India SME Forum Launches Digitization Campaign at Future Proofing Retail Summit

India SME Forum (ISF), India’s largest not-for-profit non-governmental organization for small and medium enterprises, organized the “Future Proofing Retail Summit” on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 in Ahmedabad, as part of their efforts to launch the digitization campaign for retailers, vendors and traders in Indian cities. The Gujarat summit is the first in this series aimed at helping retailers converge with online platforms like Amazon to grow their businesses.

The goal of the summit was to help businesses become self-sufficient by restructuring outdated supply chains, effectively managing inventory, reimagining the customer experience and reinventing the physical store for the digital age. Attendance of vendors from all industries including crafts, textiles, electronics, home and kitchen, furniture, sporting goods, fashion and beauty, imitation jewelry, groceries and stationery, among others, provided examples of successful adoption of digital commerce.

The summit mainly focused on the following three priority areas covered in a one-day event comprising three dynamic workshops, panel discussions and media consultation:

Reinvent the customer relationship

The session revolved around how retailers should rethink and take control of all customer relationships, review customer policies, and develop new offers and experiences to increase customer value. This included industry experts such as Mr. Sachin Kamat, Director, Enrich, Mr. Aashish Batra, Co-Founder, myPAPERCLIP, Mr. Vivek Rana, Managing Partner, Gnothi Seauton, and Dr. Varsha Jain, Professor, Integrated Marketing Communication, MICA. Mr. Rana suggested that the definition of customer experience has changed significantly with the explosion of the online world. The key to growing the customer base and meeting their ever-changing needs is to provide a personalized touch to each customer and embrace the SAVE Theory i.e. Solution, Access, Add Value and L ‘experience. Mr. Batra emphasized the omnichannel business model that helps businesses thrive and be ready for future generations.

Supply and value chain resilience

The panel discussed the importance of technology upgrading in the retail sector with a focus on demand planning, demand sensing, investment in supply chain digitization. supply, changes in stock supply for the coming holiday season and automated stock management. This included industry experts such as Mr. Ramesh Venkat, Head – Industry Partnerships & New Initiatives, Logistics Sector Skill Council, Dr. Anil Chinnabhandar, Sr. Vice President – SCM & Planning, Landmark Group, Mr. Rajnish Goel, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Licious, Mr. Ajay Aggarwal, Global Head – Retail, Nihilent, Mr. Sanjeev Chandra, Regional Sales Manager, West & South, Ecom Express, and Mr. Krishna Singh, Founder, GlobalSpace Technologies Limited (moderator). The discussion highlighted the need for sectors to come together and embrace technology. Additionally, he also shared how retail support like extended supply chain and last mile delivery has enabled sellers to tap into new markets and scale businesses beyond their immediate local borders.

Embrace the digital revolution

The discussion highlighted the concept of smart stores as well as the importance of digitalization and how retailers need to embrace and adapt to the digital world using different strategies. This included industry experts such as Mr. Syed Akhtar, Associate Director, Sulekha, Mr. Jeff Thomas, Chief Strategy Officer, Spinta Digital, Ms. Neha Bansal, Founder and CEO, AV Retail, Mr. Shireesh Joshi, Director Marketing, Open Network for Digital Commerce, and Dr. Akshaya Vijayalakshmi, PhD Associate Professor, Marketing, IIM Ahmedabad (moderator). The discussion highlighted how the digital revolution is changing and improving the way products are designed, created and delivered to customers, creating huge implications for the retail value chain. This rapid development of digital infrastructure and digital money transfer options is increasing the presence of omnichannel retailers, ensuring a seamless shopper experience.

The summit concluded with a consultative roundtable comprising of retailers, traders, merchants and shop owners associations from Gujarat to deliberate and address the challenges faced by industry players. These included the need to standardize GST brackets within a single industry and the need for tax reforms, welfare and pension schemes for entrepreneurs, raising awareness of government schemes, subsidies and other provisions for MSMEs and to come up with a single country and national retail policy. .

Mr. Nilesh Shukla, Chairman, India SME Forum, Gujarat Chapter, announced that he will hold monthly consultations with industry stakeholders to learn and understand regional and sectoral challenges faced by traders and retailers and make representation to state and central government for policy recommendations. at regular intervals.

Melvin B. Baillie