What is the definition of connected economy in retail?
It is an economy that places more value in meaningful experiences with a focus on authentic human connection, supported by revolutionary new technologies that allow consumers greater access than ever before.
Why is this connected economy so relevant in the post pandemic retail world?
The answer is the changing consumer behavior. Consumers are craving meaning and purpose in everything they do and are also becoming accustomed to conveniences, due to the social distancing guidelines. They are overwhelmed with uncertainty, and are looking at retail brands to provide safety, inspiration and optimism.
What the aspects of connected economy?
The four pillars that are anchoring the connected economy in the post pandemic retail world are:
1. Meaning Experiences
2. Expected Convenience
3. Responsible Social Engagement
4. Authentic Accountability
Activations that are driven by meaning, authenticity, and connection will stick. Retailers will have to take some calculated risks to receive assuring rewards later. In the US, Easton Town Centre, a Columbus, Ohio based retail mall developer, converted their empty parking spots into a drivethrough movie theatre experience, following the social distancing guidelines. The first weekend they launched their concept, they were completely booked and the tickets were sold out in 15 minutes.
Similarly, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced the “Cruise the Zoo” concept presented by Dollar Bank, which offered guests a chance to visit the animals of the Zoo from the safety of their vehicle. Guests could bring in their own food and drinks and listen to an audio tour of the zoo while they drive through. In addition to the animals, superheroes and princesses could be seen throughout the park to entertain the guests as they drove past. Personalized and customized experiences will mean more than blanket messages to the mass audience.
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‘TRUST IS BUILT THROUGH THE BRAND COMMUNICATION'
There was one positive fallout of the sudden shift in consumer buying behavior post Covid. And that was the marked rise in demand for immunity building and hygiene products of good quality. As per a Nielsen report, the hand wash segment expanded 60% in March 2020 compared to 7% in the preceding three months. As a result, more innovative products and newer brands are entering the personal hygiene space. FMCG major Emami Limited, after making a successful foray into the hygiene space with BoroPlus Advanced Anti-Germ Hand Sanitizer in April 2020, recently expanded its BoroPlus Hygiene Range. In a special conversation with Point of Purchase, Priti A Sureka, Director, Emami Limited, shares more details about this expansion, the biggest challenge for the FMCG industry today, key tips for retailers to navigate the crisis, and more.
‘THERE IS INCREASED UNDERSTANDING OF BUSINESS BENEFITS FROM DIGITAL SIGNAGE'
Brands today are increasingly taking the technological route to communicate with their end users, making the shopping experience more experiential while also fulfilling the basic consumer needs today for safe, contactless shopping and a reassuring retail environment. This makes it inevitable for a tech-enabled ecosystem, with a network of centrally controlled digital display solutions, coming into play. Brand across segments, including the automotive industry,are hopping on to the digital bandwagon and this has led to the entry of more and more digital signage solutions led by established tech players. For example, Panasonic India’s SignEdge Display Network presents itself as an end-to-end solution leading to seamless communication for the automotive industry at their point of sale. Recently, Panasonic India installed a digital signage solution for MG Motor India to drive communications to its customers across dealerships through multiscreen video walls, standalone displays etc. Vijay Wadhawan, Group Chief, System Solutions Division, Panasonic India, shares with Point Of purchase the whole journey.
‘IMPORTANT TO BE OPERATIONALLY NIMBLE'
Digital is the go-to shopping mode today for an increasing number of people, even in categories like fruits and vegetables. And along with the growing dependence on digital is the growing need for farm fresh products. Established in 2016 as a store offering premium quality of farm-fresh vegetables and fruits in the upmarket neighborhood of Powai, Mumbai, ‘Fraazo’ reinvented itself by adopting a digital-first approach and launched the ‘Fraazo App’ in October 2019. Started by the quartet Atul Kumar, Aashish Krishnatre, Vikas Dosala and Sumit Rai, Fraazo is a retail brand under VnF Ideas Private Limited, Mumbai’s leading B2B player in perishables category providing farm-fresh vegetables and fruits. The brand joined VnF family in 2019 and has since then been servicing over 2 lakh households in Mumbai and Pune and 60 plus societies through its innovative value chain module. Atul Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO, Fraazo shares with Point Of Purchase more on the Fraazo journey.
