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Retail in India: Social Responsibility and Other Trends Players Must Embrace to Rise Higher in 2015

Retail Trends in India 2015

Some Facts and Figures:

I)                    The estimated value of Indian retail sector in 2013 was no less than $520 billion

II)                  Indian retail industry has ranked as one of the top recruiting industries in India

III)                Till 2018, the growth rate for retail in India should be around 13% and expected to become a $950 billion market

IV)               Food and grocery to occupy almost 60% of the entire retail market, followed by clothing and mobile devices

V)                 The young consumers, especially teenagers, will function as major driving forces for retail boom and usage of mobile devices in retail shopping experience is expected to rise significantly

The Bottlenecks:

I)                    A long distance to cross before the international standards of retailing are met

II)                  Cumbersome supply chain management

III)                Unpredictable consumption trends and inefficient human resource

IV)               Lack of automated infrastructure and distribution channels

Establishing brand identity in India is one of the toughest challenges that retail businesses are experiencing. Divided into organized and unorganized Retail, the Indian market offers immense competition to Retail players. Furthermore, they also experience challenges from e-commerce giants (Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong and several others), rapidly flourishing in the Indian market. To survive this crisis, Indian retail brands should not only embrace the emerging trends but also use social responsibility fulfillment as an effective instrument to increase customer awareness, improve brand development and demand customer loyalty.

The Major Trends Indian Retailers Should Embrace in 2015:

  • Omnichannel (also, multichannel) fulfillment is a must. While retail environment in the developed countries have taken significantly leap towards omnichannel fulfillment, India is still lagging behind. If the big fat Indian retail industry is serious about reaching the desired heights of success by 2018, the participants should promote and practice multichannel fulfillment, starting this year.
  • Mobile payment solutions (mobile wallets) should be more secure and seamless with particular attention to the convenience of mobile savvy, technologically sound, young consumers. (They really don’t like carrying cards or currency bills in leather wallets and they hate waiting in a queue).
  • In-store personalization for customers will keep retailers busy in 2015. This is something quite common in ecommerce sites and now the feature should go viral in brick-and-mortar retail stores. Using the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, now retailers can deliver tailored notifications about new product launch, discounts, preferred purchases or discount coupons directly to customer smartphones, as per their previous purchasing experience. Customers will enjoy buying in-store just the way they want, matching their personal taste.
  • More and more technological integration to brick-and-mortar environment and improved store automation.
  • mPos and cloud-based shopping applications will empower retailers to go increasingly mobile in 2015.
  • Relationship marketing and market revolutionizing strategies will dominate sale and marketing strategies in retail environment.
  • Retail operations will be performed faster than ever before, thanks to customers’ demand for speedy operations, product tracking, purchasing and checking-out. ]
  • Social media will emerge as one of the most powerful touchpoints when it comes to improving product development, product marketing-campaigning and delivering customer assistance.

Social Responsibility:

While each of the above-mentioned trends retail brands should embrace to make brick-and-mortar shopping a pleasurable experience for tech-savvy, new-age shoppers, on the other hand, they can’t simply ignore the large chunk of audience that asserts significant control over the environment. They don’t understand BLE, they don’t understand personalized shopping or omnichannel fulfillment. How, then, would you influence this extensive segment? To overcome this challenge, you have to expand activities beyond in-store improvements and make efforts in becoming a part of the community, surroundings and demography. Fulfilling social responsibility provides retailers with the easiest access in achieving this goal. Collaborating with an NGO and running a few welfare camps in the targeted area can strike the right chord. Organize a friendly match or a clean India campaign under your brand’s banner. Encourage people to attend freely and witness how quickly brand value is increasingly. Your involvement in social responsibility would also require social media presence. Create an event in your brand page, RSVP to your followers and once the event is done, let users know how it was by posting photos or pictures of the venue.

Social Responsibility as a Way to Branding

Follow the Trend but Make It Appear As Yours:

Retail environment in 2015 is sure to experience an array of tech-inclined trends and it would be prudent for Indian Retailers to take preparatory steps in embracing these trends. However, following these potential improvements simply for the sake of following is most unlikely to give you the desired results. Improvise! Improve! And implement the trend in a manner that it would appear very much germinated from the very persona of your Brand. 

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