Retail Reimagined
Yours, Digitally!
| Episode
32 Mins

Finding Your Niche in a Cluttered Market


Learn how brands can drive technology in retail space to create a category niche & an exceptional customer experience in this episode of Retail Reimagined with Ankur Bhatia, CEO, Chogori India as he talks in detail about agility & benefits of experimentation in start-up retail, omnichannel marketing, and how Indian consumers have now accepted the Western trend of Sports, Hiking & Adventures. This 30-minute conversation is nothing but the epitome of finding a niche in a cluttered retail world.


00:00 - 01:56 — Introduction
01:56 - 05:56 — Ankur’s journey of diving into the realm of Retail
05:56 - 09:38 — How Fitness & Fashion Led to the Birth of Chogori India Limited
09:38 - 15:10 — From Corporate to Individual: How customer trends for Sports & Adventure are Changing
15:10 - 19:28 — The Power of ‘People-Driven Technology’: DNA of Customer Experience
19:28 - 21:51 — Why word-of-mouth is still a top-notch Method of Marketing?
21:51 - 25:24 — 5 Key Trends to watch out for in the ‘Outdoor Sports’ Industry
25:24 - 29:15 —  “Experimentation”: The buzzword to understanding Customer Segmentation at an early-stage start-up
29:15 - 31:56 — “Retail is Detail”, A Lesson for youngsters who look to join Retail as a career


Ankur Bhatia

CEO, Chogori Retail India

Ankur Bhatia is the CEO of Chogori Retail. Chogori India Retail Limited has been an exclusive distributor for a number of outdoor brands in India, which is a specialized section of sportswear. He aspires to make Chogori a global leader in outdoor sports. With an executive MBA from Harvard Business School, he was previously Chief of Staff at Bestseller India.


Jitendranath Patri

Consulting Partner

Jitendranath Patri is a seasoned business professional with over 25 years of experience in the retail industry. He has deep knowledge in retail management, marketing, CRM, and customer loyalty. He works with Xeno as a consulting partner, driving innovation in CRM and loyalty strategies for retailers. Jitendranath also hosts a podcast called Retail Reimagined where he engages experienced retail professionals in insightful discussions.

[00:00:00] Jiten: Welcome to Retail Reimagined and I'm your host, Jitendranath Patri, principal consultant at Xeno. This podcast brings you insightful conversations with CXOs as we embark on an exhilarating exploration of the retail industry.

[00:00:13] Join us as we uncover strategic insights and innovative ideas that are reshaping the way CXOs navigate the evolving retail landscape from traditional stores to digital platforms, and from emerging trends to cutting edge technologies, we dive deep into realm of strategy, customer experience, and visionary leadership.

[00:00:32] Get ready for thought-provoking discussion after everything, stories and actionable takeaways that expower CXOs to reimagine the future of retail. So once again, welcome to Retail Reimagined, where the Future of Retail begins.

[00:00:45] Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another captivating episode of Retail Reimagined, with me your host, Jitendranath Patri. Today we are breaking away from the traditional studio setup and venturing into the great outdoors, metaphorically, of course, to connect with a visionary CEO, who's paving his own way in industry that has captured the hearts of Indians in recent times.

[00:01:04] Most pleasure to introduce Ankur Bhatia, the exceptional CEO of Chogori Retail, India. Chogori spearheads renowned brands like Columbus Sportswear, Adventurers, and many more.

[00:01:13] Ankur, thank you for gracing us with your presence today. We generally appreciate you taking the time, we appreciate to join us on this thrilling adventure.

[00:01:20] Ankur: Thank you Jiten. Thanks for having me here. It's a pleasure. I hope through this podcast, I'm able to reach out to a lot of, young individuals who are planning to join retail or people who are actually already there in retail who wanna understand more.

[00:01:35] And thank you for your time as well, Jiten, and 

[00:01:38] Jiten: My pleasure.

[00:01:38] Ankur: I mean, look forward to having this conversation. 

[00:01:40] Jiten: Absolutely. Pleasure is all mine Ankur and absolutely, I think that's the whole objective or intent of the podcast is to get those, the experiences and the insights out there. For, for a lot of the industry to pick up and, and take forward.

