‘Retail businesses underestimated Indian consumers’

Bengaluru, Dec 10 (IANS) Retail businesses and brands have underestimated the Indian consumer so far and have only concentrated on profits and expansion, said a top industry executive on Thursday.

“I think brands and businesses have underestimated (consumers) so far. Every company wants some topline growth. I believe the focus is shifted only to numbers and not in what the product should mean for them and what is the value that consumer gets of that product,” said Reliance Ecommerce head Chandrima Pareek said at the South India Retail Summit 2015.

In the long run, Pareek said, sustainability should be the focus than mere numbers.

A galaxy of top Indian retail executives gathered at summito deliberate on the state of retail industry and touched upon various factors influencing the industry.

PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC) associate director Rashmi Nair highlighted Indian consumers are reluctant to share their credit information online.

“Security of online transaction continues to be a concern, with reluctance to share financial information online,” she said.

Stressing upon the importance of interactive shopping experience, AT Kearney principal Siddarth Jain called upon retailers to deliver a dynamic and interactive shopping experience.

India is on the cusp of a digital revolution with 45 percent of urban Indian youngsters shopping online monthly,” he said.

However, Myntra.com senior vice president Gautam Kotamraju pointed out that infrastructure is a huge challenge in India for retail industry.

“Infrastructure is a huge problem in India which will stem the growth and expansion of market. Government should understand that as ecommerce players expand, we bring in more liquidity in the market,” he said.

He said 4G service being rolled out across India is not satisfactory while digitalization remain a challenge.

Kotamraju said ecommerce players should be excluded from the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) as they were only service providers.

According to Pareek, share of ecommerce in retail industry is only 0.4 percent in India compared to 12 percent in the US.

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