'What's Next' in Retail: Stores as Places to get Solutions rather than Products

February 28, 2020, Mumbai: The Indian Retail Industry came together at Retailers Association of India’s (RAI) Retail Leadership Summit (RLS) 2020, on February 26 & 27, 2020 in Mumbai, for a deep dive into what the future holds. RLS is where retail stalwarts engage in an electric exchange of ideas on issues that matter. The 2020 edition of Retail Leadership Summit was presented by Reliance Retail and powered by Future Group.

The Summit saw the participation from leaders like BS Nagesh of Shoppers Stop & TRRAIN, Dhruv Bogra of Forever New Clothing, Janne Einola of H&M, Jamshed S. Daboo - Trent Hypermarket, Narendra Kumar Ahmed of Amazon Fashion, Paul Dupuis of Randstad, India, Peter Betzel of IKEA, Ramanathan Hariharan of Landmark Group, Rajesh Jain of Lacoste India, Rajiv Nair of Kaya Ltd., Sandeep Kataria of Bata India, Tushar Ved of Major Brands, Vasanth Kumar of Lifestyle International India and Vineet Gautam of Bestseller Retail, among many more.

The tone of the summit was set by a special address on day 1 (Feb 26) by Ashwin Khasgiwala, Chief Operations Controller, Reliance Retail Ltd. & Director, Reliance Brands Ltd. All the discussions and the deliberations of the day revolved around the central theme—Retail in India: What’s Next.

The day 2 (Feb 27) highlights were the special addresses on Fashion & the Road Ahead by Narendra Kumar Ahmed, Designer & Creative Director, Amazon Fashion, Winning the Hearts & Soles of India by Sandeep Kataria, CEO, Bata India, The Success Story of IKEA in India & What’s Next for Indian Consumers by Peter Betzel, CEO, IKEA India.

Speaking about the theme of the RAI Retail Leadership Summit 2019 (RLS 2019), Kumar Rajagopalan, Chief Executive Officer, Retailers Association of India, said, “The Indian retail industry has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries in the world. This is thanks to the entry of several new players, introduction of new technologies and rapidly changing consumer behaviour. For retail businesses, the last five years were about adapting to the changes and preparing for 2020 and as 2020 arrives, it’s time to revisit goals and envisage what lies ahead. As the consumers’ relationship with a store and a brand continues to change, it’s time to deliberate on the possibilities and recalibrate plans.

Speaking on the theme, Ramanathan Hariharan, Group Director & Board Member, Landmark Group, said, “There are three big innovations that Retailers are building for the future while strengthening their core strengths on Supply Chain and Retail operations. First, digitizing and empowering store staff. Stores will become places to get solutions instead of just being places to buy products. Second, leveraging customer data for better personalisation. Third, becoming the Brand/Store loved by the community. These initiatives will be based on the fulcrum of leadership and on people who can Envision, Plan and Engineer them to build a retail organization of the future. In addition, a brand/retailer will need to have the capability to deliver good products at a great value proposition.”

Janne Einola, Country Manager, H&M India, said, We’re seeing consumer trends shifting to a personalised and experiential model. Customers are looking for relevant content. It isn’t just about reaching the masses anymore. In the future, you will have to talk to individuals. With both consumers and companies taking equal responsibility, sustainability will be a lot more important which will encourage renting and swapping of garments.”

Speaking about consumer trends in India, Peter Betzel, CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA India, said India has one of the best potentials to grow as a world class retail destination. The retail landscape is changing fast and many Indian consumers are shopping online while at the same time, they still like to visit stores to touch and feel the products before they buy. Consumers are more aware and savvy. They are value conscious and expect companies to take strong responsibility for people and the planet.”

Deliberating on the future of shopping centres, Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls, commented,The future of shopping is not just shopping but experience. We plan to create social spaces that encourage people to interact, engage in meaningful experiences and drive community action. We expect structural changes which will help in shopping centres be more agile and flexible in their approach to create a relevant, curated brand mix that elevates the experience and offers consumers a dynamic lifestyle.

