Sunday, May 5, 2019

Consumer view of Digital Retail in India

Consumer view of Digital Retail in India

My digital marketing professor once told us – If you want to see response of an idea, just ask a person around you. That would be the smallest possible set to base your observations on, but is somehow a good common average for a feedback. When I watch standup comics perform (another rising segment!), I actually believe this to be true, as they make jokes on common situations around, and everyone relates to it. Usually what we experience and observe is something the majority around us is experiencing as well.

So taking a bottom up approach, here is my consumer view of the evolving Indian Retail Landscape.

The Why - First the context

India is at the intersection of highest growth of – 1. Total personal disposable income and 2. Smartphone users. It is estimated by IBEF that there will be 829 million smartphone users in India by 2022. Do you know that this is twice the estimated population of the 3rd most populated country (read the US)

Total personal disposable income (

 The What - What a consumer wants

It is to be spoilt, and where he/she is readily happy to open the wallet (umm.. the digital one if I may add)

Convenience - If I get my keto wrap and calorie specified cold coffee, delivered at home, within 20 minutes of ordering, the consumer has been pampered (Thanks @Swiggy). Also if calculations about time v/s money are done right, then paying a little premium for the quick food delivery is something eventually luring us. No doubt @Zomato claims its revenue to grow 3X in FY19 at 206Mn USD

Personalization - I have never owned a @NIKE pair but it still managed to reach me (and many other growing tribe of runners). It brings in one of the best personalized workout routine through the Nike run club app. That was how the brand struck it right over other local players, and even competing with the smart monitoring devices

Discounts – Taking a stroll in a book shop, picking up one and just before the checkout counter checking it on @Amazon/@Flipkart and ordering on a discount – Yep, guilty of that. Thanks to the growing VC money flowing in, discounts turned out to be the norm. Businesses scaled while waiting for consumers to develop a habit. Apps have made their way into our smartphones through cashbacks while we have uninstalled quite a few, as the offers dried up as well. But the winner will be the one which stays on, as a balance between habits and relying on cashback reaches a level of maturity for an industry. Back to focusing on unit economics and commercial viability, which adds to the longevity of the company, thereby to the macro-economics of the country!

Quality with affordability – Spotify, a late entrant in the music streaming industry in India, already claims over 2Mn users since Feb. With a right mix of hyper localization – content and cost, freemium package model, social media sharing, digital home compatibility, and its brand presence it has created exactly this.

The How (behind a future cash cow)

Starting with the most important – Technology (fueled by data). From hyper localization and personalization, augmented reality shopping, automated last mile delivery, checkouts and payment tech, smart dressing room and shopping carts, shelf monitoring, in-store analytics, and what not, it is everywhere. We are interacting more with technology than anything else. And so are the Brands!

Organizations are trying not to be left behind in the digitalization race. Remember the last time you visited a physical bank branch? The best mobile banking app is already taking in the most business, if they still exist in a far-fetched (yet) crypto future.

Open/Social Business – While marketplaces have connected the local community with a global audience, it’s an established and a continued story.

Completing the loop is another aspect of the 360 degrees connected world. @Xiaomi’s “Fan-based innovation” has positioned it as an internet platform provider and not just a leading smartphone maker. Crowdsourced development with fans pitching in for improvements and development, can be a good reason behind its 129% growth in a crowded market.

X-aaS, the subscription model – Flexibility and access over ownership can be the biggest ‘asset’ (ironically) for a huge consumer base like that of India. Entertainment, beauty and wellness, apparels (even socks @mojaclub!), storage, security, etc. are fast moving into a recurring revenue stream business and well received by consumers. What may start now as a small subscription to something as basic as monthly groceries may always have an added possibility to enhance the offering along with building a loyalty base.

It is this constant endeavor which makes interaction between consumers and brands frictionless, sustainable and transformational. A change, which will bring Nirvana to the fast growing lazy millennials.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Not just any new year post

First things first, welcome 2019!

