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Community building and employee engagement: Key retail mantras for FY25

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Assembling a community around the brand and strengthening the brand’s internal community or team is crucial, according to industry leaders at PRC 2024

Bengaluru: Building a niche community centred on a brand, backed by thorough market analysis and strong employee involvement remains a cornerstone strategy opted by companies across various retail sectors, captains of the Indian retail industry shared while speaking at the Phygital Retail Convention 2024.

“When we launch a new brand, the product is not the immediate focus. It begins with a concept, with our primary emphasis on community-building from the start. Last month, we introduced a footwear brand inspired by music, catering to real musicians and their preferences. Our journey commenced by nurturing a music community,” ,” said Sandip Kanti Baksi, chief operating officer of the European shoemaking company Astormueller.

“Our initial focus was on musicians, and from there, we expanded our reach to include our target audience—individuals in their early twenties and younger. Our endeavours have yielded considerable success, amassing over 135,000 followers, nearly seven million views, and approximately 150,000 likes,” added Baksi.

Shannon D’Souza, founder of the coffee beans brand KC Roasters, believes that fostering a sense of community should extend beyond just external customer engagement to encompass internal team dynamics as well.

“As a retail brand in the coffee space, I believe there’s a tendency to primarily focus on building communities for our customers,” said D’Souza. “While engaging with them is crucial, it’s equally important to cultivate a sense of community within our team. I always tell my team the importance of getting to know each other and fostering strong bonds. This internal community aspect is just as vital as our external customer engagement efforts.”

Shaishav Mittal, founder of Lovely Bake Studio, an eggless baking brand, has implemented a video-based training approach for staff development.

“As a food retail brand, ensuring consistent customer experience across all our stores, whether they’re in the same state or across India, is a challenge we encounter. To tackle this, we’ve developed an extensive library of training videos aimed at equipping our staff with the necessary skills and knowledge,” stated Mittal.

Baksi from Astormueller also highlighted that crafting a strategy amidst perpetual market fluctuations is key to maintaining competitiveness and capitalising on evolving opportunities.

“Conducting thorough market analysis like SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) is imperative, as it enables organisations to identify their strengths and align their strategies with market shifts, ensuring they remain in sync with evolving consumer trends and preferences,” said Baksi.

The panel discussion titled ‘The Retail CXO’s Masterplan’, moderated by Mohit Rathod, co-founder of Truly Desi, featured speakers including Jugal Mistry, founder of Bombay Trooper and Raghav Somani, chief executive officer of Headphone Zone, engaging in insightful dialogue.

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