[00:01:53] Yeah. So I know you sent me a very brief profile of yourself, but, walk us through your remarkable journey. Yeah, and give us all the juice that you've kind of experienced all, all, all these years. 

[00:02:03] Ankur: Jiten, I would say that when I was in college, actually at that time, Mr. Biyani was setting up his retail business and students like me at that time were really in awe of, of his presence and, his strategy and how he was planning to build his retail business from almost scratch actually. 

[00:02:30] Jiten: Absolutely. 

[00:02:31] Ankur: And was really motivated by him. And that is why I took retail as a subject and I took retail as my passion because of some inherent things in me, but also because, Mr. Biyani turned out to be the role model I needed at that time. And I joined ITC. And ITC had its own retail division and I joined Wills Lifestyle. John Players also was with ITC at that time and that is how my journey in retail started, right.

[00:03:03] And since then it's, it's just been that the, that the industry also embraces you with open arms. It's about people at the end of the day, everything including technology revolves around it. Ultimately, people are the ones who get technology implemented and make sure that ultimately people's lives are getting easier, whether it is your customers, whether it's your employees, your shareholders, anybody.

[00:03:29] So it's just that I was with ITC and then I joined Snap Deal and, offline experience turned into online experience and I was able to implement a lot of things which we did in offline, in the online space. Online was at it's infancy at that time. When Bestseller happened, Jack and Jones, Vero Moda, Only and a couple of other brands.

[00:03:55] And now Columbia Sportswear at Chogori India Retail Limited. We are launching a lot of new brands. Everything in the outdoor space. But yeah, the last 15 plus years I've all been in retail. And a lot of learnings, a lot of misses as well. 

[00:04:11] Jiten: Mm-hmm. 

[00:04:11] Ankur: Some failures to talk about. But I would say it's, it's just amazing. I'm so lucky to be part of this industry and to be working with such learned and such hardworking people like yourself and so many others, I've been, I've been interacting with in the last many years, that it's just amazing. And, and yeah, that's the not the remarkable journey. That's my journey in detail.

[00:04:37] Jiten: Absolutely. And I think you, you said it's so right, right? The, the industry embraces you. Right. So much so that even I think after you go on, and that's my case too, you still want to keep in touch and, and kind of stay connected. 

[00:04:49] Ankur: Absolutely. And absolutely it's a people business whether it's business to business, retail, or B2C retail.

[00:04:58] Ultimately it's about relationships. Whether you make them with the customers or you make them with your partners, your suppliers. And employees and, and everybody you interact with on a day-to-day basis and better that relationship is, I've seen so many people have remarkable success and remarkable failures as well, just because they're not able to manage their people's relationships.

[00:05:19] Jiten: Absolutely. 

[00:05:20] Ankur: I'm still learning. It's not that anybody in, in this industry has arrived, but people who are able to manage this part of, of the business are able to succeed so rapidly. And that's what my biggest learning also has been. 

[00:05:35] Jiten: Absolutely. I think it's so right. It's all about people at the end of the day. So you transitioned from fashion to, and went from within the fashion, obviously multiple categories, and all of a sudden you went to, you made a big shift to sports, right? Adventure sports. Yeah. Was it intentional or did it just happen or you saw something that made you take this vision?

[00:05:57] Ankur: So Jitendra, the basics of retail don't really change when you move from fashion to sportswear or even from sportswear to FMCG retailing. The basics are just the same. It's just that my, my passion for fitness and my passion for, sports in general, met had a good synergy with my experience in retail and that's why I thought it was the most logical move at that time.

[00:06:26] And I just jumped on this opportunity. There was no looking back from there on because see at the end of the day, I would say fashion retailing is a tad bit more difficult. 

[00:06:42] Jiten: Mm-hmm. 

[00:06:43] Ankur: There is a lot of learning which I had working with companies like Bestseller and Snap Deal and ITC because there are so many nuances to fast fashion and if you're able to manage that effectively then Sports retailing and what we do here is a little bit easier. Because here we are not talking about changing SKUs and changing fashion trends and getting those fashion trends in time in your range and doing local manufacturing and doing manufacturing fast. So there, there are a lot of things which are easier but there are also a lot of things which need to be taken care of.

