- Meenakshi Kumar |
The Retailers Association of India (RAI) recently hosted a two-day conference Retail Leadership Summit (RLS) in Mumbai. The theme of the summit was ‘Connected Retail: The New World Order’. The summit was inaugurated by BS Nagesh, Founder, Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates (TRRAIN) and chairman, RAI. Subhash Desai, Minister for Industries, Maharashtra was the chief guest at the function.
Staying connected with the latest technology
The idea behind Connected Retail is to offer fully integrated, digitally improved, personalised in-store experience that engage customers at the intersection of the digital and virtual world. This is achieved through integrating all channels and optimising all business processes including sourcing, HR, supply chain, operations, payments and marketing. Connected Retail provides an opportunity to retailers to digitally enhance immediacy, control, convenience, touch-and-feel and face-to-face interactions – all of which are key factors that form the core strengths of a store. For better performance at store level and to ensure customer satisfaction, new systems have to be put in place, new priorities set and new job roles defined.
Great ideas, lively discussions
RLS brought together the best retailers and e-tailers on the same platform and encouraged the participants to rethink their strategies. The aim is to create new benchmarks for excellence. A power packed panel consisting of Kishore Biyani, Group CEO, Future Group; Mohit Pande, Country Head, South East Asia and India, Google for Work; Rakesh Jhunjunwala, ace equity investor; Ramanathan Hariharan, Group Director and Board Member, Landmark Group and Sachin Bansal, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Flipkart discussed ‘Connected Retail: The New World Order. Are we ready?’ Mohit Pandey of Google for Work pointed out that by ‘bringing the best of consumer technology to the business world, organisations are able to engage with the marketplace at scale, drive innovation and create work processes that are collaborative, mobile and real-time. As consumers increasingly move online, retailers must embrace digital transformation’. Rakesh Jhunjunwala presented the investors’ perspective by saying that ‘existing cash flows and/or the expectation of future cash flow is the bedrock of equity valuation’. The highlight of the event was Sachin Bansal’s game-changer session where he talked about the company’s disruptive innovation that forever changed the country’s retail landscape.
A research conducted by Forrester states that by the end of 2016, Connected Retail will influence 44 per cent of retail sales. This is the direction in which retail is moving and so it was the focus of RLS. The RLS is India’s largest gathering of retail leaders, service providers and other stakeholders from the industry. Every year, it attracts more than 1,000 retail heads and professionals, from India as well as the world. The aim of RLS is to bring the best of brains together to deliberate and discuss the ways to take modern retail in India to the next level. It is the only official summit of its kind that has been initiated by the industry.