Retail Reimagined
Yours, Digitally!
| Episode
30 mins

Unlocking Customer Centricity: Insights From A Multi-million Dollar Brand


Learn how retailers are adapting to the changing landscape of customer behavior in this episode of Retail Reimagined with Dharmendra Mehta, Business Head - E-Commerce, Lals Group, as he talks in detail about the power of customer centricity, the behavioral science behind consumer preferences, the key trends that retailers should keep in mind for future. This 30-minute conversation is no less than an insider insight from a Multi-Million Dollar Retail Brand.


00:00 - 00:54 Introduction
00:54 - 05:00 Dharmendra's 25 years of Journey in retail
05:00 - 08:45 Is Retail Art? Science? or a Perfect Balance of Both?
08:45 - 12:20 Retail and E-commerce: Two Sides of the Same Coin?
12:20 - 16:18 Discovering the Mecca of Retail - from India to Middle East
16:18 - 18:21 The Glocal nature of the Local Market: Learning for small businesses
18:21 - 22:38 Effective Customer Interaction in the Age of Intelligence
22:38 - 24:45 Is Metaverse the new Retail Enabler?
24:45 - 30:44 5 Upcoming Trends in Retail


Dharmendra Mehta

Business Head - E-Commerce, Lals Group

Dharmendra Mehta is the Business Head, E-Commerce business at Lal’s Group. He has over 25 years of experience in building and scaling retail, e-commerce and omni-channel businesses across the Middle East and Asia. At Lal’s Group, he is responsible for building digital journeys for the group’s portfolio of own and franchise brands across the region. Prior to joining Lal’s Group, Dharmendra was CEO, GCC for where he oversaw the company’s internationalization charter across verticals of fitness, nutrition, mental wellbeing and primary health care. In previous stints, he has worked with India’s largest e-commerce company Flipkart as Director of Fashion, Chief of Staff and Director of Logistics and at Future Lifestyle Retail as Head of Store Operations and Head of Category for large format fashion stores Central and Brand Factory.


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] Jitendranath Patri: Hi everybody. This is Jiten from Xeno and you are listening to Retail Reimagined, the podcast where we'll talk to CEOs, CMOs, CTOs from the retail industry and uncover the future of retail. So tune into the podcast and learn what's happening in the retail industry.

[00:00:16] Jiten: Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Retail Reimagined, where I speak to CXOs from the retail industry and help them share their experiences, insights, and possibly even reveal some business secrets.

[00:00:28] Today I'm excited to introduce my next guest who currently resides in Dubai. He has rich background in the retail sector, having spent his early years in India before relocating. Please join me in welcoming Dharmendra Mehta, the head of e-commerce at Lals Group. Dharam, it's a pleasure to have you on the show, and I appreciate you taking the time to join us.

[00:00:49] Dharmen: Hi Jiten. Firstly, congratulations on the high impact work you're doing in building a voice for the retail as an industry. Many, many congratulations. I've been following your work and thank you very much for having me today. I look forward to learning with you in this conversation today, as always.

[00:01:04] Jiten: Always a pleasure, Dharam. So let me start off uh, just walk us through your journey, right.

[00:01:10] Dharmen: So I think as an introduction, my name is Dharmendra Mehta, but most of my friends, family, and even my professional network know me as Dharam. So I've been in the business for about 25 years. Started my journey with a fashion brand called Raymond in India.

[00:01:24] Got was for the first decade of my career, kind of managed international business for them. So textile and garment sales in various markets across the world. 60 countries over, over 10 years across Europe the Middle East, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand, China and, all of those. Then moved into retail for the next decade was with Future Group, where that's where we met, Jiten.

[00:01:47] Worked at Central and Brand Factory first as GM for Central in Gurgaon, and then as head of categories for brand factory. And the last 10 years I've been in the e-commerce space. Largely with Flipkart. I joined them as part of the fashion business, when fashion was launching. Then grew within the organization to head marketplace to be chief of staff and then to managing a part of the logistics business.

[00:02:10] Then last five years I've been in the UAE I came here as CEO of a mother baby website marketplace called MumzWorld. Then moved to join CureFit in its internationalisation charter where we were setting up the fitness and food business in the UAE. Post covid I've moved to Lal's Group, which is all, which is one of the oldest retail groups in the region.

