retail industry is gradually coming of age, with top companies such as Reliance, the Aditya Birla Group, Bharti and the Future Group all announcing ventures in the segment, which stands today at US$ 250 billion. The 8th Marketing and Retail Conclave, organised by Technopak from February 22 to 24 in New Delhi, threw up issues from both international and national perspectives to examine where retail is heading in the country.
"Many people can afford a lifestyle that was previously available only to the rich," says G Kannan, country manager, Swatch Group, India. Kannan's speech was focused on the opportunities India can cash upon, in terms of premium and luxury retailing.
The generation of today is not hesitant about spending money. They work hard, earn the money and spend it the way they wish to, even if that means spending a lot, he feels. These trends are shaping society and Kannan advises entrants in the retail sector to observe the trends closely if they with to cater to the youth, who just cannot stop asking for more.
Execution, he emphasizes, is the key factor that drives luxury retail. "The point of action and the retail store (in terms of location) need to be looked at significantly," he quips.
Form and content are two broad aspects of retailing that need to be watched. Form would include architecture, lighting, space, etc.; content would be the luxury that you wish to sell - the product. Orderliness, cleanliness, appropriate lighting in a store, considerable amount of space and product layout are, according to him, some factors that step up the retailing experience. It must also be ensured that the consumer is able to make his purchase decision as soon as possible, or else he will walk away disinterested.
The integration of retail and manufacturing is an effective strategy for lifestyle and luxury products. A small retail arm could make all the difference, he reveals.
"The most important reason for the luxury market not flourishing in India, in spite of the obvious potential, is the lack of retail environment. The various aspects of luxury retailing need to be addressed seriously," he concludes.
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