Panorama 2013, the hi-tech annual management meet held at SCMS-Cochin, witnessed the participation of prominent business leaders, entrepreneurs and top executives from various sectors. Held on the 8th and 9th of February this year, Panorama 2013 discussed the nuances of ‘The Retailing Surge – Redefining Indian Markets’.
The Speakers were carefully drawn from almost the entire spectrum of Public and Private enterprise. Day 1 of Panorama 2013 saw speakers as diverse as Mr. Biju Dominic (Consultant, Finalmile Consulting), Mr.Rulin Thomas (GM, Sales and Marketing, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces) and Mr. Harikrishna R. Nair (Chairman, The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India). Day 2 witnessed sessions by representatives of industries in which retailing plays a crucial role. Some of the speakers on this day were Mr. D. Sampath (General Manager & National Head, Retail Business, Federal Bank Limited), Mr. Shibu Philips (Business Head, Lulu shopping mall) and Mr. Alexy Ninan (GM – Business Excellence, ITC India Ltd.).
“With time, banks have become financial supermarkets,” observed Mr. Sampath (General Manager & National Head, Retail Business, Federal Bank Limited), while describing how changes in consumer patterns have forced banks to use innovative technology for retailing. “Online trading of stocks, wealth management security trading, etc., are all features of these supermarkets. Increasing consumerism has led to complete change – and immense growth – in retail banking. Banks that have failed to adopt new strategies in providing services are down and out.”
In his turn, Mr. Shibu Philips, the Business Head of one of Asia’s largest shopping Malls, spoke in great detail about how the mall culture has changed traditional retailing sectors, and in so doing has had to undergo major transformations. Right from the details of how a mall operates, to the problems the mall management faces – from employee retention to government pressures – Mr. Shibu left out nothing. Mr. Shibu’s speech was a study of the Indian consumer today, and how a master planner organises his business around this new-age consumer.
The concluding session of Panorama 2013 was an interaction with the charismatic young General Manager – Business Excellence at ITC, Mr.Alexy Ninan. Mr. Ninan, with the practised suavity of an impressive boardroom young gun, bombarded the budding managers of SCMS-Cochin with a series of top-notch ad campaigns from the stables of McDonalds, Chanel, Nike and Apple. Without going into long-drawn explanations, Mr. Ninan quickly turned his session into a two-way dialogue with the audience at SCMS-Cochin.
“What is the similarity in all these brands?” he asked them, ultimately drawing out the answer – the element of trust that their customers have in them.
“Brands are built to deliver customer value. At the end of the day, the customer needs a quarter- inch hole, and not the quarter-inch drill. As marketers, we should remember to provide solutions to our customers. Brands must have this quality and deliver it with honest consistency.”
Mr. Ninan enriched his interaction with cases ranging from Novelty to a Bose showroom, to ITC product launch strategies. He specifically dwelt on ITC’s strategy for the launch of Fiama Di Wills, 10 years ago; the idea was to provide a crystal clear solution for volume control and hair fall to its customers.
Panorama 2013 was a testament to the reason why SCMS-Cochin has such a deep connect with youth. The entire management of SCMS is geared to look at the industries that are likely to see maximum growth in the near future. With the FDI in Single Brand Retail opening up, a lot of new players will shortly be entering the Indian space. Clearly, the management of SCMS-Cochin sees this as an ‘Opportunity Sector’ and is therefore going the extra mile to expose its management students to Retail.