08 - 09
May 2024



Check Out Some #MegaverseMoments from India’s Largest Retail Intelligence Event


Innovate or Invent: Retailers Must Transform for a New World Order

Phygital Retail Convention (PRC) 2023 opened to tremendous anticipation and footfalls on the morning of 11 May, 2023 at the JIo World Convention Centre, Mumbai. Covering over 100,000 sq.ft in floor area, it was the largest ever retail business event in India, in both size and content.

The day kicked off with the launch of two powerful industry reports, including India Phygital Index 2023 in association with IMAGES Group, PwC Strategy& and Fynd, India’s only annual industry report benchmarking 100 + companies on their omnichannel preparedness, execution and outcomes. Also unveiled was the Think Retail, Think India report — an extensive study by Knight Frank on India’s high streets.

One of the high-engagement morning conference sessions was the The Megaverse #Groupthink: 100 Shades of Retail. Anchored by Sagar Daryani, Co-founder & CEO, Wow! Momo Foods and Sadashiv Nayak, Retail Industry Thought Leader, the session featured close to a 100 retail CEOs and business heads presented one crisp insight/ observation/ little-known fact/market lesson from their experiences in the recent past.

Following this, BS Nagesh, Founder of TRRAIN and Chairman of Shoppers Stop, anchored a major discussion on India’s Retail Megaverse: The Many Avatars of the World’s Most Exciting, Aspirational Market. India’s expanse, terrains, cultural diversities, an innate entrepreneurial spirit, and ever-enlarging demographic aspirations make it perhaps the world’s most exciting, energising marketplace to discover. Yet, the promise of this marketplace — among the world’s most dynamic — is yet to be truly unveiled. From grocery to luxury, from fashion to foodservice, and indeed, every consumption vertical, there is continuous churn in formats, channels, offers, largely due to the influence of shifting consumption patterns and consumers’ digital behaviours. Captains across industries and consumption verticals, including Aniket Nikumb, Founding Team, Mensa Brands; Pramod Arora, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer, PVR Group; Sandeep Varaganti, CEO, Reliance Retail (JioMart.com); Ram Chandra Agarwal, CMD, V2 Retail; and Sagar Daryani, Co-founder & CEO, Wow! Momo Foods weighed in with their respective insights on how to get the sum of all differing parts and try to build a cohesive depiction for a future of retail that fits the different avatars of India.

Nagesh emphasized on the need for businesses to adapt to changing customer preferences and behaviors to attract new customers over the next decade. 

For the Fashion & Lifestyle panel, industry experts discussed how the retail industry is no longer the same as it was before the digital transformation wave. 

Referring to market shifts, Kamal Khushlani, Founding Director, Mufti said, “For fashion brands like Mufti, inventory management and attitude shifts are crucial to stand out in a market that values expression and boldness. Retailers must cater to the digitally impacted audience and offer new product categories aligned with changing consumer habits, such as an increased focus on well-being.” 

From AI-powered chatbots to virtual try-on experiences, retailers are adopting innovative solutions to attract and retain customers. In the era of digital transformation, the retail industry is moving towards a customer-centric model where the focus is on building long-term relationships with customers rather than just driving sales. 

Amitabh Suri, CEO USPA, shared learnings from his journey, especially asserting how it takes years of expertise to win customers’ trust. 

Cover Story Clothing CEO, Manjula Tiwari, added, Brands are not built overnight.” She discussed the changes she had witnessed in India’s fashion retail industry, where previously menswear brands dominated while the women’s wear industry remained unorganized, with a prevalence of local stores and non-branded clothing. “However, in recent years, the industry has experienced substantial growth and Women today have access to all international-level clothing right here, enabling them to shop for the latest fashion trends with ease and convenience,” she said.

