Pitch CMO Summit 2018: Going the brick and mortar way with even more technology: CEO- Jewellery, Titan
The imperative for re-imagining the future of retail has never been more pressing. CK Venkataraman addressed this at the recent Pitch CMO Summit in Mumbai
With rising economic tides and increased competition from digital natives, the retail industry seems to be rapidly experiencing a churn. The imperative for re-imagining the future of retail has never been more pressing. CK Venkataraman, CEO- Jewellery, Titan Company, addressed this issue at the recent edition of the Pitch CMO Summit in Mumbai.
Speaking of ‘reinventing retail,’ Venkataraman started off by highlighting the paranoia around the death of physical stores due to online platforms. “The answers are not simple but we must not get paranoid about online,” he said. Venkataraman went on to give examples of the story-telling experiences in the surroundings of an offline store and the various sensory experiences it brings to the table. “The joy of going out to consume things will always be there. No amount of online convenience can create this atmosphere,” he said.
He emphasised on how brands can leverage the intrinsic strengths of their respective categories while embracing digital and not get carried away by the paranoia that is in the interest of the online world. Venkataraman revealed the various game-changers here, among these were category expertise and brand strength. “Category expertise is not available through online companies. They’re typically generalist and it’s quite impossible to develop expertise in every vertical they operate,” he shared, while contending that brand strength might get diluted even if category expertise is high.
The CEO also pointed out the advantage of merchandise curating capability. Speaking about distribution control, he said, “If your distribution control is strong and you are brutal in dealing with partners in discounting, it helps.” He highlighted the importance of a deep understanding of the customer based on predisposition and the manner in which the consumer has been buying the products. “Combine predisposition and context and you have a marketing program with effectiveness," he said.
Venkataraman also acknowledged the importance of embracing digital and technology in the right way. “The influence of digital is pervasive,” he said citing an example of how 2/3rd of people who come to a Tanishq store only come after browsing. “The role of whatever you do on the website and technology as well is crucial. Titan is going the brick and mortar way with more technology in it,” he added while also revealing plans of creating a VR magic mirror for shoppers.
He also pointed towards the installation and service advantage that offline stores can capitalize on, sharing the example of how Croma wins over online companies. “You can create a holistic approach that deals with it and embraces online in its rightful place in your overall strategy."
Venkataraman also accepted that each category is being disrupted by online very differently today, highlighting the potential opportunity for retailers that are able to bring together a hybrid strategy that combines the best of both worlds linked through technology. “If you can leverage the power of human touch in your business then it will be of great use,” he suggested.
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