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CIO Review >> Magazine >> August - 2013 issue

Embrace Omni Channel Retailing


Arvind Lifestyle Brands is a subsidiary of Arvind Limited (NSE : ARVIND). Headquartered in Bangalore, it is India's largest denim manufacturer.

New trends in retail Sector

The Retail Industry in India has come forth as one of the most dynamic industries with several players entering the market. The total concept and idea of shopping has undergone an total change from 4 or 5 years back. Today, retail in India is observed in the forms of shopping centers, multi-stored malls and big shopping complexes that offer entertainment hand in hand with shopping. There is a growing number of "Digital Natives" in India and its impact on retail is really high. Digital natives are the new generation of shoppers who rely exclusively on the internet for product information, product user opinions, and feedback and more often than not buy on the internet. This behavioral aspect impacts the way in which IT will have to present a set of services to its users and end consumers. IT in retail will have to focus on supporting an Omni Channel Sales model.

Challenges in Retail today

Lots of challenges are arriving today in retail sector. Managing Big Data and providing a platform that uses Big Data to provide insightful data to business users is one of the major challenges today. Such data should be of immediate actionable value and have a positive impact on improving business performance. The next challenge is to provide a remarkable effect for consumers at all touch points during the shopping experience. Particular emphasis would be on in-store experience that will convert the consumer into a brand evangelist. Some of the major challenges include seasonal cash flow, crime related losses, protecting customer information, high worker turnover and others. These are the high challenging factors that should have to be looked over with sincere priorities.

The goalposts of IT service benchmarks are constantly shifting. Business users are constantly exposed to best in class technologies in their daily personal lives. CIOs should architect the business strategies. Their role is no longer one of managing technology infrastructure but rather readying the organization for the information age. The CIO has to be aware and develop new skills to succeed in this role transition.

Technology need in the Industry

In recent years retail industry has been constantly seeking new technologies for a more effective, efficient and automated shopping experience. Today wireless technologies, mobile technologies, e-Commerce technologies, web based technologies are being used in various fields of retail sector. But for better business process Vendors are yet to adequately provide In-Store Consumer experience related technology solutions. Such solutions include Assortment Planning, interactive Visual Merchandising, intuitive Product information dissemination to consumers, Space planning solutions, and many more. Where such solutions exist, they are expensive, have long implementation lead times and are not nimble enough to deal with the constant change that is typical of a store environment.

These technologies should be used very effectively and rapidly for better productivity, work automation and better consumer experience. Their extensive use is significant for the organizational perspective such as the customer convenience, streamlining of operation to meet business goals in a competitive environment.

Drive Innovation within the Team

Within a busy, hectic environment it is not always easy to give people some space they really need to clear up their minds. But at the same time it is very much needed to encourage them with creative and innovative ideas. Our team has an operating model of systematic user engagements that allow us to uncover areas where sometimes small changes can deliver big benefits. This process of constantly looking for value creation helps us deliver impactful innovation with significantly lower investments. We should always try to keep looking to make a difference.