give equal (if not more) importance to offline marketing as well, especially Local Store Marketing. We have introduced this programme where[1]in we have customer related activities planned at the store. This also keeps the store staff motivated and customers engaged. On the digital front, we are actively engaging in tactical campaigns around socially conscious ideas like Earth Day, World Disability Day, Environment Day etc.

This story was first published on January’23 issue of Images Retail magazine.

 

 

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