For the consumer of today, shopping is no longer just walking into a store and buying a specific product. Shopping is an experience, the product is the star of the show and customer is the king. The retailer is simply the medium that brings the customer to the product.
Today, retailers need to move with the times, adapting to the ever-evolving needs of the educated customer. Consumers no longer buy products alone, but rather experiences, making it a major challenge for retailers. Retailers innovate and launch new concepts to make shopping a wholesome experience, all the while understanding that the experience is a means to an end – selling the actual product. This perspective has led many retailers to using the products on offer for creating this experience.
Technology in Retail
The application of technology in every aspect of the business – from product innovation, design, development, B2B, and communications – can also help transform consumer experiences.
Today’s consumers are smarter, better informed and more demanding, which has a direct impact on brands. Despite the earlier mind-set that traditional retailers were more connected to customers than organized retailers, technology has helped organized retailers to know their customers more intimately, allowing for customized services and pampering,
Creating a product portfolio is also equally important. It is necessary for a brand to evolve over a period of time in order to earn the consumer’s loyalty. Director Business Strategy, Kirtilals, Suraj Shantakumar, says, “Product offering has become extremely dynamic today. In fact stores are doing such a great job that when a customer comes, even if they are coming to buy something basic, they still want to linger and look at the entire range of products available in the store.”
Product and Display
Product and display holds equal importance. As compared to density, what matters for the consumer that the retail outlet must have the right products.
President, Group HR, Landmark Group, B Venkataramana says, “At Landmark Group, our strength has always been our product. There is a need to evolve over a period of time. There is a need to understand the customer and with e-commerce and online business coming, we feel, for apparel touch and feel is critical and important. This is the reason why the apparel industry is not as badly hit as CDIT formats or others.”
Whereas, the scenario is entirely different in the pharmacy industry. The pharmacist cannot offer much on the products as they are just dispensing what the doctor has prescribed. Despite this limitation, the pharmacy industry has managed to evolve over a period of time.
MD, Thulasi Pharmacies, M Ramakrishnan, concludes, “We have launched own-labeled prescription products. The doctor prescribes the brand and we tell our customers that there is a product which is available at only 40 per cent of the cost which is equally effective. And this is how we are providing experience to the consumers.”