Leading in the new reality

Leading in the new reality


STOrai Magazine

STOrai Magazine

26 Apr 2021, 13:07 — 7 min read

India’s consumption has been displaying steady growth over the last two decades - capturing the imagination of investors across the world. The entry into the new decade was expected to demonstrate a continuation of this narrative. However, the advent of COVID-19 has slightly altered the course of this story. Even after a short bump in the graph in 2020, the consumption pattern as well as the retail market of the country is on pre-COVID growth track, the pandemic has introduced a delay of 1-2 years in the trajectory.


From managing crisis to leading

Retailers need to evaluate pivotal changes in their consumer value proposition and decide positioning options basis it.

Responsible Retail - Conscious play: Focus on mainstream sustainability, localised sourcing, fair trade and align with consumer values.

Alternate Retail – Non-traditional offerings: Focus on new business models, e.g subscriptions, renting of products, or solutions-based retailing.

Personal Retail - Individual is important: Focus on individual level personalisation, customisation of product/service.

Spectacular Retail – Experience led retail: Focus on retailtainment (entertainment, gamification, experiences and/or additional services) to engage and involve consumers in shopping experience.

Omnichannel Retail - Seamless Channels: Focus on creating uniform, smooth and integrated omnichannel experience across both instore and online channels.

Convenient Retail - Quick and Easy: Focus on ultra-convenience in in-store experience, delivery and/or online shopping journey; focus on reaching the customer through small stores in urban locations.

Value Retail – India Values Value: Focus on low pricing.


Also read: The Experience Project


Business Model Decisions

It is equally imperative for retail organisations to design the operating model with chosen direction of proposition. They need to:

  • Adapt store network for safety and omnichannel excellence.
  • Align offer through merchandising, SKU optimisation and investing in private labels.
  • Adapt pricing and promotions to reflect new customer needs and expectations.
  • Innovating purchase journeys through click-and-collect, curb side pickup, store layout redesign.
  • Supply chain agility through planning analytics and strategic partnerships.
  • Optimise customer acquisition cost by digital personalisation, channel allocation and value communication.
  • Develop the digital capabilities to execute all actions successfully.


Pandemic impact on forces that shape retail model

The pandemic has had a distinct impact on forces that shape the retail landscape


New Game Plan

Retail brands are developing new strategies to ace the game across the world.

Adapting network: UK supermarket chain explored fluid formats to increase availability.

  • Initiated several formats in different geographies.
  • Click-and-collect, express delivery through app, dark stores with increased timings were some of the changes.

Leading US mobile brand transforming stores to offer seamless experience.

  • 20+ express stores launched across the country.
  • Other stores designated to curb side pickup option

Defining pricing and promotion: Korean mobile brand drove sales by offering discounts through partnership.

Aligning offering: Leading US supermarket launched private labels for higher revenue.

  • Witnessed high revenue growth for its private label products in Q2, 2020.
  • Launched 50+ new private label products by end of 2020.

Innovating purchase journeys: US food retailer offering safe journeys to grab market share.

  • Increased curb side pickup to 3X post COVID.
  • Offering it across 150 stores now, covering > 30% of total US stores.

Leading Indian Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) building omnichannel capabilities to ensure sales.

  • Offered takeaway and pick-and-drive on app.
  • Increased online ordering as % of total delivery by 11% year on year.


Ensuring supply chain agility: Italy supermarket chain leveraged partnership to ensure delivery.

  • Reported a 10-fold increase in sales via its partnership with logistics start-up, Glovo


Optimising customer acquisition cost: Chinese cosmetics company leveraged online platforms for customer acquisition.

  • Trained store employees to host livestreams
  • Increased sales by 45% versus the same period in 2019.


Long-term view

In the long term, locally adapted operating model decisions will be key to market leadership.

High Tech | Data driven play: Focus on automation; leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI), predictive tech, digital supply chain, voice tech, digital payments.

Many Indias | Regional play: Focus on customising operating model based on needs, preferences of different regions across India to better penetrate regional markets.

Alliances | Collaboration is key: Focus on creating partnerships/ alliances with other players, including unorganised retail to create one's own ecosystem and to penetrate the market, economically.

Gig | Flexible labour: Focus on leveraging gig platforms – flexible labour (day of week, time of day, location).

Multichannel | Be present everywhere: Focus on presence in both physical stores and online channels to serve all types of customer bases.

No frill | Low Cost Ops: Focus on providing bare minimum shopping experience and keeping costs at a minimum; can potentially leverage gig economy.

Process | Recovery scenario planning: Due to the uncertainty post-COVID, only one definitive recovery plan may prove insufficient. A scenario-based recovery plan and the strategies for each of the scenarios is needed for any disruptions in the future.

People | Agile and resilient organisation: Build innovative organisation and creative collaboration models with dedicated, cross-disciplinary teams to respond to problems in an agile way.

Technology | Big bets in Technology: Technology is going to drive purchase journeys going ahead. Retailers need to focus on an end-to-end digital presence from product discovery to post-purchase.


Also read: The road ahead for retail businesses


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Image source: shutterstock.com


Article source: STOrai MagazineAdapted from RAI – BCG Report ‘Retail Resurgence in India: Leading in The New Reality’


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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