Snippets from the Retail Conference Organized by Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) @ Hotel Taj Coromandel, Chennai On September 5th & 6th
Indian Retail is facing the proverbial Chicken and Egg scenario where we are desperately identifying who we need, the Guru or the Pupil. This programme clearly addressed that. For us, the retail students of CBS, these two days at the TAJ on the Emerging Retail Paradigm was an eye opener to various aspects of organized Retail. SICCI has indeed done us a great help by giving a wonderful industry forum to understand the key concepts and terminologies in a matter of two days which might have otherwise taken two or three months of classroom study.
This seminar was a first of its kind to be held at Chennai and we felt really honored to be a part of this bonanza. The Session was kick started by Mr.Bhaskar Bhatt, MD, Titan Industries. He set the right mood for the day as he elucidated on the needs and wants of the customer and how organized retail could help the customer satisfy his needs. He gave us the various ingredients which constitute a so called perfect retail recipe. He being a HR head, closed his session with a note “Celebrate people!!”
Mr. Radhakrishnan,CEO Reliance Retail, then gave the keynote address of the session and he emphasized on the need to focus not on FDI but EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). This would have enormous effect on the supply chain and hence contribute to adding value to the customer. He held us in a stance with his excellent and down-to-earth insights about store management. An amazing session.
The next session was on Visual Merchandising (VM), about the importance of “Looking beyond the obvious ”. Mr. Ranju Mohan , Marketing Head of Henkel delved into the finer aspects of VM and explained how the footfalls could be drastically increased . Positioning and display play the pivotal role in VM. The emphasis on VM was further stressed on by Mr. David Blair, Managing Director- South Asia, Fitch, who has done the design for numerous retail giants across the globe. He charmed the audience with his design strategies and also presented some innovative models of supermarkets of the future.
Post lunch session was delivered by Mr. Venkataramana , Sr. VP- HR from Reliance Retail about the challenges faced in the Retention of employees in the retail sector. He stated with a note on keeping employees happy , as happy employees create happy customers. A very lucid and interesting talk with lot of practical insights. Then the baton was handed over to Mr. Connie Murray , VP- Manufacturing, Coca-Cola . Once again , the limelight was on SCM ( supply chain management). With the words “ Fish , Where the Fishes Are” he had us on the hook. He shared some of the valuable strategies implemented at Coke to achieve world class excellence. His words “ Plan your work and work your plan” are still reverberating in our minds.
The day came to an end with a session by Mr.E. Bobson from TUV Rheinland. He went one step further in SCM by elaborately speaking on “The Information Security System in SCM”. Only after this did we come to know of the various standards related to SCM especially ISO28000-for Security Management Systems.
The next morning began with Ms.Preethi Reddy from Technopak giving us a glimpse of “Managing Market Research”. We learnt about one more incidence of pareto principle in play - that only 20 % of the customers gave 80% of the Sales. She went on to explain how data was effectively used to do a RFM ( recency , frequency , Monetary ) analysis. To further strengthen the views , we had Ms.Tara Prabhakar from Envirosell delving deeply about “ Developing Shopper understanding”. The visuals she played corroborated how even trivial things like a door positioning can affect the consumer’s purchase decision . It was initially hard to believe that customers made 70 percent of their purchase decisions inside the store. But, it’s a researched fact ! That indicated a huge opportunity in the retailer ’s hands to influence the consumer. There is thus an increasing need to understand the consumer before even advertising products. Her closing remark “Bring science into shopping ” gave us a new mantra to work on .
Mr.Sanjay Mishra , VP- Merchandising, Spencer’s Retail commenced the next session on “ Profitable Store Operations”. He stressed that ultimately every transaction boiled down to a measurement of LCM per sq.foot. He started off with the concepts of store operations and how immaculately it has to be planned out. The major expectations of the deliverables of any large chain were spoken of. He concentrated on the various back-end activities needed to run a store and how it is important to bring about a differentiation in service. His precise focus to details was so high that it could have helped any entrepreneur to get inspiration for opening a profitable retail chain.
Finally to complete the circle , we had Mr.Saurav Dalmia , HSBC who pointed out “The need for Electronic Banking in Retail”. With mammoth scale and enormous number of Suppliers and Vendors , it becomes highly mandatory to have an efficient way of dealing with monetary transactions in organized retail chain operations. He pronounced that Electronic Banking(EB) to be the most suitable solution for the current scenario . EB transactions can be carried online and alerts can be sent to the mail or to the mobile. He also spoke vividly on the usage of technology like SAP to provide better banking solutions.
The seminar ended with Mr.Satishkumar, MD, Henkel and also the Convenor of the summit summarizing the two day proceedings. Mr.Balasubramanian,President of SICCI gave the final address. Followed by the retail awards distribution which were given in 3 categories-
Traditional Retail - Nalli Silks (Received by Mr.Nalli Kuppusamy Chetty)
Consumer Durable Retail - Viveks (Received by Mr. Kodandarama Setty)
First generation Entrepreneur - Received by Mr.M. Subramanian, Subiksha
The icing on the cake was the valedictory address by our dearest Mr.Pradipta K Mohapatra, who had the entire audience spell bound with his captivating speech about the international and Indian trends. A very interesting feature of his talk was the comparison of the volume of organized retail trade in India and that of the city of the Bangkok, which showed the long miles to be traveled by us.
Altogether, a great experience for all of us, not only in terms of learning for the real world, but also as an opportunity to brush shoulders and personally interact with the leaders of the industry.
Contributed by Khadeeja Bilquees, Retail Varsity