Using technology to create the right retail processes


July 28, 2023 | By Anurima Das

Using technology to create the right retail processes

Technology implementations are delicate, demanding undertakings that require end-to-end integration of tech, teams and functions aligned with the company goal and objectives. It is about using tech that is fit-for-purpose and is commercially intelligent at the same time. How are the top tech-minds in retail leading the way towards innovation, while keeping a sharp eye on the P&L sheet?

Here are highlights from the conversation that happened at the Tech Conclave at the THINK! I CAN! symposium to decode how innovation is driving the point home for leading retail companies.

Session moderator Loredana Matei, Founder and CEO, Finsight opened the conversation by hinting at the pandemic and how it has been an accelerator for change for the entire retail ecosystem. She touched upon the fact that retail evolution was already on the cards, but technology adaptations heightened since COVID. So how is everyone adapting the best in tech to stay on track with changing customer demands, was the question she posed to her panel.

Tapan Vaidya, CEO, PJP Investments Group mentioned how over the decades he has seen technology developing from a simple tool such as a calculator to something so mysterious and enigmatic as AI. He said, “Technology was always an amazing addition to the operations but over the years it has only developed to simplify approaches and food service industry is no different in adapting the right technology tools to cater to customers in the right way.”

Mohamed Galal, President & CEO, TSM Mall Management added, “For brick-and-mortar business and especially for shopping centres, the technology expectation has been very different. There was a time when customers did not get a chance to interact with technology when shopping. Technology was more of a backend process. However, now the roles have reversed and to support a customer on their shopping journey and to offer them an enhanced customer experience, technology has come to the front.”

Mustafa Khanwala, Founder & CEO, MishiPay hinted, “Coming back to retail post-COVID, a balance had to be brought back in terms of investment and return. From reduction in operations cost to stay buoyant to shifting to technology-driven operations like self-checkout to give the customer a contactless experience retailers had to partner with the right companies to innovate and implement quickly and with perfection.”

Mohamad Naamani, Director – Digital & Innovation, KPMG stirred the conversation in another direction and mentioned, “The concept of need versus wants became a clear indication for technology adoption. This means that retailers planning to sell products that the customer can order virtually were faster to adopt the tools that helped with virtual trials and quick ordering. On the other hand, brick and mortar retailers were essentially fast in adopting the right tools to make the in-store experience more contactless and experiential.”

Rushikesh Bhatt, Head Information Technology & Business Excellence, EROS Group highlighted, “Retail from an omnichannel perspective got a big push through technology implementations. Rather retailers have been steadfast in adopting technology to quickly build their omnichannel capabilities and this did not happen in a day but is more of an ongoing process that is still dynamic.”

Mohammed Belkhayatte, Chief Transformation Officer, BinDawood Holding on the other hand mentioned, “Technology adoption cannot happen as an independent topic. Rather it is a purpose driven approach that is influenced by consumer demands and the need of the hour. This is where a lot of market insights and customer behaviour understanding come into play. It has to be measured alongside cost to decide the pathway for implementation.”

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