We are now just an year away from the Cliched "2020", the year which used to be such a content driver to make all sort of predictions and future world fantasies. And no we are not yet run by the machines but they do increasingly occupy our lives. The data-driven machines or as the buzz word terms it around something 'artificial' :P

The 'data-is-the-new-oil' can't just be termed as a fad but it's a reality of everyday life. The Instagram picture which you clicked of your morning brunch, being liked and viewed by your social-media circle, provides a platform for sponsored advertisements following it, which again is based on your Facebook data or maybe something which you google or even talked about (scary but true!).

Source: The Economist

And this is not just limited to your online activities. Cross a retail outlet on your way back home and an ad for the same might just appear in your FB feed by the time you reach home, thanks to the real-time location based data which you unknowingly have provided and now you wonder, who reads your mind! Literally one thing leading to another and you are already being served a highly personalized content everywhere. This may lead you to think that life is good that way and you are the boss, but are you?

With data comes the power, to rate, rank, compare, judge, and what not! After all the better you extract this new oil, the more worth it gives. But more of that in the coming posts, as i resolve this year to blog a lot more and keep generating more of data which anyway machines can keep judging crunching about.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Before and After

B-School changed me. But it changed me for good and my blog for bad. Or so as I like to believe. I no longer write about what's on my mind, FB has started taking a major chunk of it. I no longer write about travels, too busy Instagram'ming them. A person of few words, as I would like to call myself, with some rare exceptions who could disagree on, I became a person of fewer words, never mind the lots of hashtags though.

A few hours in a workshop today with lots of marketing and designing folks from the company and around, I had three realizations:

  • I was the diversity today and it didn't had to do anything with my gender, with less than 1% of Engineer-MBA in the room. A self achievement unlocked
  • Business Feasibility, is a concept I now understand way too well (not in a very usual modest mode today) and hence that spoiled my day with some really stupid marketing ideas around me! 
  • I just needed to scribble here 
Phew! :)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The other view

So after 10 years of regular blogging, 2017 clearly marked itself as the year when I officially stopped being a regular. However, I do wish to begin 2018 with a Happy New Year note to all :) and with it comes my 2 cents on the changing, or rather not changing trends on the technology driven offline vs online, in an emerging economy like India, which quite reflected my thoughts here as well. As a millennial Indian consumer i pen down what i personally observe.

       Offline shopping still gives a very good competition to offline and is here to stay for a while – Why I say so? Well, it definitely takes a bigger share of my wallet and the people around. Even the most important moment of truths as a consumer be it apparels, books, or electronics still happen around offline. Thanks to the not such a developed technology infrastructure even in tier 1 cities like Hyderabad/bangalore (where the quality of mobile internet has its own regular doubtful moments). Add to it the backend infrastructure and challenges in logistics, the reduced trust on the reverse logistics and so on! It might still take some time before the complete life cycle of E Commerce develops, for it to overtake the regular brick and mortar.

Having seen my husband try his hands on subscription model (in furniture), I personally think it still seems to be more of a fashionable thing to do rather than a financial decision. Thanks but no thanks Amazon, I do not wish to subscribe to the grocery items which you give an option to, I would rather like to keep my options open when it comes to choosing the purchase the next month and these also include the offline deals which I pass by along with the dozen of mobile notifications I get from the ever upcoming local online competitors which just can’t seem to stop mushrooming even after a perceived investment slowdown in online retail. So, though subscription is an interesting option when it comes to models like netflix but yet to take over the mainstream business!
     Now local transport is an interesting area where my wallet share has completely skewed (and wallet blown over quite literally). From what used to be a once in a while indulgence in ride hailing apps, it is now becoming a regular habit, thanks to the convenience offered. It comes with its own disadvantage, the discounts seem to have finished from the cab rental market, and the supply demand totally owns the quality as well as price of the service. But irrespective of that wait, did I hear Uber buying a fleet of cars from Volvo?

So when we think the technology is changing the business (which it definitely is), a check on when and how far can bring some interesting insights as well!