Industry leaders from various retail categories shared their observations and market lessons from the experience of fighting against the pandemic damages and disruptions
Mumbai: The current mantra for most of the retailers is to win Bharat and winning Bharat will win retail in the right manner beyond any doubt, according to Sagar Daryano, co-founder and chief executive officer of Wow Momo Foods. He shared his thoughts during an informative and inspiring groupthink titled The Megaverse: 100 Shades of Retail on the first day of Phygital Retail Convention (PRC).
The 2023 edition mega retail event Phygital Retail Convention is being held at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai on the 11th and 12th of May. With over 250 speakers sharing their expertise and experience over the course of two days, the mega event is going to be a treasure trove of knowledge and business lessons
The massive roundtable witnessed industry leaders from various retail categories sharing observations and market lessons from their experience fighting against the pandemic damages and disruptions. From the talent crunches to delayed openings, from retail space oversupply in some zones to footfall management challenges in others, brands are retailers are encountering both unprecedented growth potential and on-ground challenges in retail operations.
Three key factors to keep in mind
According to Vineet Gautam, chief executive officer of Bestseller India, every retailer should remember the three major factors/mantras for the next two to five years: less effort is more, development of technology, and keeping up with AI (artificial intelligence).
“To all the people who are looking at 10 years from today, I think a large part of our business will be tech-enabled. Also, AI is going to be a very big change, especially in the fashion business. Retailers need to start adapting to tech and spend a lot more time understanding what this world is going to be in the next three to five years,” said Gautam.
“Businesses need to focus sharper and each store you need to understand the segmentation and accordingly have the product available rather than having a large assortment which 50% of that doesn’t even contribute to your store retail is expensive space so I think less is more is going to be what is going to happen in the next three to five years,” he added.
Artificial to artistic
The invention of Chat GPT, an AI language tool that has gained over 100 million users in its first week of launch, is playing a critical role in the transformation of retail helping businesses especially e-commerce marketplaces to enhance customer service, personalize marketing efforts, optimize supply chain, and much more.
“Could we change the word artificial to artistic because it’s game-changing what we are seeing in the world of AI with the introduction of Chat GPT,” said Daryano from Wow Momo Foods. “However authenticity is a very large challenge and big debate happening around the globe about who owns the patent or who owns the design.”
Power of workforce
Sangeeta Pendukar, chief executive officer of Pantaloons elaborated on how the fashion retailer made use of manpower in order to elevate footfall. “On a weekly basis, we have noticed that 49% of our footfall is from Monday to Friday, and about 51% is packed on the two days of the weekend. Thus we came to the big idea of creating a big workforce that came to our stores only on the weekends.”
“It was a great win because we needed extra manpower for those two days. There is a large talent pool available in cities which is largely college students or first jobbers who want to do more and are available on weekends. We have to find that talent and over a few quarters, we managed to do it successfully. Today about 10% of our workforce is now moved to this model,” added Pendukar.
Speaking about the challenges while competing with e-commerce giants during the pandemic, Subhash Chandra, managing director of Sangeetha Mobiles said, “Amazon and Flipkart have presented online merchandise really cheap, but we can offer cheaper than them and with much better value-added service. Today we have a two-hour delivery pan South India any town can deliver in two hours if you place an order on another mobile store.”
Quality over quantity
“Post Covid what the+ brands have learned is to focus more on the quality versus the quantity. Also last decade we have seen an explosion of choices available to consumers and brands are trying to become everything we all want,” said Amitabh Suri, chief executive officer of USPA.
“If we curate better merchandise both online and offline and try to offer an experience to the consumer thus we can build the legacy for which we stand. We tried to bring in product which was more expensive but those deserved the price because of higher quality and we found that customers getting fond of the products. Thus we grew rather well last year,” added Suri.
Two mantras for malls
“Malls cannot depend on brands to drive consumer growth. But the mall itself needs to do more. So it is necessary to reach out to customers, realize their needs, and fulfill them,” said Shibu Philips, director of shopping malls at Lulu Group India.
According to Rajneesh Mahajan, chief executive officer of Inorbit Malls, “The one thing which helped us in last year is our infrastructure upgradation to make it young and premium. In the cycle of innovation, we saw the maximum growth coming there so making the infrastructure look young.”