Retail Technology Conclave ONLINE 2021, Embracing Digital & Technology For Future Ready Retail Businesses

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National, September 19, 2021: The Retailers Association of India (RAI) organised the 16th edition of the Retail Technology Conclave, the country’s largest meeting point for Retail CEOs & CIOs, technology experts and service providers on 15, 16 & 17, September 2021 in its virtual avatar— ReTechCon ONLINE 2021.

Technology is central to revival and growth in the current situation. This conclave is designed to help retailers understand the rapid changes in technology and adapt to them for the benefit of their businesses as well as consumers.

Speaking about the importance of technology in conducting retail businesses, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), expressed, “The pandemic has forced the industry to refocus and learn new methods of doing retail business. The backend of retail businesses has also gone through transformational change in the way it has been operating through the years. Partnership and supply relationships that had been face-to-face had to adapt technology too. Implementation of technology has become crucial in driving logistics for retailers. It has been observed that companies with tech-enabled logistics capabilities have seen better valuation even at zero stock. Various startups became unicorns, and have encouraged retailers and service providers to relook at the way in which they do their businesses. ReTechCon 2021, is therefore, aimed at bringing all retailers and service providers together, probing them to look at new methods and share new insights and new knowledge of conducting retail businesses.”

Commenting on the importance of digital transformation, RAI Chairman Bijou Kurien said, “Digital is going to be the disruptor of business models more than ever now. During the pandemic induced lockdowns, digital and technology once again got the opportunity to create differentiation and thereby increase the gap between those who are digitally active and those who are not. It is therefore imperative to understand technology and make businesses future-ready.”

A Special Address on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) was delivered by Shri Anil Agarwal, Additional Secretary, DPIIT, who had graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. In his address he said, “India is a nation of shopkeepers. Estimates vary about how many traders are present in the country but there are no two ways about the fact that they all need to be given the advantages of the digital revolution that is sweeping the country. ONDC needs to be simple and clear. It also needs to be inclusive in terms of language adaptability. That is the vision of ONDC. This is transformational. This is a concept from India for the entire world. Like UPI that has taken the world by storm, ONDC has the potential to transform the way organisations across the world conduct business.”

A key highlight of the event was a special session on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) that seeks to democratize the entire digital commerce ecosystem in India. Part of the panel were Thampy Koshy, Senior Advisor, ONDC and distinguished members of the ONDC team including Sujith Nair CEO & Co-Founder, Beckn Foundation Supriyo Ghosh, Technology Advisor, ONDC; Vibhor Jain, Business Advisor, ONDC.

From among the 90+ speakers of ReTechCon ONLINE 2021, speakers included retail leaders such as Ashwin Khasgiwala, Director, Reliance Brands Ltd. and Chief Operations Controller, Reliance Retail Ltd.; Ambareesh Murthy, Founder, Pepperfry; Madhukar Gangadi, Founder and CEO, MedPlus Health Services; Martin Bailie, MD & CEO, Trent Hypermarket (Star Bazaar); Shibu Philips, Business Head, Lulu; among others.

Speaking about the performance of the home category during the pandemic, Ambareesh Murthy, Founder Pepperfry, said ““During the lockdowns, we all spent more time at home than we had ever before, consequently, consciousness towards all things home went up many fold and brought home categories into the limelight. Structurally speaking, we found large brands becoming larger, and niche D2C brands expanded their franchise in the home and living categories.”

Speaking about a key change in people’s approach to getting medical advice, Madhukar Gangadi, Founder and CEO, MedPlus Health Services said, “The one big change was that telemedicine took off which we think is going to stay. People have become habituated to it. The first call in off-hours may now be to the telemedicine centre rather than a frantic one to a relative who happens to be a doctor. This will by no means replace any part of the medical service, instead it will be one additional service.”

Other CXOs speaking at ReTechCon ONLINE 2021 included names such as Anil Menon, Head – IT, Lulu Group India; Dr. Anil Chinnabhandar, SVP – Retail Planning & Supply Chain, Landmark Group; Ashish Jain, Head E-commerce, Metro Brands; Deepak Chawla, Associate Director – Digital Tech & Ecommerce, Pizza Hut India; Sreekanth Chetlur, Chief Ecommerce Officer, Shoppers Stop Ltd.; Sushil Agarwal, Chief Information Officer, Manyavar (Vedant Fashions Ltd. ); Santosh S Rawat, Head – Food & Beverage Sector, Retail & CPG Team, Tech Mahindra; Satish Panchapakesan, SVP & Chief Information Officer, Arvind Fashions; Vipin Gupta, CTO, Starbucks India; among many others.

Key discussions touched upon various critical aspects of retail technology such as:

  • Vision for Retail: Reinventing Businesses from the Digital Lens
  • New Models of Customer Engagement
  • Digital Solutions for Business Transformation
  • Digital Transformation: Change Beyond Technology
  • Winning Customer Loyalty with NextGen RetailXperience Technology
  • Tapping the New Omni-Channel Opportunity
  • Technologies That Enable 360-Degree Collaboration – in the Omnichannel World
  • Transparency & Traceability for Responsible Retail Supply Chains
  • Harnessing the potential of E-commerce for growth

The third day of the conclave hosted the ReTech Startups Awards 2021 that recognised the top retail technology startups with the potential to help retailers transform their business.

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