Move in tandem with your customers

RetailME Bureau

Narain Jashanmal, head of direct response advertising – MENA for Facebook, an erstwhile retailer who was part of the successful Jashanmal Group, moderated the first RetailME Connect roundtable that focussed on “Decoding the Omni-channel Formula.”

RetailME finds out if Jashanmal enjoyed moderating the maiden Connect Series and his views on regional omni-channel readiness

Did you enjoy moderating RetailME Connect?

It was a great session. What I liked most is the way it brought together key players from IT and marketing, creating an intersection where omni-channel sits. The roundtable format too made a lot of sense, making way for meaningful discussions on omni-channel.

What is your key take-away from RetailME Connect?

A key take-away is the realisation that we’re a little ahead in terms of omni-channel usage compared to what I’d expected. Of course there’s still a lot of work to do. But we’re heading in the right direction.

Are retailers within the region omni-channel ready?

Retailers are definitely endeavouring to get omni-channel ready. One of the crucial things to do in this regard is carefully examine consumer behaviour. The way they’re using Instagram, Facebook messenger or even WhatsApp tells us a lot about where things are heading and what people want. So retailers will have to use consumer behaviour as bellwether to set up their business strategies accordingly.

What are the hurdles to running a successful omni-channel business in the region?

It is really the will to succeed! One of the major aspects that came up a few times during the roundtable discussion is organisational structure. Businesses will have to think about this carefully to put in place a successful omni-channel strategy to serve customers as effectively as possible. That’s something to think about – do businesses have the will to reorganise? Is there a desire to bring in the right people to implement an effective omni-channel strategy? Is generation gap preventing retailers from understanding customer expectation, realigning their business accordingly?

And I think businesses are gradually getting there. What will really matter is the speed of implementation. Here I’d like to quote the example of Facebook, boasting over a billion users globally, where ‘Move fast and break things’ is our motto. Around three and half years ago Facebook wasn’t a mobile optimised social media site. Soon we started noticing users shifting from desktop to mobile devices. So we’d to change fast. And we did! The engineers were given the requisite trainings and we did what we’re best known for – moving fast. Today mobile apps account for a major portion of our ad revenues.