Retail 4.0 to propel growth amongst small businesses in India

Hyderabad: A Half Day Round Table discussion on Retail 4.0 was held in the city on Friday at Park, Hyatt, Banjara Hills. The theme of the Round Table was “Retail 4.0: Revolutionizing Retail through Online & Offline Partnership”

The objective of the first Round Table discussion was to sensitize various stakeholders to the concept of Retail 4.0.

Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce & Information Technology, Electronics, and Communications, Government of Telangana was the chief guest at the valedictory function. Addressing the gathering he spoke about the challenges small sellers face in their digital transformation. Some of these include the ease of getting onboarded. Can we automate this process, is there a centralized way of cataloging their products? he asked the retail industry professionals.

Product improvement is another challenge. Can we make sophisticated technology available to them by way of a soft loan or any other means? Can we find out a way of procuring raw material together with all other players in an aggregated way so that all in the process will benefit? Maintaining a minimum inventory is a big task. We need to address these and other challenges in their digital transformation journey, he told them

The Government of Telangana will extend any support in this journey. We are even in the process of appointing a panel of consultants in all areas such as branding, packaging, positioning, pricing, and every other aspect of their digital transformation journey, Mr. Jayesh Ranjan informed.

Earlier Speaking at the inaugural function, Dr. E. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, Special Secretary (Investment Promotion and External Engagement), Department of Industries and Commerce, Govt of Telangana who was the Guest of Honour gave five factors for Retail 4.0 Revolutionizing to materialize. They include 01. Pace of Adoption Technology, 02. Corporate Competition, 03. Logistics Policy Frameworks, 04. Tapping the bottom of Pyramid, 05. Skilling.

Explaining them he said Telangana State is the leader in adopting the technology. The state stands second in Internet and Mobile Penetration after Kerala. We have 83 connections for every 100 people. The state also tops in Per Capita income. We are the most urbanized state, he shared

The Retails space is attracting a lot of competition, which is very good. Telangana Government likes to encourage healthy competition. The competition will drive growth. We are happy that Amazon discovered this potential of the state and made a substantial investment in the state, said Dr. E. Vishu.

Telangana is the first state to come out with a Logistics policy even before the Govt of India came out. The state offers incentives to companies that invest in new technology. Onboarding MSMEs is very important in tapping the bottom of the Pyramid, he said.

Speaking on skilling he reminded the audience about TASK(Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge) set up in the state for skilling youth and Creating Synergy between institutions of Government, Industry, and Academia with the objective of improving quality, relevance, access, and Outreach of training. He spoke about Innovation which is a very important aspect of Logistics policy. He mentioned that the government was looking forward to setting up a fund to help the startup ecosystem in the sector. To make the fund sustainable, he urged interesting companies to come forward as credible partners. He also announced that the government was planning to set up an e-commerce working group. He urged FTCCI to help the government to constitute the group. And he concluded his talk on a promising note that Telangana Government will remain business-friendly.

Delivering the theme address Mr. Udai Mehta, Head, of Public Policy(E-commerce) at Amazon said the purpose of this Round Table Discussion was to enhance the capacity of MSMEs. The Vision of Amazon is to transform the way India buys and sells. Our goal is to digitize close to 10 million MSMEs, generate xxxxxxx worth of business, and create 2 million jobs by the year 2025. So far, we have digitized 4 million MSMEs, generated business worth 5 billion US $ and 1.5 million jobs.

Speaking further he added that the 100 seller base in the year 2013 has now grown to 11 lacks on the Amazon platform. What is more interesting about this transformation is 50% of sellers onboarded are from tier-2 and 3 cities. We have reached a stage where we serve 100% Pin codes.

Telangana has become a destination for startups and MSMEs because of the state’s proactive policies. He thanked FTCCI for its role in its transformational journey in the state.

Amazon has the largest facility in Telangana. It is the largest campus outside the USA. We introduced Amazon Air this year, the first in India that allows the transportation of goods.

Over the years small supermarkets transformed into hypermarkets and now emerged as e-commerce majors. In the due course of time, eCommerce evolved into a more mature sector. And now the time has come to expect a well-rationalized regulatory framework that controls online retail business.

Anil Agarwal, President of FTCCI delivering his welcome address said presently, the share of online retail in India is less than 5%. The sector needs to aim for 15%, and the roundtables are intended to highlight this. The takeaway from the conference for the participants will be the promise and potential that E-commerce holds for them, and the manner of realizing these benefits.

India has recently become the fifth-largest economy in the world. It aims to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025 (including a $1 trillion digital economy). To reach this goal, it is necessary for Indian policymakers to unleash the potential of the country’s E-commerce sector. It is also necessary to ensure that the growth of the E-commerce sector will be inclusive, benefitting all stakeholders.

Ms. Khyati Nerwane, CEO of FTCCI informed us that a white paper will be published after the Round Table Meeting gets over.

The half-day session which was organized by FTCCI with support from Amazon at Park Hyatt, Banjara Hills was participated by about 40 participants. It had two sessions. The one was on Conceptualizing Retail 4.0 in a post-pandemic world. It was moderated by Mr. Bala Peddigiri, Chief Innovation Officer, TCS. Covid helped the quick adoption of Technology.

One of the panelists Anirudh ???? said Direct to Consumers(D2C) is picking up and exploding. It is the way to go forward. The future model of retailing will be Phygital. He cited Lenskart as a perfect example of the integration of 4.0 Retail. Dark Stores are boosting e-commerce. He added that ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) will be a game changer for businesses.

Avinash Agarwal of Sri Jagdamba Pearls, another panelist said Live Commerce is more e-commerce and it is the way to go in the future.

V. Tirupathi, Sales Head, Karachi Bakery said three major developments UPI Payment mode, Online Customers and OTT emerged due to Covid shaping retail business.

Session two was on The Promise of Retail 4.0 for MSMEs focused on enhancing the digital backbone of the Indian economy. The Panelists covered the benefits of digitalization for MSMEs, as well as inclusive development

It was moderated by Mr. Avik Sarkar, ISB. The panelists of the session included Ms. Deepa Dadu, Managing Director, Dadus Mithai Vatika; Kshitij Jain, Director, External Fulfillment, Amazon; Vivek Shukla, CEO, Nukkad Shops and M. Chandrashekhar, Technical Advisor, Indo German Vocational Education and Training Programme (IGVET) at GIZ(The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, the main German development agency).

The two sessions had a deep dive into Retail 4.0. They highlighted how existing E-Commerce entities, along with government initiatives have helped in the digitalization of MSMEs. They also highlighted how digital public infrastructure such as UPI has helped various stakeholders adopt E-commerce retail.

Few sellers who witnessed growth and improvement in sales by being on the Amazon marketplace shared their journey and success stories.

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