Current times and trends are very interesting for retailers in the country. With startups  up with innovative ideas and heaps of money from venture capital, the old and orthodox retail industry needs a complete overhaul if they need to be in competition.

Previously, the industry was pretty straight forward. Market your brand on print media, TV, get lottery based contests and a season sale twice in a year. Today, e-commerce giants are pushing the bar so high that it becomes almost impossible for a retail brand to compete with them by hiring traditional digital agency. With brands like Roadster, Zovi on one hand are grabbing the market of casual wears, grocery stores like Zopnow and big basket are throwing big retail chains apart.

 

zopnow

Current practices

  • The first thing every brand is doing is to create digital presence using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blogs and use it as a marketing and engagement tool
  • Create an online store and if the brand has budgets, may be mobile apps
  • Partnering with Marketplaces like flipkart, amazon, snapdeal to sell online
  • Partnering with WMS, fulfillment systems
  • Running flash sales on e-commerce giants
  • Big brands are trying to implement omni-channel

Problems

  • Most of the digital agencies in India have very minimal technological background in the current market
  • Big consulting firms may have a good knowledge of tech, but when it comes to understanding UX, brand value etc. , their knowledge is yet minimal.
  • Partnering with marketplaces can increase brand sale value immediately, but will prove to be a setback in long run. Brand value and connection with users will decrease over time and it will result brand devaluation.
  • As the sale of products are controlled by marketplaces, they can start controlling the price and start demanding higher commissions on the products.
  • With time, the physical stores will start becoming obsolete and will be used only to check out the products and transactions will happen through marketplaces.

Solution

  • Brands can start investing smartly in digital products. Facebook , Twitter etc. can be used for customer service more than marketing (good customer service will be the best marketing) and should create robust e-commerce engine with focus on efficient fulfillment and customer service.
  • Use of open source technologies rather than enterprise products and focus on agility and innovations.
  • Build a proper omni-channel strategy. Brands presence in physical stores should be used as a strength to build the most efficient supply chain system.
  • Spend more on fulfillment and customer services rather than paying license fees for proprietary softwares.
  • Create an ecosystem of digital assets which allow users to discover and feel the brand, engage with it , echo good experience and rewards for actions across channels.

    diagram (1)

Basically, brands need to think smart and ensure that they aren’t completely dependent on marketplaces. At the same time compete properly with them to keep their brand image intact.

Focus more on building good products, ensure quality customer service and delegate the tech implementation to experts who can help them minimize licensing costs and build an efficient, agile and scalable system.