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Discussion theme 2— Strategy and innovation is a holistic concept involving the launch of new products, the creation of unique marketing strategies, the development of new distribution channels, the customisation of products, etc.

Innovation, aside from encompassing the launch of new products and services, involves—

  • The launching of new formats such as shop-in-shop formats, value, etc.

  • The introduction of customer loyalty programmes from which data can be harnessed to better serve consumers

  • The expenditure toward IT systems that link operations, drive efficiencies, manage stockouts, liberate costs, etc.

  • The creation of private labels that will be marketed into well-recognised brands

  • The development, creation and implementation of customer service standards that delight and excite consumers

  • The creation of new distribution channels that enable retailers to efficiently and effectively reach consumers

Innovative practices that interviewed retailers are embarking upon include creating India-inspired product lines, offering private label products and selecting, and accordingly, customising the global product assortment for the Indian market.

Primary case examples

  • Dolphin Kids Wear’s Efforts to Create a Brand Partnership with Children

  • Spa Group’s Non-Retail and Digital Channels

  • Spa Group/Lladro’s India-Inspired Products

  • Innovation at Swarovski

  • The Mobile Store’s “Rock with Rolls” Promotion

Discussion theme 3— Private label offerings are a major catalyst for growth.

Indian consumers are value conscious, more so in the current economic environment. Retail companies are launching a range of private labels products in order to meet the demands of value conscious consumers, to develop product portfolios and to improve margins in a retail environment where efficiency and competitiveness is imperative. Private label brands are important revenue drivers in developing markets and fill a demand gap in terms of range, quality and price.

Observations from retailers we interviewed include—

  • Leveraging a growth opportunity—Most retail organisations believe that private labels are a major avenue for growth in serving both retail and business customers.

  • Assessing market potential—Some retailers are embarking upon pilot projects to assess the impact of private labels on sales. These retailers want to assess the impact that private labels have on increasing share of space and category, improving visibility and driving sales and revenues.

Strategic Issues for Retail CEOs* : Perspectives on Operating in India’s Retail Sector

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