Monday, January 27, 2014

Retail Trend; Shoppers can and will experience the product before purchase

Showrooming was a concern when shoppers used to come to the physical stores, check out the products and then purchase it online because of a better price. Just when this was becoming a cause of concern the exact opposite happened for several categories - reverse showrooming. Here shoppers would do extensive research online and then come to a physical store to experience the product and make the purchase. Needless to say smart Retailers have developed strategies to counter showrooming and to encourage reverse showrooming.

The next step would be to combine the power of technology and the shopper’s need to experience the product, without even having to come into the store. This trend is going to only increase especially in lifestyle and high involvement categories.

The IKEA initiative for their catalogue is an apt example for how Retailers can leverage technology to encourage reverse showrooming; more importantly, deliver shopper value which is not limited to price alone. 

As you can see in this video IKEA has used an augmented reality app to enable shoppers to not only experience their products before hand but also create wonderful memories.

Now to address the question I am invariably asked - is this possible in India and will it be worth it?

Yes, it is very much possible in India and it is definitely worth it because the Retailer will create value for the shopper which is not limited to price. Also, such experiences will have an emotional impact on the customer as also trigger word-of-mouth publicity which is fantastic.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Changing Indian Shopper

Indian Retail is going through a evolution at jet speed and the Indian shopper is changing at an even faster pace. With information at their finger tips (literally and figuratively) they are not stopping for anyone or anything.

Retailers need to keep abreast of these changes and some thoughts about the changing Indian shopper has been captured in this article and those who create a customer centric value proposition keeping in mind these changes might emerge as the winner.

Click Here to read the article. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What’s in store; 2014

My article for Economic Times Retail details some predictions for the Indian Retail sector in 2014. The first point naturally talks about the FDI in Retail and how it is not going to happen soon simply because of the final rider of a state’s clearance exists.

Today’s announcement by the new government in Delhi that they will not allow FDI in multi-brand Retail is exactly what I was talking about. It would be interesting to see how this pans out because the central government is miffed by this and the same party is supporting the minority government in Delhi. 

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Regardless of the FDI story, 2014 promises to an exciting year for Indian Retail.  Click here to read the full article and share your views.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Indian Retail; Learning from a tender coconut vendor

I recently saw this tender coconut vendor in a locality called Mylapore in Chennai. His name is Mr. Rajkumar and when I asked him about the neatly printed price ticket, he said that he decided to put up the same to attract customers as also avoid bargaining with them.
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Apart from his idea of putting up the price ticket, I was impressed by the attention to detail and execution focus. The signage is printed neatly and more importantly it is placed in an eye catching manner facing the traffic flow.

Execution focus is more about common sense and attention to detail. Something this picture clearly demonstrates. Contrast this with what is often seen in the various Retail stores; missing communication, torn posters, slanted price tickets, etc.

That leads me to the topic of ownership. This vendor is clearly the owner/ operators and you can see him standing proud next to his “store”. Obviously his standards of execution are high.

If Retailers work towards creating a similar sense of ownership amongst the staff, they would also take pride in everything inside a store and a customer’s experience would automatically be of a higher level.