Brands need to go both online, offline for retailers

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Mumbai | Published: December 31, 2017 5:48:23 AM

“Today millennials are always connected; if not shopping online, they do their research online before heading to a store,” says Shabori Das, senior research analyst, Euromonitor International

shoppers, retailers, 2018, offline retail, online retailFor shoppers in a time-starved, tech-enabled economy, brands need to be both offline and online

Leaving China behind, India is now the most dynamic market with a rapidly expanding economy and a consumption boom, says 2017 Global Retail Development Index report by AT Kearney. India has seen an e-commerce boom in the past decade with the entry of several marketplaces, which are fighting to woo customers. Today, shoppers are living in a time-starved and tech-enabled economy. Thus, the need for retail businesses to be omnipresent is a necessity. While brands are present in malls to get desired footfalls, digital helps by becoming yet another storefront, albeit online. Efforts to boost cashless payments and reform indirect taxation with a nationwide goods and services tax are also helping accelerate modern retail.

“Today millennials are always connected; if not shopping online, they do their research online before heading to a store,” says Shabori Das, senior research analyst, Euromonitor International. Physical retail brands, over time, have realised that the new digital world is something they need to be a part of. Besides joining hands with e-commerce majors like Amazon or Myntra, many have unveiled their online presence as well — a step that is important to survive, as today customers don’t distinguish between channels.

For instance, fashion retail company, Max Fashion, which went online with a website and app this year, will soon be enhancing customers’ experience by launching a new channel that will allow its users to place an online order in the store using digital kiosks, and have it delivered to their doorsteps.
As per a recent study, more than 65% consumers search online before walking into a store. Also about 55% tend to look at consumer reviews and about 47% of them tend to check company websites. So, there is a lot of movement happening between offline and online. Consumers today are getting used to ‘hybrid’ shopping behaviour. Also, what’s noteworthy is that some of these brands are either not present or have limited presence in tier II and III cities. The online platform, say experts, helps these brands to tap, as well as give a seamless experience to their customers.

“We don’t believe in the narrative of offline versus online. We believe in being an omni-channel retailer. Today, Shoppers Stop has 80 physical stores, an online shopping website and a mobile app,” says Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop. So far, it has invested `60 crore in its omni-channel journey and targeting to achieve 10% of sales from online by 2020.

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