Global experts advise Indian retail industry to 'lead change'

NEW DELHI: On the second day of the KSA Retail Summit, global experts advised the Indian retail industry to 'lead change.' The Indian customers today look for solutions rather than products; and customisation and personalisation rather than generalization. They have an expanding spending basket and are reassigning spends. In such a scenario, brands and retailers in India have to be creative to attract the rapidly evolving Indian customers and build a profitable business.

The second day saw leading international and Indian retailers sharing their experience and thoughts on this challenging new prospect.



Talking on 'Spotting Winning Concepts', KSA Technopak, India chairman Arvind Singhal said, "Indian retailers today need to invest heavily in understanding the emerging needs of the evolving Indian customer. There has to be a mind shift towards offering innovative and time/cost effective 'solutions' that go beyond retail formats."



Singhal elaborated that the Indian customer can be segmented into five genres, which are also rapidly evolving:

a) Demography: Rapidly evolving market for retail concepts that cater to tween/ teen demands and women/ infant needs,

b) Trading up/trade down: Retailers need to aggressively tap rising lifestyle spends on mobile phones, cars, etc while insuring themselves against a trade down that will affect regular spends on grocery, eating out, apparel, etc.,

c) Ethnicity: The celebration of cultural diversity in money terms. Customers will seek out authentic and ethnic experiences e.g. The popularity of Dilli Haat as a mini India;

d) Time starvation: Need for products that 'do the rest' for time starved consumers

e) Around my needs: Big potential for hot retail concepts that micro target i.e. provide products and experiences that are customized to suit specific tastes and preferences.



Addressing a question from the audience on whether the entry of foreign players will hurt the domestic market, Esprit, Asia regional director Peter Hammond said, "The entry of international brands will positively impact the market by helping increase the size of the retail pie. International brands are looking at creating new customers and won't eat into the existing customer base of the domestic players."

Ethan Allen, USA chairman, president and CEO Farooq Kathwari emphasized that the rules of retailing need to be written continually for delighting the consumer. He emphasized that change should be seen as an opportunity to realize greater potential.

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