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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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How Shoppers Stop Transformed Retail Amid Peak Disruption

Investing in Building Competencies

Nair explained that the pandemic has forever altered consumer behaviour and the buyer terrain, forced fundamental changes and transformed how the world operates and lives. It has majorly impacted how and where one purchases, accelerating the structural changes shaping the consumer industry. Moreover, it has been a wake-up call on finding and honing the right talent, skills and the ability to be enduringly pertinent to customers, shoppers and buyers. Critical factors like growth in delivery and logistics, massive sales from e-commerce, and customer preferences are now driving retailers to compete and evolve on a whole new level.

Nair also believes that as businesses and processes evolve, the company’s most vital strength will hinge on its ability to beat uncertainty. And in that regard, thanks to the partnership with Accenture, Shoppers Stop has emerged more digitally reliant and data-driven with robust capabilities in talent and the metaverse.

Customer Journey in an Omnichannel Retail Environment

As omnichannel has become the norm in retailing, it has necessitated retailers to be deeply ingrained in their customers’ buying behaviour. As a result, retailers must now form partnerships to deliver a more consistent, frictionless and seamless experience. In addition, they must build their talent pool and invest in technology to address the new challenges that the industry now faces.

Partnering with Accenture enabled Shoppers Stop to strengthen customer satisfaction, putting customers at the centre of all interactions by bringing omnichannel to the forefront of being the focus for the business. Knowing past buying behaviour of customers became a valuable asset to better understanding the entire customer journey.

While Shoppers Stop incorporated in-store technology and digital innovations to bring the store experience to life quite early on in its journey, today there is a strong focus on digital. With cumulative downloads of over 14 million, the Shoppers Stop app has replicated the retailer’s famous in-store experience online, thus offering customers flexibility and ease, and reenergizing the brand. Accenture as a trusted partner helped Shoppers Stop build more substantial capabilities with a combined ecosystem of operational processes.

Nair also stressed on how the pandemic highlighted, focused and emphasized the opportunity that data provides. In association with Accenture, Shoppers Stop gleaned and harvested the retailer’s first-party database of over nine million First Citizen customers, based on transactions, staff engagement, purchase history, etc. The retailer invested in a data lake and internally created a data warehouse program called Jarvis. This collected data is now shared and leveraged for all customer-centric decisions.

Transformation is a Work in Progress

Nair also described how Shoppers Stop is leveraging its data analytics capabilities by combining in-store and online customer interactions. Multiple analytical models like the propensity model, market basket analysis, cross-category analysis, and others are used to target customers in a personalised manner and to further enhance the entire customer experience.

As the path to acquiring customers is evolving and shifting to new platforms—the metaverse being one, Nair believes in listening to and learning from their customers to shape their future. In addition, the power of data remains an area of focus for Shoppers Stop as it explores the next generation of retail—seamless commerce powered by technology.

As the digital imperative increasingly drives the purchasing behaviour of Indians. Shoppers Stop well positioned to navigate this environment and capitalize on it by leveraging data to gain insights to enhance customer experience and improve operational efficiency.

Hyper Personalization: Bringing Data to Life

One legacy and much appreciated aspect of Shoppers Stop in its brick-and-mortar outlets have been the personal shoppers who help customers make the best buying decisions. Today, the retailer is using data to assist and aid the personal shopping experience through predictions based on AI and analytics. Similarly, the information the retailer has about its customers and what they buy has enabled them to tailor the assortment of brands they have in their stores. Shoppers Stop, Nair states, will always focus on fostering personalized consumer experiences.

As an example, he spoke about a personalized video that the retailer shared with 4.5 million customers. This video was personalized at an individual level, where the viewer was addressed by name and talked about when they began the journey with Shoppers Stop. It even offered the viewer an insight into the store they first visited, the exact year and how many times the viewer would have visited since. In addition, the viewer was also reminded of his/her favourite brand and category and provided an incentive to return. This highly successful hyper-personalization exercise gave the retailer a significant sales increment.

Amte of Accenture predicts that every business will be a metaverse business in the next few years and hence there is a big play for retailers in the space. Nair agreed that moving to the metaverse will take place in stages. Key to much of this will be hiring or upskilling the right talent. According to Nair, the ability to adapt and move on to newer roles and responsibilities will be vital going forward, given new platforms like the metaverse. While functional expertise remains vital, within it will be the ability to reinvent oneself with changing times and modes of doing business. Having a digital mindset and the ability to adopt technology, digitalize and use digital to drive efficiencies and drive responses will be crucial for people in the sector.

Despite starting as a brick-and-mortar retailer and achieving market leadership in an era where online shopping was just a dream, Shoppers Stop has today become the go-to destination for customers through constant innovation. With the growth of e-commerce and omnichannel retailing, shopping is no longer just a transaction but a part of the social fabric. Shoppers Stop has been a success story in transitioning from a brick-and-mortar to an omnichannel retailer, empowering customers with its digital initiatives to ensure a seamless shopping experience

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