Best Days to Shop in 2019

From Cyber Monday to Black Friday, shoppers all around the world have a plethora of “Big Discount Days” to choose from. Today we take a look at when the best day of the year is to go all out, without breaking the bank.

What’s on the list

  • Amazon Prime Day
  • Cyber Monday
  •  Black Friday
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year’s Eve 
  • Singles Day

However, it is Singles Day which is regarded as the largest shopping day in the world. Also known as Guanggun Jie, it was started in China and is popular among young Chinese people. 

Celebrated on the 11th of November, the date was chosen because the number “1” represents a singular person or someone alone. Although not celebrated as an official public holiday, Singles Day has become the single largest offline and online shopping day in the world. 

Alibaba recorded sales of over US $15 Billion in 2018 as per Wikipedia. 

Since its inception, the popularity of Singles Day has spread all across the world and is no longer restricted to China, particularly in South East Asia. In the UK however, Singles Day is celebrated on the 11th of March.  

 

So how does Singles Day compared to the other Big Discount Days of the world?

 A survey found that the average consumer planned to spend 2,361 yuan (£181) during Singles Day in 2018  while on Black Friday the average spend in 2017 was 699 yuan. 

The volume of sales forecasted by retailers on singles day is higher than any other day. Although singles day is primarily celebrated in China, it is gaining significant traction in the west as well. 

Has GST really helped Indian Retail Businesses the way it was supposed to?

 

“One nation, one market, one tax”- was the notion on which GST was formed. GST which came into effect on July 1st, 2017 was the biggest tax reform in Indian history

3 years on, we have to ask ourselves, has GST had a positive impact on the Indian Economy?

What is GST?

Goods and Service Tax is an indirect tax imposed in India on the supply of goods and services. GST subsumes Service Tax Law, Central Excise Law, VAT, entry tax and Octroi. 

The Bad

GST was supposed to impact the unorganized sector. However three years after the launch of GST there is no study to show the impact of GST on the unorganized sector

  • Lack of Central Registration. Earlier service providers could register their business in all the states centrally. However, this is no longer possible as service providers now have to pay CGST. So they have to register separately
  • Taxation of Free Services. Now even if a company is providing its service for free they will be taxed. Under the earlier tax system, if your service was not for consideration then you wouldn’t be taxed

 

The Good

GST has removed the cascading effect on the sale of goods and services. This has reduced the price of goods since GST has removed  tax on tax. GST is also simpler to file as it is just a form online. 

GST increases efficiency in logistics as there is lesser compliance.

Now that multiple taxations is abolished the cost of inputs will go down. Paying VAT and excise duty will no longer be an issue.

Small to Medium scale enterprises whose contribution eluded most have now come under the scanner and their contribution to the economy is accounted for

 

Our Verdict

While GST is far from the perfect type of Indirect tax, it has encouraged the production of goods and services. Hence on a macro level, the tax has done more good for the economy as a whole than bad.

GST also attempts to bring a transparent and administration free tax system that is consumer and business-friendly. This will make the Indian market more stable and empower Indian companies to compete with foreign companies. 

Impact of Blockchain on Supply Chain Management

The age of Digital Technology and it’s security is transforming Supply Chain Management

The scope for the use of Blockchain is ever-expanding but one of the biggest use cases is its application in supply chain management. 

Blockchain is already being used in the financial sector with several financial institutions beginning it’s implementation however the implementation in Supply Chain has not fully been put into action yet,  this is surely going to change in the coming months ahead.

What is BlockChain?

Blockchain is nothing but a distributed ledger, which essentially means the data is spread across the network amongst its peers.

Simply put blockchain is a record of entries, anybody can add to these entries however once an entry is made it cannot be altered. 

Problems in Supply Chain Management

Counterfeiting is a 1.2 trillion dollar industry worldwide. Logistic companies often have to trust that their peers are handling their products honestly. Many times a product that reaches the final destination is a counterfeit of the original product sent out.

Supply Chain Management is an age-old industry and the problem of robbery/ counterfeiting has always existed. But blockchain promises to eliminate this problem

The Application

Reported recently by the JP Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI, the Global manufacturing industry stands at 12 trillion dollars. The Industrial Internet of Things is a growing industry and its global value stands at 4 trillion dollars. As we stand at the doorstep of the 4th Industrial Revolution few would disagree that technology and manufacturing are going to lead the charge going into 2020

Benefits

  • Global Distributed Ledger –This  creates a security opportunity by decentralization of information thus replacing the firewall dependence. NDAs, licensing and technology transfer agreements and much more are improved with the help of smart contracts and the blockchain.
  • Trust Free Smart Contracts: Currently, organizations invest in relationship-based trust networks. However, with the blockchain, you have a network that can self manage contracts. This network is free of broker fees and increases the speed of executing contracts
  • Ledger of Things- This effectively replaces the need for a Cloud Enterprise Management systems as it allows true transparency in the supply chain.

The Supply Chain is  very complex and highly inefficient but Blockchain goes a long way towards solving this

As Peter Drucker, author of Next Generation Manufacturing  once said “The way to predict the future is to create it” 

 

5 ways AI will Change Retail

AI’s customer applications are expected to grow dramatically in the coming years. AI is accomplished by studying how the human brain learns, decides and works while trying to solve a problem. In the coming years, people will partner with AI to optimize worker and business performance.

In this article, we will showcase the potential AI has in retail and how it will mold the future of the Industry. AI will help Retailers in 6 major ways. 

1) Help Understand Customer Sentiment

 Multiple fashion-based start-ups have started using AI to fetch data from their client’s Pinterest account to understand their client’s choices. AI enables sellers to not only understand their client’s tastes but also to predict it thus positioning them in a far stronger place in the market than their predecessors.