[00:02:31] Basically a mixture of own brands, home homegrown brands like Homes R Us which is a large format home retailer and Carter's, and Mom's store. And we also have a few brands where we are franchises of international brands like US Polo Association, Carter's, Oshkosh, et cetera. My role here is really to build digital journeys for the group, which is some brands need to sell on their own market, on their own websites and mobile applications, while some brands sell on third party marketplaces, and also stitching together the omnichannel journey.

[00:03:01] So basically in-store experiences which are digitally led, and and how do we kind of drive a seamless consumer experience between online and offline experiences for, for our brands. So that's really what I do. 

[00:03:15] Jiten: Wow. That, that's some experience. You've literally, I think, navigated the entire retail ecosystem.

[00:03:23] Dharmen: I, I've been kind of lucky there. So I think the whole thing, probably the credit goes to the India story? How it kind of started in the mid nineties, which is when I was graduating out of college and then this entire liberalization and the expansion of retail and there on e-commerce, right? So I think I've been lucky to be at the right place at the right time and, and found the right mentors, , people who really gave opportunities, took us together. The learning curve has been really steep and I'm hoping the contribution curve also remains steep, as, as things go forward. 

[00:03:54] Jiten: Absolutely. 

[00:03:55] And yeah, like you said, I think you've literally seen retail grow in India, right. And so much you also had the option to spend time in a hot seat , heading a large format store.

[00:04:07] Dharmen: Oh, yes. I think that, that, that. I, I think that was, that was one one of the most, it was a pivoting point of my career, probably joining Future Group and then managing Central in Gurgaon was, was like you said, it was a hot seat, but the learning was immense. I think few things that I understood from bottoms up was, the entire India story of how innovative people are. That entire culture of making things work and how things get done end to end, I think is what was my entire exposure there, right? So one part of it is the branded experience of working on multi-brand, multi-category retail. But the other part of it was really the, the change that India was going through. People coming from villages and smaller towns into cities wanting to work in malls and how their lives were changing. . So that was really the big impact. And later on in my career, I used that for one of the CSR initiatives we did. But that was the change, the turning point of my career. . And understanding how retail works.

[00:05:07] It, it is the first time that I actually understood that retail is both science and an art, right? And, and it's a, it's a fine balance between the two. And how do you keep continuously using both these aspects and continuously keep improving your store, your offering? And how do you remain relevant to consumers?

[00:05:24] How do you keep up updating, upgrading? I think that that's how the entire end-to-end journey of the business what it means, the entire supply chain ecosystem, how does warehousing work for retail, especially for a large format store? , we, you had to set up all of these things on your own to, to kind of, make sure that you were always well stocked. You were always, you had the right product available at all times, and , how how your teams worked to make sure that , you delivered on, on the Promise day in, day out. I think it was a great learning experience and it, it really was, , what what brought about a complete change in my entire thinking and perspective I think a great maturing experience. I probably would've contributed in two years more than I would've done in the 10 years before that in my life. 

[00:06:07] Jiten: Yeah, I think you rightly said. It's a science and an art. Yeah. The science obviously would be the learning that would've come to help you do all the things that you just mentioned, and the art would be how you do it.

[00:06:19] Dharmen: Oh yes, absolutely. And I think great learnings there, right? So Jiten, you yourself are one of our mentors. We kind of learned from you on, on a lot of things. I think we were also fortunate to have worked with, industry stalwarts like Mr. Kishore Biyani, Mr. Vishnu Prasad. The amount of learning, we got in interactions from them, about understanding, how things move, and those classic one liners that we had in those days, which were actually strategy statements in themselves, like retail is detail, jo dikhta hai vo bikta hai, all, all those kind of one liners that came out from these people were actually strategy statements. And when you take those and put them on a PPT and you actually dig down, 10,000 feet on what what all is being said, I think it makes so much sense.

[00:07:01] And, and that's how businesses were built. And that's, that's really how how things, and for personally for me, that was, that was a great growing phase. 

