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  • ‘What’s Next’ In Retail: Digitisation, Personalisation And Sustainability

    Published on February 26, 2020

    Mumbai: The Indian Retail Industry comes together at Retailers Association of India’s Retail Leadership Summit (RLS) 2020, on February 26 & 27, 2020 in Mumbai, for a deep dive into what the future holds. RLS is where retail stalwarts engage in an electric exchange of ideas on issues that matter. The 2020 edition of Retail Leadership Summit is presented by Reliance Retail and powered by Future Group.

    Day 1 of the Summit saw the participation from leaders like BS Nagesh of Shoppers Stop & TRRAIN, Janne Einola of H&M, Ramanathan Hariharan of Landmark Group, Rajesh Jain of Lacoste India, Rajiv Nair of Kaya Ltd., J. Suresh of Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd. and Jamshed S. Daboo – Trent Hypermarket.

    The tone of the summit was set by a special address by Ashwin Khasgiwala, Chief Operations Controller, Reliance Retail Ltd. & Director, Reliance Brands Ltd. All the discussions and the deliberations of the day revolved around the central theme—Retail in India: What’s Next.

    Speaking about the theme of the RAI Retail Leadership Summit 2019 (RLS 2019)Kumar Rajagopalan, Chief Executive Officer, Retailers Association of India, said, “The Indian retail industry has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries in the world. This is thanks to the entry of several new players, introduction of new technologies and rapidly changing consumer behaviour. For retail businesses, the last five years were about adapting to the changes and preparing for 2020 and as 2020 arrives, it’s time to revisit goals and envisage what lies ahead. As the consumers’ relationship with a store and a brand continues to change, it’s time to deliberate on the possibilities and recalibrate plans.

    Speaking on the theme, Ramanathan Hariharan, Group Director & Board Member, Landmark Group, said, “There are three big innovations that Retailers are building for the future while strengthening their core strengths on Supply Chain and Retail operations. First, digitizing and empowering store staff. Stores will become places to get solutions instead of just being places to buy products. Second, leveraging customer data for better personalisation. Third, becoming the Brand/Store loved by the community. These initiatives will be based on the fulcrum of leadership and on people who can Envision, Plan and Engineer them to build a retail organization of the future. In addition, a brand/retailer will need to have the capability to deliver good products at a great value proposition.”


    Janne Einola, Country Manager, H&M India, saidWe’re seeing consumer trends shifting to a personalised and experiential model. Customers are looking for relevant content. It isn’t just about reaching the masses anymore. In the future, you will have to talk to individuals. With both consumers and companies taking equal responsibility, sustainability will be a lot more important which will encourage renting and swapping of garments.”

    Deliberating on the future of shopping centres, Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls, commented, “The future of shopping is not just shopping but experience. We plan to create social spaces that encourage people to interact, engage in meaningful experiences and drive community action. We expect structural changes which will help in shopping centres be more agile and flexible in their approach to create a relevant, curated brand mix that elevates the experience and offers consumers a dynamic lifestyle.

    Speaking on the future trends in personal care industry, Rajiv Nair, Group CEO, Kaya Ltd. commentedIndia is still a price-sensitive market and many innovations the world over have not made their inroads into India due to prohibitive pricing. The need for having perfect skin and hair as seen in the Middle East and Korea will soon be seen in India. As more women have higher disposable incomes and the ability to decide for themselves, these services will both expand and explode in India.”

    Bhupesh Dinger, Director, Enrich Salons added, The next gen beauty consumer wants a personalized product that suits his/her individual skin tone and hair style. The challenge to the retailer is to provide mass customisation in a scalable manner.”

    The highlight of the first day at RLS 2020 were the knowledge reports shared by the Boston Consulting Group on ‘Retail 4.0: Winning the 20s – Three Decades Gone By, A New World of Possibilities Awaits’; KPMG on ‘The Online Private Label Growth Paradigm’; Innoviti on ‘Retail Payments Insights’ and Deloitte on ‘Digital Disruption in Retail’. Furthermore, Sonata Software released a whitepaper on ‘Reimagining Grocery Retail – Unlocking Value & Growth through Platform Business Models’.

    A panel by disruptive entrepreneurs in QSRs including Sagar Daryani of Wow! Momo, Raghav Verma of Chaayos, Alisha Agarwal of The Belgian Waffle, Amuleek Bijral of Chai Point, and Kabir Jeet Singh of Burger Singh served as some special food for thought to the participants.

    The day also included an eclectic panel discussing ‘Unified Commerce: The Next Generation of Retail’, which included Amrish Kumar of Ritu Kumar, Manish Kapoor of Pepe Jeans, Rajesh Jain of Lacoste India and Rajiv Nair of Kaya Ltd., among others.

    Other discussions included topics such as ‘Digital Transformation: Best Practices & Success Mantras’, ‘Retail Footprint Optimization: What Works’, ‘Decoding the Indian Consumption Mystery’, ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Making Personalization Work’.

    The day came to a close with the felicitation of the crème de la crème of the retail industry with the India’s Retail Champions Award and the Retail Start-up Awards—both evaluated by eminent personalities from the industry as the Jury.