The 9th Marketing and Retail Conclave 2008 concluded on February 21 with an interesting discussion on whether brands and retail developers could be brothers in arms. The session summed up the three-day Conclave, which was organised by Technopak, and which brought together several industry leaders on a common platform.
The Marketing and Retail Conclave 2008, which was earlier known as KSA Retail Summit, has been an annual affair since 1999. The Conclave has become a platform for retailers and brand leaders across the country to share their experiences.
The opening day of the Conclave, which began in the Capital on February 19, saw a series of workshops on topics such as ‘Understanding Shopper Behaviour and Creating Conducive Retail Environments’, ‘Services Retailing - How to Expand a Business in Emerging Markets’, ‘Building powerful brands in the Service Economy-A Strategic Perspective’, ‘Brand vs Retail Marketing’, and ‘Launching an International Brand in India’, among others.
Day Two of the Conclave had panel discussions on a wide range of topics related to brands and retail marketing, including, ‘Building and Nurturing Iconic Brands’, ‘Emerging Markets : Key Challenges and Opportunities’, ‘Is the Indian Consumer for Lifestyle & Premium Brands Unique from a Global Standpoint?’, ‘Which Format is Most Suitable for India : The Big Vs. Small Debate’, and ‘Modern Retail in India : Outlook 2015’, among others.
While speaking in the session on ‘Emerging Markets : Key Challenges and Opportunities’, Staf Lenders, Property and Establishment Manager, Ikea India, said that while there was presence of a lot of fancy brand stores, their operations were not up to the mark. He added that there were issues of accessibility, visibility, cost of land and infrastructure.
During the session on ‘Is the Indian Consumer for Lifestyle & Premium Brands Unique from a Global Standpoint?’, Vipsy Patel, Group Director, LVMH India, observed, “Brands are about differentiation and this is why we make them aspirational. Each brand projects the aspirations of people differently.” Dilip Kapur, President, Hidesign, said, “Lifestyle is not necessarily about fashion, but what one wants to project about oneself.”
The final day of the Conclave saw sessions on ‘India Food & Grocery Shopping Trends 2008’, ‘The Business of Franchising’, ‘Emerging Aspirations of Indian Consumers : The Loreal Experience’, ‘The Future of Kirana Stores and Implications for National Brands’, and ‘Brothers in Arms – Brands and Retail Developers’, among others.
Talking on the emerging aspirations of consumers globally, Didier Villanueva, Managing Director, L’Oreal India, said, “China, India and South America are the new emerging markets. Today we can position L’Oreal as an FMCG as we were able to deliver to consumers as per their requirements. We have delivered fairness creams to the fairness-obsessed market in India, hair care products to Brazilian consumers, better and premium range of cosmetics to the Chinese, who are particular about their skin, and the Russians who do not want to be seen without make-up.”
Talking about the cosmetic and hair treatment market in India, which Villanueva felt was dismally low, he said that L’Oreal had tapped the market with high-quality salon and hair treatment centers and by providing technical and academic knowledge to the hairdressers. This helped in making hairdressing a career option as well as provided L’Oreal with 6,000 full services salon. Villanueva added, “The haircare market can be considered for retail investment as there is 70-80 per cent revenue return on investment with minimal excise duty to pay.”
While it may seem that mega malls are swamping the neighbourhood kirana stores, speakers at the session on ‘The Future of Kirana Stores and Implications for National Brands’ felt that these stores are far from extinction. Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Director, Hindustan Unilever, said, “Kirana stores are not going to be endangered because of the retail boom. According to a study conducted by Hindustan Unilever, 85 per cent of household bought their monthly bulk shopping from the kirana stores due to proximity, cash-credit facilities and personal relations that the store keeper has developed over the years. Even if the modern trade retail market is growing at 50 per cent CAGR compared to traditional trade, which is growing at a rate of 10-11 per cent annually, the kirana stores will evolve themselves to adjust to the changing market situation.”
The concluding session of the day, ‘Brothers in Arms – Brands and Retail Developers’, saw the speakers discuss how rationalisation between developers and retailers was important for the two to co-exist. Pranay Sinha, CEO, Select City Walk, said that the mindset would change as more and more experienced players entered the retail sector. Problems of rental cost and an investment sharing model between developers and retailers were also discussed at the session.