The progress of retail industry in the e-commerce era

New Delhi (IANSlife) The advancement of the internet in recent years has made many things more accessible to individuals, including communication, entertainment, playing games, obtaining information, online payment, and shopping. There is nothing that an individual cannot do without the Internet.

Spykar, a go-to clothing brand for the young and restless, celebrated three decades in business with the launch of the new store in Mumbai’s Phoenix Palladium. The latest store is housed in a luxury 2000-square-foot facility with enough of room for circulation and movement to provide consumers with a comfortable browsing experience.

To gain a better understanding of retail presence in the e-commerce era, IANSlife spoke with Sanjay Vakharia, CEO of Spykar Lifestyle Private Ltd.

Read Excerpt:

How is the retail industry progressing in the e-commerce era?

SV: Various disruptions and roadblocks often act as catalysts to transform the business. The COVID-19 pandemic fast-forwarded our lives and sped up digital transformations, across the sectors. Lockdowns and social distancing brought in a change in consumer buying behavior, accelerating the adoption of e-commerce as well as traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This has further resulted in e-commerce becoming mainstream in the modern retail industry.

Retailers are embracing m-commerce (mobile commerce), integrating physical stores with online channels, and leveraging data analytics to personalize the shopping experience. They are also utilizing social media and influencer marketing to reach a wider audience, improving supply chain management through automation and AI, and enhancing customer service with convenient options like live chat and easy returns. Overall, the retail industry is evolving to meet the demands of the digital age and provide a seamless and personalized shopping experience for customers.

In a post-pandemic world, how well are retail stores performing?

SV: In the post-pandemic world, the performance of retail stores varies depending on several factors. While some retail stores have experienced significant challenges and closures, others have adapted and found success in the changing landscape. Stores that have implemented safety measures, such as social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols, have been able to regain customer confidence and resume operations. Additionally, retailers that have embraced e-commerce and omnichannel strategies have seen growth, as online shopping surged during lockdowns. However, the overall performance of retail stores continues to be influenced by factors like consumer spending habits, economic conditions, influencers influencing buying behavior, and the ongoing shift toward online shopping and easy accessibility.

With the influence of social media, is there a growing demand for branded products in Tier II & III cities?

SV: In the era of the ’80s and ’90s, metropolitan and Tier I cities were the key contributors to India’s economic growth. However, with the internet bringing the world closer, educating the masses about key happenings across the world and rising disposable income, Tier II and Tier III cities are emerging as key business hubs. Social media platforms have become powerful channels for advertising and promoting brands, reaching a wide audience across different geographical locations. As social media usage increases in Tier II and III cities, people are exposed to branded content, influencer endorsements, and aspirational lifestyles showcased by influencers and celebrities. This exposure, coupled with improving economic conditions and increasing disposable incomes, has led to a rising desire for branded products in these cities.

Consumers in Tier II and III cities are seeking to express their personal style and status through branded goods, contributing to the demand for these products. Retailers and brands are recognizing this trend and expanding their presence in these cities to tap into this growing market. We at Spykar too recently launched new stores in Phoenix Palladium, Ludhiana, Behrampur, vizianagram, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Forbezgung, Guwahati, Morbi, Sonipat, and also have Factory outlets in Faridabad, Malkangiri, Indore, Nagpur, Godda, and Pune.

With consumers adopting sustainable brands, what is the path forward for retail’s sustainable future?

SV: The path forward for retail’s sustainable future lies in several key areas. Here are some strategies and trends that can help shape a sustainable future for the retail industry:

  • Embrace eco-friendly practices: Retailers need to adopt environmentally friendly practices throughout their operations. This includes reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste generation, optimizing packaging materials, and implementing efficient supply chain practices.
  • Offer sustainable products: Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products. Retailers should focus on offering a wide range of sustainable options, including products made from recycled or organic materials, ethically sourced items, and products with a reduced environmental impact.
  • Transparent and ethical sourcing: Consumers want to know where their products come from and how they are made. Retailers should prioritize transparency and ethical sourcing by partnering with suppliers who adhere to responsible labor practices, fair trade principles, and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
  • Technology and innovation: Embracing technological advancements can drive sustainability in retail. For instance, implementing smart inventory management systems can reduce overstocking and minimize waste. Leveraging data analytics and AI can help optimize supply chains, transportation routes, and energy consumption.
  • Educate and engage consumers: Retailers should educate consumers about the benefits of sustainable products and practices. Promoting eco-friendly lifestyles through marketing campaigns, in-store displays, and online platforms can help raise awareness and encourage responsible consumer choices.
  • Embrace innovation in packaging: Sustainable packaging solutions, such as biodegradable materials, minimalistic designs, and reusable or refillable containers, can significantly reduce waste. Retailers should explore innovative packaging options to minimize their environmental footprint.
  • Continuous improvement: Retailers should view sustainability as an ongoing journey rather than a destination. Regular assessment, measurement, and improvement of sustainability metrics can help retailers track progress and identify areas for further enhancement.

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