HOW KITKAT CRAFTED A ‘CHOCOLATORY' STORY
The FMCG category has always been a dynamic one, whether in terms of product range, consumer behaviour or of supply chain and distribution.
A SEAMLESS OMNICHANNEL PLATFORM FOR STARTUPS
As a consumer moves from a print ad to a social media platform, or from a chatbot to a web page or a brickand-mortar store, brands are moving away from onesize-fits-all approach. They are in fact taking every step possible to deliver a consistent message and seamless experience across all touchpoints. With an aim to help businesses develop a perfect strategy in the ever-changing world of retailing, SOCH Group, which also has the food startup brand Munchilicious, has announced the launch of This or That, which they call the ‘World’s first Omni-channel Retail Platform exclusively for start-up brands’. Rohit Mohan Pugalia, Founder Director, This or That (A SOCH Group Initiative), in an exclusive chat with Point of Purchase, highlights how the platform help brands build stronger business presence on multiple platforms, on some upcoming retail trends and more.
Retail As A Connected Economy
The current pandemic has created strategic opportunities in the true sense, and brands and retailers can make the most of this opportunity by positioning themselves as a connected economy, says Jalpa Patel – Lead Interior Architect and Sr.Visual Merchandiser, ZenGenius Inc, while drawing on interesting examples from the US.
‘SILOED LEGACY SYSTEMS NO LONGER WORK'
If the increased role of technology had already become inevitable in retail in the last few years, Covid-19 has only intensified further the need for technology integration into retail operation and experience. This has seen the entry of many technology players into the retail eco-system. Retail technology company Ace Turtle has a platform that can integrate with multiple retail systems, provide single and uniform data and inventory across channels, and manage the entire retail process, from product discovery to purchase and fulfillment. Berry Singh, COO, Ace Turtle, in interaction with Point of Purchase, talks about how such technology solutions can help retailers ensure seamless backend and front-end functioning, and reiterates the importance of integrating digital with all aspects of retail operations.
‘BRANDS HAVE TO SHOW THEIR HUMAN SIDE & RETAIL SOLUTION FIRMS HAVE TO WORK WITH TECH COS'
Renowned retail expert, Dr. Dwarika Prasad Uniyal, who is also Professor & DEAN - FLAME University, and the bestselling author of ‘Managing Retailing’, shares with Point Of Purchase, his insights on consumer behavior trends post Covid-19 and what brands and retail solution providers can do to address the new challenges and win back consumer confidence. Presented below are excerpts from the interview.
NILKAMAL STEPS UP WITH COVID-19 RELATED PRODUCTS
The COVID-19 crisis has seen many manufacturers in the retail fixtures, materials, display, merchandising, and other retail solutions segments rising to the occasion by getting into the manufacture of medical gears, beds, and face shields, all critical needs today. Established industry player Nilkamal for example has rolled out a wide range of exclusive products like Quick COVID Beds, TravelGUARD & VirusGUARD, taking the battle against COVID-19 to a new level. The company has successfully supplied over 15000 hospital beds to emergency centers which were set up in a record time of 2 weeks. Mihir Parekh, Executive Director at Nilkamal Limited – BubbleGUARD, in an exclusive chat with Point of Purchase, shares more details about these innovative solutions.
DESIGN EXCELLENCE IN THE FMCG RETAIL SPACE
Marking a first, the prestigious VM&RD Retail Design Awards ceremony, organized by Messe Dusseldorf India, went virtual this year, with over 500 participants logging in, keeping up the energy and tempo of a live on-ground event.
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