[00:07:21] All in all, I think it has been a really exciting journey over the last, two and a half, three years. And the results have been fabulous, and the brand is expanding and customers are accepting it in the best possible way. And if, if your customers are happy, then you are here to stay. I mean, it's very difficult for a, for a new company to dislodge you because you have so many customers who are so vocal and so loyal to your brand.

[00:07:47] Jiten: Right. 

[00:07:48] Ankur: And, and, and I think they're the biggest testimonials to your success. So 

[00:07:52] Jiten: True 

[00:07:52] Ankur: that's, that's the biggest thing for me personally. 

[00:07:55] Jiten: Absolutely. 

[00:07:55] Ankur: And, and that's why the most logical shift. I love sports. I love adventure activities. I love fitness in general. And the transition was quite natural and quite neat.

[00:08:07] Jiten: Super. And yeah, I like the point that you made where it's all at the end of the day, it's all about how you cultivate that. If I could add the word, your community of customers, right? They could be whatever size, size, I think in terms of volumes don't really matter, but then are you really able to build that community and then kind of create that bond with them?

[00:08:26] Ankur: Yeah, absolutely Jiten. I think also the right timing is important because. Post covid, this was in 2021, we're talking about, working from home and working from various destinations and fitness was really catching up and, and outdoors was the most safer area to be in compared to the busy city life or busy places to visit, right? Tourist places to visit. So, I think there was some mode of tailwind which we caught onto. But yeah, I think a lot of basics were right and some amount of tailwind was also there to help us out. 

[00:09:06] Jiten: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's the question I already wanna ask you, right? I mean, recent times, at least the last couple of years, I'm actually seeing a lot of Indians were not known as very adventurous.

[00:09:16] Right. But I see that change happening, I think so a lot of people I know have, who never possibly tracked, have started treking, right? And even at a, not as young as what they are. Right. Going to the Himalayan base camp, that has become kind of a, a thrill, right? Are you seeing that change happening? Are you witnessing that shift?

[00:09:38] Ankur: Yes. I think people value experiences much more than products. Especially the generation which we are seeing now is really, valuing that. The experiences of going to new locations, unvisited places. The thrill of adventure and, and everything to do around that journey. People just no longer want to go to places where everybody goes, right?

[00:10:05] They want to put Instagram stories about, about new destinations, about some unique thrill with they have had. And, the, this, this generation, which we are talking about is, is not like the previous generation for whom probably, international travel was more valuable than doing something in the domestic market but something unique.

[00:10:26] Jiten: Right. 

[00:10:27] Ankur: So we are seeing various kinds of customers and their profiles, where they are going to some destinations which are very, very close to their homes. But they're all in the outdoor space. 

[00:10:38] Jiten: Mm-hmm. 

[00:10:38] Ankur: Some unique trekking destinations, some unique wildlife safari destinations, and people are staying overnight.

[00:10:46] So this camping culture is catching up now, and everything which Europe and the West was doing is coming to India like not a decade later but maybe a few months or a few, one or two years down the line. So that's the biggest change. In Europe and America almost 20% of the sports industries are outdoor sports. 

[00:11:06] Jiten: Right.

[00:11:07] Ankur: It's a huge, huge market, right? And that's what we feel would be the market size here as well. Because the trend is really catching up. 

[00:11:16] Jiten: Wow. And are you seeing this? We've always read stories of how in the US and Europe, they would just go off on the weekend, spend a day and a half, and then come back and then you know start your work week from a Monday onwards.

[00:11:27] Right? So is this a fleeting trend or is this something that's going to stay? This can continue. 

[00:11:32] Ankur: Well, it's definitely gonna stay cause it started with corporates going on as team building activities. People started loving that. And now groups of friends were going in the last couple of years and very soon, and it's already catching up.

[00:11:47] We are seeing families going out as camping trips. So people are not taking accommodations. People are buying these big SUVs, which can carry their load for the next seven days of camping. They're, they're buying their own tents, they're buying their own cooking range which can cater to a family of say, four or five in the outdoor space.

[00:12:09] They're buying all their gear for the outdoors. 

[00:12:12] Jiten: Wow. 