Speaking on the future trends in personal care industry, Rajiv Nair, Group CEO, Kaya Ltd. commented, India is still a price-sensitive market and many innovations the world over have not made their inroads into India due to prohibitive pricing. The need for having perfect skin and hair as seen in the Middle East and Korea will soon be seen in India. As more women have higher disposable incomes and the ability to decide for themselves, these services will both expand and explode in India.”

Bhupesh Dinger, Director, Enrich Salons added, The next-gen beauty consumer wants a personalized product that suits his/her individual skin tone and hair style. The challenge to the retailer is to provide mass customisation in a scalable manner.”

The highlight of the first day at RLS 2020 were the knowledge reports shared by the Boston Consulting Group on ‘Retail 4.0: Winning the 20s - Three Decades Gone By, A New World of Possibilities Awaits’; KPMG on ‘The Online Private Label Growth Paradigm’; Innoviti on ‘Retail Payments Insights’ and Deloitte on ‘Digital Disruption in Retail’. Furthermore, Sonata Software released a whitepaper on ‘Reimagining Grocery Retail - Unlocking Value & Growth through Platform Business Models’.

A panel by disruptive entrepreneurs in QSRs on day 1 (Feb 26) included Murali Krishnan of Wow! Momo, Raghav Verma of Chaayos, Alisha Shirodkar Agarwal of The Belgian Waffle, Aseem Sidhu of Chai Point, and Kabir Jeet Singh of Burger Singh served as some special food for thought to the participants.

The day 1 also included an eclectic panel discussing ‘Unified Commerce: The Next Generation of Retail’, which included Rajesh Jain of Lacoste India, Rajiv Nair of Kaya Ltd., and Vikram Idnani of Reliance Retail among others.

Other discussions on day 1 included topics such as ‘Digital Transformation: Best Practices & Success Mantras’, ‘Retail Footprint Optimization: What Works’, ‘Decoding the Indian Consumption Mystery’, ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Making Personalization Work’.

Captivating panel discussion on day 2 included ‘The Role of Funding in Shaping Business’, ‘The Consumer Effect and Brands: Preparing for the shift in Power Dynamics’ and ‘The Ex Factor: Taking Consumer Experience to the Next Level’.

The day 2 of RLS2020 also had audiences engrossed round table discussions on ‘Owner Driven Businesses and the Digital Age: What’s Next, ‘Is Retail Workforce in India Prepared for Digital Transformation?’, ‘Two Sides of a Coin: Unwritten Rules of Success in Retail’, and ‘The Future of In store Experience: What’s in store for India.’

The day 1 came to a close with the felicitation of the crème de la crème of the retail industry with the 'India’s Retail Champions Award' and the 'Retail Start-up Awards—both evaluated by eminent personalities from the industry as the Jury.

Winners of the India’s Retail Champions Awards 2020 were:

Awards Category -- Winner

Apparel & Lifestyle - The Raymond Shop, Raymond Limited, JACK & JONES, Bestseller India

Beauty & Wellness - Enrich

Consumer Durables & IT (CDIT) - Reliance Digital, Reliance Retail

Department Store - Lifestyle, Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd.

Emerging Retailer of the Year (Innovative, disruptive in the last 5 years) - Style Baazar, Baazar Style Retail Pvt. Ltd.

Food & General Retail (Large format over 5,000 sq. ft) - Spencer's, Spencer's Retail Ltd.

Food & General Retail (Small format below 5,000 sq. ft) - The Chocolate Room, The Chocolate Room (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Footwear - Skechers, Skechers South Asia Pvt Ltd

Home Decor / Home Improvement - Prestige Xclusive, TTK Prestige Ltd.

Jewellery - Voylla, Voylla Fashions Pvt. Ltd.

Restaurant & QSR - Chaayos, Sunshine Teahouse Pvt. Ltd.

Speciality Retail - Apollo Pharmacy, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., Manyavar, Vedant Fashions Pvt. Ltd.

Day 2 came to a closure with the Great Place to Work Awards that identified 10 best retail employers in India.

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