[00:07:07] Jiten: Yeah, I know. Absolutely. I, I still remember those. Yeah. I think it was, those were constant statement that they kept, I think kept getting repeated day in, day out, ?

[00:07:18] Dharmen: Oh, yes. Oh yes, absolutely. 

[00:07:20] Jiten: And then what doesn't get reviewed does. . 

[00:07:23] Dharmen: Oh, yes. Perform whatever. Yeah. It doesn't perform right. So, yeah. And you remember those Monday morning meetings, right? All absolutely. All Monday morning reviews. Absolutely. But that brought in so much discipline and it instilled so much confidence also on the other side, right?

[00:07:36] When you were continuously planning, reviewing, planning, reviewing. I think it, it really made a lot of sense outta the scale of business that was being delivered, right, so. 

[00:07:45] Jiten: Yeah, and I think the, the need to go deep. The need to go and possibly even you don't observe or even talk to customers on the floor.

[00:07:56] Dharmen: Oh, yes. 

[00:07:57] Jiten: , give us that. 

[00:07:57] Dharmen: Oh, yes. I think yeah, I think there, the entire thing from a customer centricity perspective, I think I've not seen, more customer-centric organization than future group and central and brand factory in particular. I think the amount of emphasis given to stitching the entire customer journey, even in those days probably 15 years ago , the entire emphasis and you were leading that project, right?

[00:08:17] The, the payback loyalty program and, and how important it was for us to get that data around customers stitch that, , put it together and figure out who are the consumers are shopping at Big Bazaar versus who the customer consumers are shopping at Brand Factory Central. And it was also breaking some of those, some of those ideas, which was stuck in our mind.

[00:08:36] . It was kind of path breaking as well, where we actually saw data and realised, no the cons.. Consumers behaving very differently from the way we perceive it. And we are probably not the customers ourselves and the customers. Maybe somebody who's older or somebody who's younger, maybe male, female, and so many of those things came together.

[00:08:52] , true. So true. I think from a con, from a consumer understanding perspective, it was the best school and and the amount of work that was put in was, was tremendous. 

[00:09:01] Jiten: Absolutely. I couldn't agree with you more. I think you just kind of put it, I think summarize it pretty well. Yeah. So from the sh , you were part of large format retailing, ?

[00:09:09] And suddenly you were transported into, or you transported yourself into an a really upcoming large e-commerce marketplace. That must have come as a culture shock for you. 

[00:09:22] Dharmen: Yeah, I think not so much at the culture shock, but more from, , I was also the only non-engineer in an engineering organization, so it was, it was a double culture shock.

[00:09:32] But, but I think, and for the first six months I was just told repeatedly, , this is not retail, this is e-commerce. You have to unlearn first. So, but but I think jokes apart, it was it, it was while the fundamentals were the same and you were doing basically the same task of , creating demand for the products that you had created supply for, but the, but it was all about exponentially scaling where you were and how you were to grow.

[00:09:59] And my learning phase there was how to use technology to build businesses and scale them, to build your so-called moats in, in your business. ? So how can you become the largest, biggest, fastest, growing business in the industry. And how can you create differentiation for yourself from others in a way where, where, , consumers were not democratized.

[00:10:22] Yeah. So they had, they had access to the same fashion, the same electronics, the same products across platforms. And you had to be really the differentiator to, , in terms of service, in terms of offering, in terms of price. So that consumers only stuck with you. ? So that entire concept came from e-commerce. I really learned a lot in those days at Flipkart. And I think building the fashion business and then building the marketplace and scaling it was, it gave me a complete 360 degree view of, , how businesses were. So, like when we were back in the retail days, for example, if we were looking at footwear, the category it, and you said, , you mentioned you had to deeply understand every industry to make an impact in, in the retail stores, but with e-commerce it gave us a step further where we could actually go into those supply markets of, , Agra, Jaipur and Jalandhar , actually find out where are these people who are these small sellers who are making these goods, but how do you bring them onto a platform? These are good quality products available at a decent price. How do you connect them with the right consumer across the country?

[00:11:27] And then, how you build that entire network. I think that. Change and impact we were able to bring through our previous understandings of the retail business. So in a way that that really helped , accelerate growth for the organization as well and definitely for me personally.

