Redefining retail

With the blurring of boundaries between the physical and the virtual and the seamlessness of data, retail is being re-imagined for the next-gen of consumers. In India, 370 million people have been born and educated in the 21st century. These Indians are born in an opportune India, which has a lesser guilt of consumption. New India also has a comfort in striking a bold modernity. With the smartphone everything is a thumb-click away! With the emerging seamlessness and convergence of the physical and virtual worlds new retail must be adapted and imagined for India.

 

Creating aspirational public spaces

 
Today’s consumer is relentlessly seeking better experiences and demand more from our public spaces. Malls and retail destinations act as the primary public spaces in India and we expect these spaces to bring together both our achieved and ascribed identity. Therefore retailers will have to create modern retail spaces where aspirations of the modern Indian are met. These spaces have to continuously engage, interact and evolve with its customers and heighten stimulation. These spaces have to create memories and not just moments. They have to connect the past, present and future on a single platform and also showcase the progress of India.

 
Using technology to create a high touch environment

 

Today, there are both convenience seeking customers who want to step in and step out of the store fast and those who seek immersive experiences. Often, it is the same customer who wears different hats depending upon the circumstance or what or when they want to shop.

Retailers will have to create both high touch and high tech environments that can cater to every kind of shopper. In fact, the best high touch environments are created by pervasive use of technology delivered through very engaging human interactions. Using behavioral data that combines hundreds of transactional data points, retailers can create in-store high touch experiences for customers and build a two-way communication with them. Technology can also help deliver multi-sensorial, high touch retail experiences. While empathy and consumer understanding will continue to be important, data-driven deep learning algorithms will create the sentient stores of the future.

 

Creating unique product and brand offering

Retailers will have to mov  beyond trading and invest in creating their own intellectual property through own brands and exclusive product portfolios that help them stand out in the crowd. Almost everyone can source and sell products.

Transitioning from a merchant driven model to a consumer brands driven model can help both the business economics and the customer stickiness of retail chains. By the virtue of being closest to the customers, retailers have a far superior pulse on consumer needs and aspirations and can create consumer brands that win heart-share, mind-share and wallet-share with customers. Winning retailers will be the ones that use their inherent advantage to create differentiated offerings that are built around their own brands and experiences that only they can offer.

 

Even though retailing is among the oldest human activities, it is also among those processes that has gone through the maximum amount of changes and evolution. Success in the past doesn’t guarantee survival in the future. The customer is ready and seamlessly navigates the world of retail, physically and virtually, and it’s only a matter of time before retailers usher in the era of new retail.

 

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