[00:12:12] Ankur: They don't wanna stay in hotels, in closed rooms and then go for sight seeing and all. They want real experiences. They want to stay next to a river. Have food for the next four days in their own coolers. And then cook their own food there.

[00:12:29] And their children also do that. They have their own learnings out of it. They know how they're learning how to survive in the outdoors at night, at daytime. Cook their own meals do their own essentials over the course of the day. Enjoy during the day. Read a book probably. In the outdoor space and have their own unique experiences.

[00:12:51] So all of that is changing and that's where the biggest market lies. I think trekking, hiking and then camping. 

[00:12:58] Jiten: Right. 

[00:12:58] Ankur: That's, that's what we are really looking at. And it's just amazing. I can't tell you enough about that.

[00:13:04] Jiten: I'm sure, I'm sure I can, I can sense the excitement and the passion that's coming through. I kind of observing it, sometime in March, I just dropped down to Rishikesh just for a couple of days. Luckily for us, we were staying in a hotel just next to the river. Right. And I think from Friday evening onwards and the whole of Saturday, I just saw a number of those raft just coming down the river.

[00:13:27] Right. And it was not stopping. It was like a, a wave belt. And yeah, I think what you saying absolutely resonates. 

[00:13:33] Ankur: I mean, and, and see that's advantage of living in a country like India, right? We have the best of the deserts. We have best of the hills. We have best of the beaches. I mean, we have everything in just one country.

[00:13:46] Jiten: Yeah. 

[00:13:47] Ankur: So you don't really need to go anywhere and you can have various kind experiences just by traveling within the country and, and that's the best part out of it. 

[00:13:57] Jiten: Yeah, no, absolutely. You're, you're so right. I think it's nice. I think today we actually understanding or realizing what, what we have and then exploring all of that to its fullest.

[00:14:07] Yeah.

[00:14:07] Ankur: Absolutely. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can have various kinds of trips, which can be customized just to your needs, and you can do it yourself. You don't need a travel travel engine. You just need good quality gear to keep you safe. And you need your tickets to take you there.

[00:14:25] That's all. 

[00:14:26] Jiten: Wow. Yeah. And consider the, the nature of the category you operate in. Right? How do you really see customer experience? The entire journey? Yeah. Any strategies or initiative that you employ or deploy to kind of improve this or kind of create that, better experience even before their outdoor experience starts.

[00:14:45] Ankur: Yeah, I mean, the only difference is that the, the experience of the customer which was largely linear initially, couple of decades, a couple of years back, has become linear. But the angle of multichannel has come in. So everything now has to be omnichannel.

[00:15:01] Jiten: Right.

[00:15:02] Ankur: And no matter where the customer is, essentially you should be able to service the customer, irrespective of which channel he or she is calling you from. 

[00:15:11] Jiten: Right. 

[00:15:12] Ankur: So that is the only thing which has changed because of the advent of the smartphone and internet really getting penetrated in the country. So that's the only difference from pre-purchase to post-purchase channel, the angle of channel has come in.

[00:15:27] So that, that is how we see it. And you have a service. I mean, the better you are at servicing your customer across channels, the faster you would grow. 

[00:15:36] Jiten: Right. 

[00:15:37] Ankur: And there is so much to learn from companies like Amazon and various companies in India as well, who are really managing this part of their business so well. That, that is how they're able to outgrow their competition, much faster and gain a lot of market share. 

[00:15:53] Jiten: Right. Okay. Great. And in, in doing so, I, I know for some of the brands, lot of retail brands, what they do is they usually, I implement some kind of program and kind of just start communicating with them. Is there something much more that can be done with possibly a category like yours? 

[00:16:10] Ankur: Not category specific, but I think it has to do with the DNA of the organization. As I said the people are running, various processes and systems in any company and, and if the DNA of the company is to service the customer in the smartest and the best possible way then systems and technology will just be an enabler.

[00:16:30] Jiten: Right. 

[00:16:30] Ankur: So that is where the difference lies between between a technology and a people driven technology kind of a scenario.

[00:16:39] Jiten: So one is very transactional. The other is a combination of people, emotions, and technology. It makes it that much more more powerful.

[00:16:48] Ankur: Absolutely because for long lasting relationships just the technology part of it is not needed. So for instance, if even if it is omnichannel and if some customer is going to a store and wants to return something which you purchase in the online, space the, the moment of truth is in, in how well your sales associate who's standing there at the store is aware about your processes.