[00:11:45] Jiten: And the technology obviously helped you democratize the entire thing. And 

[00:11:51] Dharmen: Yeah. 

[00:11:51] Jiten: , give this.

[00:11:52] Dharmen: Yes. I think the most, yeah, I think the, the most, the most impactful thing that I've learned from techno, from this entire e-commerce business was the, the importance of the right technology. If you have the right tools, they bring they bring about so much change in business, the way we look at things.

[00:12:09] And I think that's where, that's how I started adopting all these tools on, , how we can make lives easier. Customers for our own teams, for our partners. And the more you kind of automate systems processes, the more they're scalable and the more they're dependable. So, so from there 

[00:12:30] Jiten: you kind of, you jumped into the Mecca retail.

[00:12:34] Yeah. If I, I think I can take the liberty of running Dubai. That ? The Mecca. Oh 

[00:12:39] Dharmen: yes. Oh yes, it is, it is. I, how did you 

[00:12:41] Jiten: adapt? Must have been a complete different. This, this are not just shock, but culture change of 

[00:12:47] Dharmen: culture completely. Yes. I think so I had some exposure to them Middle East as a market.

[00:12:53] In my Raymond days I managed retail operations in the region for about 25 stores. We set up Color Plus was a brand that was just acquired and I had set up locations for the brand year as well. But but that was probably 20 years ago. And then when I decided to move into, , it was more from an e-commerce perspective, but then with my journey with , we've had to set up fitness centers and , it was also retail in a sense.

[00:13:19] And that really gave me an end-to-end exposure of what this market really is all about. And the good thing about the fitness business was it is, , it is based on micromarket. So every gym really operates in a five to 10 kilometer radius. And you need to understand how each of those micro markets is different from the other.

[00:13:38] Who are the kind of people who populated? Fortunately for us, Dubai is a multinational environment, really, where, , more than 190 countries, people from more than 190 countries live here. They interact, they, they are consumers of each and every product at a different level. So that learning, , of understanding how people transact with your brand at different levels, , and you have super luxury brands.

[00:14:00] In one, in one corner, and then you have another corner, which is, , a very affordable products brands for less kind of concepts, also available. And, , you have an outlet mall as well. So the entire journey of understanding a consumer and their, , the plethora of offerings that you can actually bring in if you are able to segment your consumers well and understand who's your primary customer, how you are going to grow.

[00:14:26] How you would acquire a consumer and grow them through the funnel with you. , I think that's, that's really the opportunity really lies in, in Dubai and that's the most exciting part of my current focus in at large, where we are actually help build we have multiple brands and we want to acquire them at a certain point.

[00:14:44] We want to acquire consumers at a certain point, but then the funnel of them growing through the journey and moving from one brand to the other people who were buy. Discounted products during end of season sales, start buying full price products at it during new season launches. And then how do they move through their journey, right?

[00:15:01] So these are things we want to stitch together. Really important for us to kind of, get this right. And, and Dubai is the place where you can do all of these, ? So the Middle East at large is a multinational, multicultural space, but Dubai per per se, really is par excellence, ? I mean, the.

[00:15:21] Diversity, but unified culture at, at one level really makes this place , extremely exciting for retail. Yeah, 

[00:15:31] Jiten: absolutely. I think you kind of rightly pointed out, the amount of segmentation and I'm sure just the kind of you describing it must be, and the scale of it must be pretty quite, quite immense.

[00:15:41] Dharmen: Oh, yes, it is. I think it, it's a very large and diverse market as well. I mean, in that sense it's, it's very much like India, that you have a very, very diverse set of consumers. You have, the adoption of technology happening at the same time, you have, you have demand for affordable luxury.

[00:15:57] That's, that's always there. And and there's a lot of importance given to partnerships. I think, and that's one common thread that I find with my experience in retail where there's a lot of focus and emphasis given on partnerships and growing the ecosystem and working together and how can we do things for each other and how do we kind of tide low phases to kind of grow together when, when the tide is right. So great, great place and great learnings. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:16:23] Jiten: So, in know the transformation that you're seeing in this entire thing, what's your, what's your, what's the perspective that you have on, on this, on the, especially in the retail ecosystem. 

