Chennai: With retail being the key investor in the ad spend across various traditional and digital mediums, the session with retailers was insightful for the participants. The session touched upon various key aspects like how COVID had catalysed the Retail sector’s Omni-Channel Future and consumers expectations from the new in-store experiences.
Murugan S, CEO, Manna Foods, RBU Shyam Kumar, CEO, Sathiyam TV, Vijay Kapoor, MD, Derby Clothing and Bharath Viswanath, COO, Fourth Dimension Media Solutions and Henna Bhat – Founder, Yugen Consulting were the speakers.
Speaking on the offline, online Transformation and decision making, Murugan S – said, “In general packaged food, mainly FMCG products used to be bought physically in the store by looking into the product design, product packaging, product appearance etc., even analysing the particular product in 360 degrees was a usual style of practice followed.” According to him, today the online market has dominated that particular area. Consumers have moved to online platforms for purchasing. “Manna Foods was already pushing our online platform before the pandemic because we were following the insights of the market. Once the pandemic was affected people started surfing about the nutritious area. Being in food, natural, nutritious products online really helped Manna Foods. In that case, online became a survival aspect for most of the brands in that particular time.”, he said.
Adding value to his views, Shyam touched upon the reaction of brands for online transformation. “Consumer behaviour was different in both the lockdowns respectively. People started watching telecasts of very old programs like Mahabharata, Ramayan on television during the lockdown. When the TRP started increasing, the new norms made us adapt to new habits. The brands which were already advertising, their focus changed towards reaching the audience rather than a product focus. People started moving to more digital, eco-sensitive, price-sensitive, innovations.”
Advocating for his garment industry, Vijay Kapoor said 4% of the entire garment sector still depends on e-commerce. “Retail industry shut down completely during the time of the lockdown. So leading to this Derby clothing had to come back to the drawing board for restructuring the business objective. We started to look into the area of customers where we can solve the problem, give them confidence. We were sitting without any option during the pandemic which led to the lack of revenue generation and the expenses were mounting. Derby clothing improved the efficiency after reconstructing the entire organisation internally by keeping control, as we cannot control the pandemic. This helped them to sustain and retain more profits than before the lockdown. At present we are having a hybrid model which involves both online and offline modes.”
“We believe in building a community rather than selling towards the consumer. We have invested a lot of time and effort in pushing the method of customer service and customer experience. We concentrated more on social media content during the lockdown because that is the place where we build up the quality content that adds value to the brand.”
“Both the lockdowns give a different study and impact. During the first lockdown, most of the FMCG brands started coming into news channels. 90% of the brands didn’t know what was the purpose of going into digital during the lockdown period. The situation during the second lockdown was even worse.”, said Bharath on the spendings towards the media. “But we got into new opportunities like political strategies during elections, managing digital assets of brands, brand consulting etc. It was completely about exploring new dimensions during the pandemic.”, he concluded.
Henna Bhat on her concluding note, “The availability of online has allowed us to sustain in the market, this doesn’t mean that we had to adopt only the online platform. Talking in terms of technological adaptation which is being compared with human potential.” She also said that when human potentials are not identified properly, there is going to be a huge technological adaptation. This will be lacking in the communication with the customers.