[00:17:14] How well does he communicate with the customer? Is there some hesitance? Does he need approvals? What is the kind of delay or excitement or anxiety, which he's going to cause to the customer? How well your policies are laid out on your website or on your invoices so that the customer doesn't have to go searching for such information.

[00:17:35] So any touchpoint which the customer might have with you needs to be sorted. And the less anxious we make the process for the customer, the better it is. And we have this repeat rate, which would then be much better than normal. The bottom line is that people are going to drive your technology not the other way around.

[00:17:56] Jiten: Brilliant. Interesting, interesting take on that because always you always assume that technology is driving everything or supposed to. 

[00:18:03] Ankur: Yeah. Not, not in our industry. I'm, I'm probably not commenting on maybe AI or ChatGPT, kinda a scenario in which technology is actually now dictating a lot what the humans used to do.

[00:18:16] But in our industry so far still, there is a lot of people interaction people business which is happening. And that is where having the right set of people is very important. 

[00:18:29] Jiten: Right. Absolutely. Coming back to that one word, which is I took off from our initial part of the congregation is the art of building communities, right? It's not just the customers, but also how your own people who even the front end staff actually become part of it to kind of create that larger experience. Absolutely. 

[00:18:47] Ankur: I think creating a community of customers will be our next step as well. But for that to happen creating a family like community within the company is the stepping stone, right?

[00:19:00] And that is what we have been doing over the last many months and years now in terms of having low employee attrition and having more and more people who understand our business, who understand our category, so that they can serve the customer and they can then create those communities of customers, which can do a lot of advocacy for your brands.

[00:19:22] Jiten: True, true. 

[00:19:24] Ankur: So that whether it is Colombia, adventurous, or any of the brands which we have in, in the outdoor space, we want people to talk about our brands and not do the traditional way of marketing because we know that our products are one of the best in, in the class. And when, when you are selling a product which has top notch quality, you don't want to spend on marketing, you want people to tell other people that their experiences were those good experiences because the gear was working at the right time, the most difficult and treacherous terrain.

[00:19:58] So that's where I think a bit differentiated between other retailers and us. 

[00:20:03] Jiten: Yeah. Yeah, I think that background picture also, I think, kind of resonates with what you're saying. 

[00:20:08] Ankur: Absolutely. I mean that's what we do on a day-to-day basis. 

[00:20:12] Jiten: Yeah. 

[00:20:12] Ankur: You don't want this guy who's probably at a 4,000 meter peak to go slipping down or even have a, a small fall at this altitude cause he will not have a backup right at this altitude, getting a backup would be like lot of money and lot of time wasted. And the consequences related to that. True. So when you're in this terrain, you want everything to work perfectly well. 

[00:20:38] Jiten: Absolutely. 

[00:20:38] Ankur: Which is why it's substandard or even less than, the best is not going to make it. Right. 

[00:20:44] Jiten: Yeah. I'm getting a lot of insights, right. And then with your experience across different categories. What do you think are the trends that one can look forward to in the next few years, especially for in the adventure sports and in the adventure sports space. 

[00:20:59] Ankur: We are in a very nascent stage as of now as far as catching up with trends is concerned. The biggest trend as I spoke about earlier would be that we are going this, trend of outdoors from the west, right? When Indians would start exploring the hills and their, desert safari and everything. We would just go for it. And that we are already seeing tourist destinations from Himachal to gulf, to northeast, unexplored northeast.

[00:21:25] Jiten: Mm-hmm. 

[00:21:26] Ankur: Everything is catching down. 

[00:21:27] Jiten: Right. 

[00:21:28] Ankur: So that's the biggest trend. Okay. Overall outdoor industry perspective is concerned the share of outdoor in sports is going to rise. Faster than most of the categories in, in apparel, footwear, accessories, retail. So that's, that's one for sure. I think we would also be a lot more digital than we are.