During a panel discussion on Unifying Online + Offline market and Redefining Premium Customer Experience”, Sandeep Jabbal, CCA & Chief Digital Transformation & Information Officer, Shoppers Stop shared his insights on customer perspectives and their expectations both in stores and online, highlighting the importance of customer centricity in retail. Lokesh Wagadre, AVP & Head IT, Kaya then spoke about the need to balance services across channels and how hyperlocal delivery can be a primary factor in building a user-friendly omnichannel experience. He also stressed the importance of keeping pricing consistent across all channels.

Rakshit Daga, CTO, Big Basket discussed the challenges of bringing all grocery items online and keeping up with market-driven categories. He shared key metrics such as delivery time and complaints per order that are crucial for ensuring customer reliability and commercial viability. 

Gautam Sarangi, CEO of Go Colors stressed on the importance of offering customers reasonable prices and superior quality. He explained that Go Colors aims to create an exceptional customer experience that keeps people coming back. With a focus on quality and affordability, the brand has become a go-to destination for customers looking for trendy and comfortable leggings, jeggings, and other fashion essentials.

It is evident that Indian Retail is constantly evolving to stay relevant to customers and to remain profitable. Brands like USPA focus on creating sharper brands for fashion and lifestyle segments, while Spykar aims to do for women’s wear what they have done for men’s wear. Ducati is a great example of a brand diversifying beyond their core product, offering co-branded lifestyle products such as shoes, glasses, and watches. 

During a discussion on the topic of Winning Bharat: Value for money versus Value for Experience in food retail, experts emphasized the importance of understanding the target audience and their propensity to spend. They stressed that once this clarity is achieved, brands could curate their products and experiences accordingly. It was suggested that brands must think from the target audience’s point of view and communicate with them in a language that resonates, regardless of whether they are in a Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 city. 

Sangeeta Pendurkar, CEO of Pantaloons, shared her thoughts on the importance of innovation and finding solutions to improve customers’ lives. 

Shibu Philips, Director of Shopping Malls at Lulu Group India pointed out to the fact that retailers are focusing on enhancing physical stores to meet the changing preferences of customers. Despite the availability of online shopping, footfall in malls remains strong. Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO of Inorbit Malls emphasized on the importance of creating dynamic infrastructure to provide social spaces for urban consumers. Highlighting the fast growing opportunities in Tier II and III India, Pramod Arora of PVR Group noted that technology and innovation would help retailers make inroads into these emerging markets.

In a keynote address titled The 1% Indian: The High-Net-Worth Version of CX, Sharad Agarwal, Country Head, Lamborghini outlined that as Lamborghini prepares to shift gears and rev up for Tier I and II India, it is discovering much about the top 1% Indian customers approach to luxury, lifestyle and brand value. Many lessons from luxury customer experiences are replicable for Indian Retail en masse, he noted. 

The main takeaways from day one emphasized the importance of brands becoming more customer-centric and adapting to the digital landscape to remain relevant in the industry.

Later in the evening, in an ode to Indias growing ranks of women in entrepreneurship and in business leadership roles and the remarkable innovation they are bringing to the business of retail, PRC 2023 felicitated Women Retail Icons of India, including Apeksha Gupta, CEO, John Jacobs; Biyas Roy, Director, Arambagh Foodmart; Iffat Jahan, Executive Director, Metto Super Market; Jacqueline Kapur, Founder & President, Ayesha Accessories; Manjula Tiwari, MD & CEO, Cover Story Clothing; Sangeeta Pendurkar, CEO – Pantaloons, ABFRL; Shalini Bajaj Vij, Director & Curator, Hang Out- A Family Entertainment Center; Shivani Poddar, CEO & Founder, High Street Essentials (FabAlley & Indya); Shriti Malhotra, CEO, The Body Shop, South Asia; Suparna Mitra, CEO – Watches and Wearables Division, Titan; Udita Bansal, Founder, Truebrowns Lifestyle; and, Veena Kumaravel, Founder & Director, Naturals Salon & Spa.

And that was followed up by The Rare Party, presented by Rare Rabbit — a superb opportunity to unwind and network in a relaxed setting after an action-packed day.