[00:16:33] Dharmen: I think, I think lots happening, so at, at one end of course there are the basics adoption of technology and understanding of data and it's becoming more of behavioral science than an art in that sense, with all the data going in.

[00:16:47] And even at the backend, a lot of things have moved to automation. So you are buying merchandising tools, your OTPs are getting created automatically. And a lot of those that work happening, but two or three themes that are like really, really important is local and glocal. So this, this entire focus on one, you need to have a local selection, but at the same time, the world is bit shrinking so much that it's literally becoming a global economy.

[00:17:14] So you are able to get products from the world over into you. We have grocery brands here who, who bring in fresh grocery every day from the world over, and it's made available to consumers in 60 minutes from the store, the warehouse, right. So that entire supply chain, that entire global supply chain is really mind boggling.

[00:17:33] I think that's where there is, there are a lot of things happening. I think one very large theme is sustainability. Where it used to be it, sustainability used to be a theme until probably two, three years ago. But now post covid the way brands are approaching it, sustainability really has become a core theme.

[00:17:49] And even from a consumer standpoint, consumers have become so much more educated. They are so much more informed, and they make these value informed decisions of what they want, where they want it from. And therefore, sustainability really becomes a very, very key, crucial part of the entire journey for consumers.

[00:18:07] So, and these customers who understand what they're buying. So ethically sourced products made with sustainable pro raw materials. I think these consumers really are the differentiated people. And from a retail perspective, you really want to target and be working with these consumers.

[00:18:22] Yeah, so I think that goes as key trends 

[00:18:24] Jiten: Yeah sorry, that itself must have been a challenge. You, you, you are working, you are kind of dealing with a customer who's so evolved and trying to engage with him even more intelligently is, becomes a, a challenge by itself. 

[00:18:39] Dharmen: Completely. And I think that's where, as, as a group, we are in this massive transformation phase.

[00:18:45] Where we are moving to our data first and digital second organization. So you understand who are these consumers? So on one side you build a single view of inventory so that where which product is and you're able to offer it to a consumer in-store, online, however you want it. And on the other side, you work on a single view of consumer.

[00:19:04] So who's, who is Jiten? How many times has he shop with which of our brands have a unique identifier for Jiten and either award him or reward him for certain behavior of repeatedly shopping with us. And at the same time, stitch that journey for Jiten in a way that he finds it a pleasurable experience to shop with us every time and seamlessly, whether it is online, offline, across brands.

[00:19:25] So, I think that's where the focus is really and with the way internet is evolving with third party cookies going away, first party data becoming , more and more important. I think that's where it's really crucial for us as a business and, and at large for the industry to really figure out what, what are those touchpoints where you gather data from a consumer, how do you intelligently use them? How do you use customer data platforms to put all that information together? And then how do you use tools to kind of keep engaging with consumers intelligently. At the same time, it is not seen as invasive.

[00:20:00] So you, you also need to respect their privacy with GDPR and all that happening. But at the same time, how do you kind of come up with very niche solutions so that this hyper-personalization, it works. And I think that's one big theme that that is going to come up in the next two, three years. But how do we segment consumers in a way that we are able to target offers specifically for Jiten and, wish him on his birthday is becoming like a regular thing, but how do I make sure that in his journey through his year, how do I kind of keep rewarding him for certain behavior?

[00:20:33] And and, and that at the end of the day, saves costs at an overall macro level. So true. How do, how do you stitch the entire business together? 

[00:20:43] Jiten: True. So, absolutely giving, giving the customer true omnichannel experience, so to say. 

[00:20:50] Dharmen: Yes. And I think more so in the Middle East, omnichannel is going to be a large player, at least for the next decade or so, because on one side you have metaverse playing out.

[00:20:58] Now you, you're talking about everyone having their stores on, on the metaverse and people already trying to live 48 hours and 72 hours in the metaverse. And things like those, that's one extreme. But on the other side of it retail is a part of culture here. It is part of going out, spending time with friends, family.