[00:21:50] We are now expanding with lot of digital platforms including WhatsApp, a lot of marketplaces. So that we are able to reach those customers wherever they're great. So that's point number two. Point number three is also coming in from omnichannel retailing. We wanna make lives of the customer easier as we grow. They would have to be ease of transaction, with the company, and, because otherwise we can't grow to a certain scale. And then start talking about the ease of transaction. So we are building for faster growth. I think a, a trend of discounting is something which we would continue to stay away from.

[00:22:28] A lot of brands are doing that to get quick success but, but not us. So there are couple of trends we want to latch onto, but there are couple of trends we wanna stay away from also. And it's important to understand both of them, right? So that you know, what's the right way of doing business and what's, what's a right and a painful way of doing business.

[00:22:51] But, but then again, right. And what's a easier and a short-term strategy, but doesn't have any long-term impact, right, of doing business. So we, we differentiate that between, in our minds and that's what, we look at. Intervention of technology will always be, I think we build a successful business on a solid, IT framework.

[00:23:13] And that's, I think five or six points is what we are looking at on a day-to-day basis. I would also mention that while we say that, we are focusing a lot on digital, a lot of our business comes from offline, right? And post covid people are accepting the offline channel and really want to go out and feel the product touch and feel the product.

[00:23:40] We don't want to miss out on that as well. We have expanded with stores when, when a lot of retailers were shutting them, we were opening more stores. So our growth will be always balanced across channels, across categories, new categories as well. And then we'll, we'll look at data, we'll look at analytics and grow the faster ones much more, and then kill a few categories.

[00:24:05] Jiten: Yeah, I'm, I'm glad you so you brought that up because one of the questions I just wanna ask you is you, sometimes, it gives you a, a sense that this category is, if I buy it once, then it lasts me for a long time. So are you seeing much higher repeat rates because of possibly customers saying, Hey, today this time I will go for a track, but maybe after six months or eight months down the line and maybe I wanna go river rafting, so I may need gear for that, and so on and so forth.

[00:24:31] Right. Are you seeing the same customer coming back or multiple customers coming back more often.

[00:24:36] Ankur: Yes, they do. Jiten, I think there are various kind of customers. Some, some, some customers are really experts in, in their knowledge about various brands, right? And depending upon their, their ability to buy at that time.

[00:24:53] They might select a category and then come back and buy another category, and then another category, category couple of months later. There are other sets of customers who look at their friends and their colleagues. Who have bought these amazing products and then come to us. And those are new customers for us.

[00:25:11] Customers who have been referred by other customers. 

[00:25:14] Jiten: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. 

[00:25:15] Ankur: Third set of customers is because we are expanding so rapidly in new places and new malls. That we have an entirely new set of customers who walk into our stores on a day-to-day basis. 

[00:25:27] Jiten: Correct. 

[00:25:27] Ankur: So in our journey also Jiten, we are still very nascent.

[00:25:30] We are very young. We are like a startup only actually honestly. And we are as of now, we are getting all kinds of customers into our stores, marketplaces and distribution channels. And we are trying to segment that at various levels, but it's a little bit too early for me to comment on, on customers and their preferences for categories, right?

[00:25:54] We are seeing growth across categories. Sometimes some categories are really expanding, exploding, literally. And, sometimes they're not doing so well as well. So we have, we have good things coming out also, and we have a couple of failures as well. 

[00:26:08] Jiten: Right. 

[00:26:08] Ankur: So we just adapt, adapting and adjusting our buying and adjusting our future categories as per that, that trend. It's all very nascent as of now. 

[00:26:19] Jiten: Right? Right. And I think that also helps because it makes you that much more agile. 

[00:26:23] Ankur: Yes. Oh, definitely. So experimentation is the buzzword. 

[00:26:27] Jiten: Yeah. 

[00:26:27] Ankur: If we're not experimenting enough I think we are not doing justice to our customers at all.

[00:26:34] So, so new categories keep coming in. We launch kids wear, we have launched seven new brands in the last two years. So experimentation is the buzzword for me. 

[00:26:46] Jiten: And when you say experimentation, is that something that maybe even legacy retailers also should employ or try out to hopefully find better success?

