Stalwarts from the Retail industry provide valuable perspective at Panorama 2 to the passing out batch of SCMS-Cochin before they join the corporate world
While a sequel to Panorama 2013 – barely one month after the successful conclusion of the 2-day annual convention on Retail Marketing – may surprise many, those who understand SCMS-Cochin would realise the purpose. With a series of policy decisions and ensuing readjustment in the Retail Sector, SCMS-Cochin organised Panorama 2013 – Part 2, to ensure that when its passing out students step outside its walls, they are fully aware of the opportunities in what is being seen as the sector that will create the next million jobs.
Held on the 7th of March 2013, Panorama 2013- Part 2, was presided over by Professor K.J. Paulose, Dean of Academics, SCMS-Cochin. The focused session at SCMS-Cochin allowed the budding managers to interact with two well-known Retail strategists, in the form of Mr Venu Nair, MD, Marks & Spencer – the hip and happening apparel brand, part of Reliance India Ltd – and Mr. Naveen Philip, MD of Kuttukaran Popular Vehicle Services Ltd, one of the leading automobile retailers in Kerala.
After a brief introduction of the M&S brand’s entry into the Indian apparel industry with a 51 – 49 % partnership with Reliance India Ltd, Mr Venu Nair elaborated on the numerous hurdles faced initially. The purposed was to align the future managers from SCMS-Cochin on the likely problems that international retailing powerhouses would be facing while entering indian markets once FDI in multi-brand retailing is cleared – as well as the solutions of these problems. Mr. Nair reflected on the change in the M&S approach, based on the needs and wants of the Indian customer. He highlighted the use of IT systems in tracking, identifying and analysing customer preferences and stressed the reasons why he foresees a bright future for the company in India’s growing Retail sector.
Mr. Naveen Philip opened his session by breaking the myth of “Popular = Maruti. He elaborated on how many automobile manufacturers use the company’s services for marketing and distribution. He stressed the fact that automobile purchases are still a store-based operation, even though customers have an upper-hand nowadays with the plethora of information available online. Mr. Philip presented facts and figures to back his analysis that even if customer preferences are influenced by online appeals, in-store experience plays motivating and deciding factors.
The ensuing ‘brief’ Q&A session with the two experts, understandably, turned into a barrage of questions from the audience at SCMS-Cochin on the interpretation of various policies on retailing, what it implied for retailers of different products, and how different players in the retail sector were leveraging these changes.
“Both the industry professionals went out of their way to ensure that we had all our doubts and questions were taken care of,” observed Unnikrishnan from the 20th Batch of SCMS-Cochin.“The advantage was that after Panorama-1, we had a break of nearly a month to read, discuss within ourselves and generally think things through. That’s why the hour and a half session on changing trends in the field of Retailing, was far more lively and interactive. It was indeed a fitting sequel and grand closing to Panorama 2013.”
The gesture of organising a Part 2 to Panorama 2013 underscored the reason why SCMS-Cochin has such a deep connect with the youth. 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. Irrespective of the industry that students are being placed in, the think-tank of SCMS-Cochin clearly feels that Retail sector will see the maximum growth in the near future, with numerous players all set to enter the Indian space.