Indian Retail Fixated on Customers

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Indian Retail Fixated on Customers

Post  somdatta on Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:45 am

The retail sector, one of the India's largest industry, accounts for over 10% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and around 8% of the employment. Looking at the increasing demand in the retail market that is driven by customers' changing lifestyles, income growth, and different demographic patterns, the retail sector is expected to grow at a higher rate than the GDP of the country. It's witnessing a dramatic transformation. Retailer's main area of focus is on customers, to transform their shopping experience from a traditional format to tech-savvy feeling. Not only are the number of retail outlets booming, but also the system in itself is changing with the involvement of Indian corporates and international retail giants.

Various studies carried out on the future of the retail industry in India seem to point that the size of the organized retail would triple in another 4-5 years. However, this sector is expected to touch an estimated amount of US $17 billion as compared to the current size of US $6 billion.

To meet this significant need - CIOs, retailers, enterprises, and customers can leverage on Intelligent Retail Network (IRN) solutions - introduced in India in early 2006. It enables to streamline business operations, access decision making, improve consumer satisfaction, and ameliorate the management of inventory. The focus is on retailers to boost productivity by connecting people, places, and information, and improve customers' satisfaction by enhancing the shopping experience. Besides, it claims to increase revenue by improving decision making through utilization and delivery of data, and securing the brand image and assets. This solution is now in the process of being rolled out in the market for the customers. Usage of IRN will enable retailers to attain flexibility in meeting frequent changing business demands.

The solution, provided by Cisco, aims to integrate an existing retail system or infrastructure for easy implementation. Its components vary from a simple retail solution like the Point of Sale (POS) enterprise to media-rich customer interactive environments. Various offerings of this solution include Integrated Services Router, which ranges from a simple, wireless router to secure enterprise-wide platforms. Unified communications provide voice, video, mobility, and Internet Protocol (IP) communication solutions to facilitate effective interaction. Video surveillance provides the retail sector with consistent and efficient data integration. It also helps retailers to increase revenue and improve the in-store experience for shoppers. When combined with video analytics intelligence, the solutions give retailers new ways to gather vital data about how assets and people move through a store.

Anil Bhasin, VP (Enterprise) of Cisco India and SAARC said, "Across retail-sector operations - merchandising, human resources, training, customer services, and supply chain organizations - can develop a roadmap based on IRN foundation, which will support their corporate vision for years into the future."

Digital Signage - designed to meet specific needs of retailers offers networking solutions, which enable retailers to customize their content to individual screens in individual stores. It includes mobility solutions that help retailer's productivity and responsiveness, enabling secure access to network resources and applications. It claims to support employee training and productivity, and maximizes customer's satisfaction with in-store broadcasting, multi-channel shopping, and digital signage as well as revenue-boosting smart technologies and information. Among the other assistance, it provides CIOs and retailers a more cost-effective employee training and by management connecting store sites via a Wide-Area Network (WAN). To improve the productivity, it supports employee communication by means of e-mail, voicemail, internet access, and videoconferencing.

The solution attempts at making shopping quick, efficient, and pleasurable for customers and with a unified IP information network, retailers can resort to consumer driven replenishment, which can change the way the store handles forecasting along with better analysis of pre-sales data and real-time availability of data on customer behavior.


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