[00:26:55] Ankur: I would say, I mean, it's difficult to comment on, on someone else. But what I would say is that if you're too much in your comfort zone, then you're probably missing out on, on new avenues of growth. And if you are not looking that side, then someone else will one day and your potential business can get taken away by that new retailer or that, that new well-funded startup which can challenge the incumbent at any point of time. And with technology making it so easier, the challenges are also that much faster and that that much more devastating, right? So you have to be always agile and keep a year out on what's happening in the outside space and keep adjusting to that.

[00:27:43] Jiten: Super and with that thought. I know you said in the beginning when we were having a conversation, you said, I wanna share, insights and knowledge that maybe youngsters can take away and why should they join retail? Right. So come to that, what suggestions or recommendations would you have for professionals or even other businesses especially in, in managing a very niche category like yours?

[00:28:07] Ankur: Yeah. I think when I was passing out of engineering college, I did my software engineering and everybody wondered why I did MBA after that. Because at that time technology was the thing. It still is. In the last 15, 20 years people have talked more about technology than retail business.

[00:28:27] Jiten: True, true. 

[00:28:28] Ankur: So, but I would say though it was not the norm to join retail in 2000, in the early two thousands. But if, if you are a people's person and if you have a passion to follow, I would say do that. 

[00:28:44] Jiten: Right.

[00:28:44] Ankur: And retail is not a easy business, so I would not say, join retail looking for a very easy lifestyle because you would not get that.

[00:28:54] It's about detail. Retail is about detail and, and that's what my advice would be to anybody who wants to join the youngsters, especially because, it'll teach you a lot and you would be a smarter person at the end of the day. Much more so because, if you're sitting with a laptop in your hand, in some remote location and doing coding, versus if you're working in retail on a hands-on job, interacting with various people, customers, vendors, suppliers, everybody, you would tend to learn a lot more interacting rather than sitting somewhere else. 

[00:29:28] Jiten: Sure. 

[00:29:29] Ankur: So the two industries are at, at extreme ends, and I think you have to make your own call. You have to look at your own passions, your skill sets, your value system, and then look at what suits you the best because that's where your success lies. So this is not a call to get more people into retail, but this is a call for taking a judicious decision irrespective of where the herd is going.

[00:29:57] Follow your passion, follow your instincts, and success will come on its own. Don't go looking out for success. 

[00:30:04] Jiten: Fantastic. Yeah. And, and, and I won't, honestly I wouldn't mind pushing people more, more people to retail, because I think retail needs it right now. Yeah. But jokes apart, I think, thank you so much.

[00:30:15] And that's exactly what I wanted to hear and Ankur, it has been a pleasure talking to you. And just to quickly summarize, I think some of the points that you mentioned, very valid points that you mentioned is how can brands keep experimenting, right? So that they can create that excitement for customers to come in.

[00:30:31] And this experiment could be in many forms, right? Through use of technology, through use of better category management or whatever, right? The other thing is how do you people orientation which will actually help you drive that engagement even more or even better. Just some of the things that I picked up and I thought I'll summarize.

[00:30:48] It was a pleasure talking to you Ankur, and lovely chat and I'm glad we got this opportunity. 

[00:30:54] Ankur: Thank you, Jiten, I hope I would be able to turn the tide at least for one person who's watching this video, listening to this podcast, and, I would say my job done. But I, it's been a pleasure.

[00:31:06] Lot of relevant questions, lot of questions which makes so much sense for the industry and even for the people who want to join retail. And I just wish retail best of luck because if India has to, achieve its dream of becoming a $5 trillion economy, retail is going to play a significant role in that.

[00:31:28] And, and that's where we need the entire ecosystem. Not just us, not just you and me, but the entire ecosystem to start thinking about that and making everybody's lives so much easier. And I'm sure India can do it. India can do the 5 trillion and I'm sure retail is a even bigger role than it's playing currently.

[00:31:47] Jiten: Right. Absolutely. It'll, it'll, I think there's so much that that can be done and will be done. Thanks, Ankur. Thank you. Pleasure. 

[00:31:55] Ankur: Thank you. Thanks a lot. 

Retail Reimagined is a podcast series that features CXOs from the retail industry who are at the forefront of digital transformation and customer-centricity.

Yours, Digitally! is a digital personalisation podcast dedicated to leadership & marketing teams of retail brands who are looking to shift from conventional marketing to digital personalized marketing like Amazon, Spotify & Netflix have already done.




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