Retailers Association of India (RAI), the apex body of small, independent and large retail businesses in the country, hosted Retail Technology Conclave 2018 (ReTechCon), the industry’s only technology-focused knowledge-sharing platform. The theme for the two-day Conclave was ‘Intelligent Retail: What is Smart’.
Speaking about the relevance of the theme to retail businesses, Shri Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI said, “Today, consumers expect to be recognised by retailers when they visit and be given specific offers, deals and services. It is not about retailing anymore, but about Me-tailing. This is pushing retailers to give concepts that are much more technologically advanced and are focussed towards individuals. ‘What is Smart?’ is a question that has been going through the minds of most retailers as it is also something that many consumers are embracing, many times intuitively. It is with the intention of helping retailers understand all that is latest that we have themed ReTechCon on the topic,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.
The Keynote for the first day of the Conclave was delivered by Ashish Chauhan, MD & CEO, Bombay Stock Exchange. “Waves of technology will come. If you can ride them as retailers, you will be able to thrive. Focus on non-linearity it allows you to move fast. Artificial Intelligence is like electricity, it can be used in any situation. Learn how to use it and other smart technologies effectively. With smartness you can do many things. It’s a deluge, if you do your bit, continue to evolve, you will thrive,” he advised retailers.
Up next was a riveting special address by Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh, who gave retailers immense food for thought. “We use tech words wrongly—we should really understand what they mean and what they do. Going forward, no single technology will have the biggest impact; It is going to be the orchestration of technologies. How do you transform the brick and mortar store with the application of data science, and how you integrate offline and online, that’s going to be the future. How do retail businesses survive the waves of disruption? Like Jeff Bezos said, keep the consumer in the centre of everything you do and you’ll be fine,” she said.
The second day kick-started with a power-packed keynote by Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop.
“Use technology like a strategic tool. However, remember technology alone will not work. We need to bring back the romance to retail through Assortment for customer, Customer Service and Events & Experience.,” he said.
This was followed by an interesting QnA session between Rakesh Biyani, Joint-MD, Future Retail and RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan, “Technology is there to make you productive. We need to use it well. The whole job of a retail is rediscovering and reinventing because the consumer is changing,” said Rakesh Biyani.
One of the crowd-pullers on the second day was a group discussion between representatives of Generation Z where they shared what kind of shopping experiences they seek. A one-of-its kind initiative, it helped retailers understand the priorities and thought process of these consumers of the future.
The audience was treated to many more insights on cutting-edge technologies such as Internet of Things, bots and Artificial Intelligence, and relevant topics such as Customer Engagement in a Digital-first World, the transformation of point of sale into point of experience and winning the Gen Z.
What acted as a magnet for retailers and technocrats alike was the showcase of transformative technologies such as Virtual / Augmented reality on display by partners.
The event was the preferred platform for the release of several products and a report by RAI & ValueFirst titled ‘Eyeing Consumer Intelligence in Retail,’ that helps in understanding the state of e-Retail in the Indian marketing context. Providing synthesized insights from 350+ India marketers, this comprehensive resource deep dives into statistics, trends, opportunities and challenges for the modern day marketer to help them formulate digital marketing strategies that deliver a higher ROI.
ReTechCon 2018 also hosted the third addition of ReTech Startup Awards, instituted to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship. Out of the scores of entries received, 10 shortlisted start-up companies presented 10-minute elevated pitches to a Grand Jury. The top 3 winning start-ups were then felicitated at a gala ceremony the same evening. “Many retailers are finding great value in working with startups that are helping them cope with the changing times and consumer demands. Through the Awards, we, at RAI, seek to identify such startups and recognise their contribution to the growth of smart retail in India,” said the RAI CEO.
The winners of ReTech Startup Awards 2018 were: LimtmusWorld, Perpule and Nukkad Shops Pvt Ltd.
With so much on offer, Retail Technology Conclave 2018 proved to be the ultimate platform for cutting-edge technology in retail.
About Retailers Association of India
Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. It is a strong advocate for retailing in India and works with all levels of government and stakeholders with the aim to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness.
About Retail Technology Conclave
Retail Technology Conclave, popularly known as ReTechCon, is the only knowledge-sharing platform focused on the technology aspect of the retail business. The platform, launched 11 years ago, has grown to become the country’s largest congregation of CIOs/CTOs, technology service providers and experts in the retail technology domain. It is designed to help retailers understand the rapid changes in technology and adapt to them, for the benefit of their businesses as well as consumers.
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