In comparison & #BANNER1 & # to the other developed markets, India is already a late entrant as far as the retail revolution is concerned. And, moreover, most of us are following international retail formats aimed primarily at the local shoppers.
However, in a discussion session 'Commonwealth Games : a reason to think fresh' at the ongoing retail conference, The Shop, the panelists were unanimous of the opinion that Indian retailers need to create a unique identity for itself, and not just follow the international format blindly.
This is because in the last few years, India has already seen a growth in terms of inbound tourists. The Commonwealth Games, to be held in the capital in 2010, will see a surge in inbound tourists in the country. The numbers would mean a close to 15 million tourists in 10 days, 500,000 new jobs, and 70 new major hotel projects. This implies that the retailers will have to create some retail icons, which are indigenous and would fancy the international tourists.
One of the panelists, Pranay Sinha, president and chief executive officer, Select Infrastructure, said, "Every country and city need icons for growing retail business. Till when will Indians go abroad in search of those icons? It is now time for us to introspect and look into what is it that we can offer and what is it that India is proud of?"
"But I am afraid that we are still not yet ready for that retail explosion," he added.
Sanjay Sachdeva, vice-president - marketing, Advance India, who was also part of the panel cited the example of creating malls targeted at foreign tourists. He talked about his own initiative - the Royal Celebration Mall in Udaipur, spread over 4 lakh sq feet of space, designed as a palace and surrounded by artificially created water bodies.
Said Sachdeva, "India has it own set of unique offerings for the foreign tourists. The Incredible India is a very good example of how Ayurveda, wildlife and herbal treatment can be used to woo the foreign tourist. This way we can create a differentiation or ourselves. We have plans to launch such unique malls across India."
Sachdeva adds that he is in talks with the tourism ministry to market retail as a window for the foreign tourists.