[00:21:15] So while it's moving towards entertainment, while I'm also becoming more entertainment oriented, but at the same time consumers who are these well informed consumers who know what they want, who want to go to those specific places, which give them that great experience and, that who know them from a personalized perspective.

[00:21:32] And every time they walk into that store, they get that experience. They're able to earn and burn their points. They're able to, get something more out of it for themselves. And that really pampers them. And how do you kind of, them coming back to you. And that's really where the focus is for most businesses here.

[00:21:48] Everyone's talking omnichannel, but there are a few brands really taken the right steps on this. And the advantage for the brands who are following is they would know which technologies are working, how are they working, what really works for them. And then if you're able to kind of get into that groove, then then growth really is, is really quick.

[00:22:07] Jiten: So are these some of the components that you are working on right now or the focus is on some of these that you just mentioned? 

[00:22:13] Dharmen: Yes, I think so. Most, most of them are, are working here. So while my focus is primarily on the digital part of the business, it's 

[00:22:19] Jiten: Okay. 

[00:22:20] Dharmen: more do with how how can we make our customer's life simpler on, on our mobile apps and on our website and how do you give them better search results. How do you give them single check , single click checkouts? How do you give them features like buy now, pay later? How do you give them, more access to features like click and collect, for example, which is a omnichannel feature. 

[00:22:41] Jiten: Mm-hmm.

[00:22:41] Dharmen: But today 20% of our orders are click and collect orders.

[00:22:44] So it's the convenience that you give to a consumer. So how do you give sorted delivery to consumers so you are able to choose when you want your furniture delivered. So things like those, so the, the easier you make it for a consumer too, because research starts online and then consumers want to go to the store and figure out whether, when they want the touch and feel in, in to kind of come and play.

[00:23:04] They want to find out where your store is. They go to the, they go to the store located, they go to the stores, they find out the product, they experience the product in the store, and then they choose to buy their online or in store. That's really the journey we build for, for consumers. But on the other side of it is this entire larger, thought of how to stitch data together, how to build these seamless journeys for consumers between online and offline.

[00:23:30] Yeah. How do you kind of enable every consumer to transact seamlessly with at every touchpoint and either on reward points or, have their personalized journey. I think that's where also the focus is for me personally.

[00:23:42] Jiten: Super. Sounds like a dream. And it comes to my next question.

[00:23:45] And you mentioned Metaverse. I wanna know, are you planning to use or are you thinking of using metaverse as a enabler in your in the, in the retail journey for customers and for yourself? 

[00:23:56] Dharmen: Yeah, I think the way I see it, the metaverse is it's a stage in life for the brand of about what you've achieved. So from an aspirational perspective where have you reached for, to add value to a consumer in, in their, in their avatar life? So there are certain brands that have already reached that stage where they're able to command what consumers should expect from them in the, in the Metaverse versus there are certain brands who not reached that maturity stage yet.

[00:24:26] So I think some of our brands are probably not there yet and maybe Metaverse is probably a couple of years away for us. But there, there could be a one or two brands who are already there and who can have an instant gratification in Metaverse as well. And maybe some of those could probably go sooner. But at least not in the next few quarters, but definitely I think the way the world is in the next year or so, you would see some, some of these brands over there. 

[00:24:51] Jiten: So what do you see Dharam, if I have to ask you to put on the Nostradamus hat, so what do, what should leaders like yourself and what can you tell leaders like yourself?

[00:25:02] What, what should they look forward to in the next few years, especially Retail. Some kind of trends that you are seeing coming, which you need you think need highlighted, you need to be highlighted.

[00:25:12] Dharmen: I think four or five key themes that are very, very crucial and they will play out over the next three to five years.

[00:25:18] And, and some of these themes are like water, like, people may try to stop them, but they'll find their way around and, and they'll break the dam that they need to break to flow. So this hyper personalization, I think, it's, it's just going to be, so, so much of data that's going to come through to the systems, how you are able to stitch that we keep talking about it, all the time saying, how can we stitch a plan together?

[00:25:46] I use all my data to make sure that I only need to reach out to X number of consumers, but I make their life so much more better. And in that entire in that entire focus creating that segmentation, understanding your customer, understanding what their needs are, understanding how you're adding value to every step in their life, I think is really crucial.

