Published : Thursday, 18 September, 2014 11:05 AM
A confluence of experts from the Retail industry discuss the challenges and opportunities in this burgeoning sector at a roundtable at WeSchool
With the advent of mobile, web and a variety of brick-and-mortal super-specialty stores, the lives of millions of everyday consumers across the globe are changing rapidly and meeting the supply chain needs of this new environment is a major challenge. ‘The Retail Dialogue’, a roundtable was organized by the students of Retail Management at WeSchool with the overriding theme ‘OmniChannel Retail: Transcending Boundaries’ on September 13, 2014 at WeSchool Campus, Mumbai. Stalwarts from the retail sector came together to discuss what the future will look like and how organizations need to do to adjust to it, to move from traditional business models to become truly OmniChannel.
As industry leaders Vinay Nadkarni- MD&CEO-Globus Stores Pvt. Ltd, Peshwa Acharya- CEO-Think as Consumer, Natasha Tuli- Co-Founder- Soul Flower India, Madhusudan Desai- COO, Lakewood Malls Private Ltd., Nimish Shah- COO- Lifestyle Retail (Landmark Group), Amitabh Basu- Director at Idendesign Strategies Pvt. Ltd., Sarvesh Dwivedi- Head Lifestyle- eBay.in, took center-stage, the discussion revolved around the factors contributing to the fascinating growth story of OmniChannel Retail in India.
The discussion revealed that today e-commerce has become a reality however m-commerce is fast emerging as the leader as around 40% of shopping is done via mobile and it will be exciting to see how India will move further in that direction. OmniChannel retail finally puts the customer at the center of the equation, allowing customers to satisfy their desire for greater convenience while finding, researching, and ultimately purchasing products. The panelists felt that the key to OmniChannel success was a fully integrated inventory management system which gave the retailer complete transparency of his inventory so that he could treat it as a single stock where everything is located.
“We must encourage our customers to talk about our products on the social media platforms. Find your promoters, engage them through dialogue with the brand, and encourage them to talk about you” advised Natasha Tuli- Co-Founder- Soul Flower India.
As the discussion evolved it was fast becoming clear as to who the biggest influencer in this multimillion dollar game was going to be. The tech-savvy young Indian consumers are looking forward to a seamless experience across channels where they could explore, research, purchase, gift and share. They expect the interaction with the retailers to be customized, simple and instant. This called for retailers to change their siloed mindsets to design an emotional connect with them.
Prof Dr Swpna Pradhan, Head –PGDM (Retail) summed up, “As all the channels of retailing co-exist and they fulfill different needs at different times, there is no scope of clash between channels for a larger share.”
The event also witnessed the inauguration of the Retail Club – Weyapaar. The core purpose of the club is to bring together retail enthusiasts and create a platform that enables knowledge sharing, idea creation and execution. The students have structured activities based on theme dedicated within the retail sector for each month. Some of the themes planned for the year 2014 are consumer durables, Big Box Retailers, Luxury Retail/ Travel and Quick Service Restaurants.