[00:26:06] Some of the brands we work with are baby brands, so Carter's, Oshkosh, for example. And then we have our, our concept called Mom Store where it's really crucial for the consumer sticks with you for the next, from the time the mother decides to have a baby till the time the child is five, six years old. That's the life cycle of a customer available to you.

[00:26:25] However, the, the child outgrows the product every two weeks, three weeks. So how do you consistently keep making yourself relevant. And available to this consumer, and how do you engage with them. So awards, reward systems, how do you work around them? So that, that really is crucial.

[00:26:42] I think all of this is very important because there's always that question hanging on your, on your shoulders about discounts. So how do you overcome discounts? So between selection, service, and price, how do you kind of win the selection and service game so that price is never a consideration.

[00:26:58] So yeah I think that's where Hyperpersonalization really helps help big time. I think the other, the big focus area is going to be collapsible supply chains. So based on the demand that you have, you are able to either increase or decrease your supply chain capacities and how do you kind of use data to predictably deliver on that front?

[00:27:20] Because these are costs and between fixed costs and variable costs, hardly kind of keep, keep playing this game to, looking at data saying what are real life events happening real time and how do you kind of react to those and make sure that, you're always in control of both your demand and supply situations.

[00:27:37] I think that, that's, that's going to be one. And then from a pure retail perspective, I think it's going to be multimedia storefronts. So it's the days of just going to retail store the way it look like are gone. I think today every store you go to has access to kiosks where you can place orders for extended catalogs.

[00:27:57] And this is going to get, this is going to evolve so much more. With Metaverse coming in, with all of that happening, you'll be able to, kind of have these multimedia store experiences coming and, and that's, that's going to be a game changer. Then I think there's blockchain, of course, which is impacting the, the entire payments and ownership of businesses is working on. There's already a lot of companies that have started accepting cryptocurrencies as payments, et cetera. So that is going to become one big theme as well. So how you utilize blockchain both on the money side of things and on the supply chain side of things. I think it's going to be crucial and, and a lot will happen there as a theme.

[00:28:34] And yeah, and I think overall you know, while sustainable is probably a, is probably the word, but circular retail is more like it. Where end to end you manage the product lifecycle for the consumer. And if you're able to take back, use products and then, recycle them and and then probably bring it back.

[00:28:54] Jiten: The customer buy more from you. 

[00:28:55] Dharmen: Exactly. So I think circular retail, I think is going to be one brilliant, one big one big one too. I think those are, those are key, key themes that are really exciting and probably, I'm looking forward to being part of this. 

[00:29:05] Jiten: Absolutely. I think, I think retail is going through a pretty exciting transformation and hopefully the next couple, few years will, will, I think we'll see it unfold.

[00:29:13] Dharmen: Yeah. Yes, I completely agree with you Jiten. 

[00:29:16] Jiten: And Dharam thanks so much. I think it's been an absolute pleasure speaking to you and, and then we hear getting those insights from you. I think a wow moment right, just getting those 

[00:29:24] Dharmen: thank you

[00:29:24] Jiten: nuggets. And just to quickly summarize, I think some of the things that you mentioned. I think retail is it's all in the detail and so stick to basics. While you still while you're using the right kind of technology to both learn and scale. How do you differentiate? So the customer's team coming back to. Integrating of local and glocal to kind of make it, make the offering far more what should I say, magnanimous to the customer? Yeah. Using data to better engage the customer more smartly and driving customer centricity. Yeah. And of course, like you said, hyper personalisation and technologies like metaverse could possibly change the way, retailing is done with multi-store fronts.

[00:30:05] Dharmen: Oh, yes. You completely summed it up very well Jiten. 

[00:30:08] Jiten: Yeah. So thanks, Dharam. Thanks. It's an absolute pleasure speaking to you and reconnecting after a while. Yeah. 

[00:30:13] Dharmen: Thank you, Jiten talking to you today. Brought back a lot of memories and I look forward to constantly keep talking to you.

[00:30:18] Jiten: Absolutely. I think we should, we should, I think do that more often. 

[00:30:21] Dharmen: Look forward to it. Jiten, thank you so much for having me today. Thanks. 

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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