2) Help Customers find products easily

AI enables market makers to advertise only relevant products to a certain consumer, cased on his or her tastes. This is called target marketing and AI enables more accurate micro marketing.

Jewelry Brands, Home Furnishing Companies, Health and Beauty Retail business’ and a lot of other Industry Parallels using the same concept to help understand and predict customer sentiment.

3) Prediction Analysis

AI can help retailers in prediction analysis on what might sell and what might not sell and use combinations of discounts and markdowns to get rid of unsold inventory

4) Voice Ordering

Alexa and Google Home will be able to order items for you. Not only that they can actually charge your credit card, and send it to your preferred address since they have all the information that you have. 

5)  Better Shelf Intelligence

Retail manufacturers pay large amounts of money for prime shelf space to boost their brand visibility.  A slew of Tech starts have started developing metrics for a share-shelf space to help optimize the distribution of prime shelf space

The way Omni-channel systems work is going to evolve and retail shopping will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 1000 years. AI has the potential to transform the retail industry in the 22nd century.

The Evolution of the POS System from Cash Registers to Cloud

“The Incorruptible Cashier” invented in 1879, was considered a landmark invention in the retail industry. Since then the evolution in the POS software has come on leaps and bounds, from the old, bulky cash registers to an elegant cloud-based software that’s compatible with your smartphone. Today we walk you through this 200-year-old transformation.

Back when the first Point of Sales system came out, it served as nothing more than a cash register which could record transactions. 

How it all began

So the story goes that a man named James Witty, a salon owner whilst on aboard a steamboat to Europe got intrigued by a machine which counted the number of times the ship’s propeller went round. 

He realized that the same concept could be used to count the cash at his salon. James and his brother John, a mechanic, made it their goal to design such a device and three prototypes later they had a working model. 

A few years later James sold his company and the patent of the cash register to “NRC” (National Cash Register) a company that still exists till today as NRC Corporation.

Welcoming the Millennium

Following “NRC”s take over, several progressive changes were made to the cash register. As a result in the early 1900’s several businesses started using it. The cash register solved a genuine problem for enterprises and made managing capital along with recording transactions effortless. Business owners would get cheated less because of the cash register and by the middle of the 1900s, every medium to large scale business had a cash register.

Cybernated

By the end of the 20th century, the retail industry saw the rise of electronic registers which were computerized. Along with bar codes and credit card terminals, these innovations kick-started a new era in the “Point of Sales” industry. 

mPos

“The Future of Mobile is the Future of Everything.”  Eventually, most software systems move to the phone and this move is considered the last step in the evolution of a product. 

The original cash register has made this step already. 

Today Point of Sales systems are integrable with a smartphone and this step in the evolution is integral as it preserves hardware costs.

It’s not just the hardware that has evolved over the years. Point of Sales Systems has moved from being simple cash registers to full-fledged retail management solutions. Modern Software Management Systems offer inventory reporting and customer management that save data on an external cloud. 

More than 144 million people will make online purchases in South East Asia in 2019. This amount is projected to reach 50% by 2024.  The retail market is still at its infancy stage and Point of Sales systems are going to have to handle a large volume of transactions as the industry picks up.

 

Retail is all about the value and its perceptions

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Customers are the king and queen in retail and they are valuable to the business. On the flip-side, customers are also seeking value in what is being offered to them. Retail brands across the globe are fiercely pegged against each other in this value game, and the one who offers the best value as perceived the customer will be the clear winner.

Let’s try to understand this better. In this day and age of technology driving the industry towards innovation and disruption, there is no ambiguity anymore in the current and future roadmap for retail businesses to survive and thrive. One thing is clear, the retail brands who standout on their customer experience expectations will taste success. However it is important to understand the customer experience paradigm.

Traditionally, retail was transactional and product focused, but that is no more the case. As the focus of the business pivots on the customer, the customer experience paradigm has undergone a significant shift since the early retail days. This shift has largely been the result of technology enabling customers equipping themselves with more information and decision making power, thus putting them in the driver’s seat who are now calling the shots. Fundamentally, the customer experience is all about the value the customer perceives in two ways – i) their interactions with the retail brands, and ii) the offerings they receive from those brands in terms of products/services. Thus, it all boils down to the value the customer receives from their relationship with the retail business.

For retail brands, the best part is that now they have multiple opportunities to provide perceivable value to their customers. As retail has moved from transaction focused to being more customer centric and other factors have influenced the sector big-time, the shopping journey has evolved. Here is where retail brands can seize their opportunities to establish their value offerings. For example, while the customer is researching, a retail company can provide the necessary information that the customer seeks, even though the customer is not seeking information with the intention of purchase. Another example is where a customer can be offered an additional discount while their product is replaced due to issues in the products they had initially purchased. These are some of the many instances of how retailers can offer value – either qualitative or quantitative. These valued offerings will cement the brand-customer relationships in the long-run and thus prove to be a mutual benefit for both the retail company and the customer.

The Omni-channel Transformation of Retail Businesses at ETP #Futuretail, Malaysia

ETP Group, Asia’s leading Omni-channel Retail Software company hosted senior representatives from Malaysia’s leading retail organizations to discuss future challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing retail landscape. The key discussion, “The Omni-channel Transformation of Retail Businesses in Malaysia”, was led by team ETP, including Mr. Naresh Ahuja, Chairman and CEO, Mr. Raj Jagasia, Executive Director, Mr. Pranay Pujara, Consulting Manager – Projects and Mr. Danny Foong, Business Development Manager.

The discussion was part of the ETP #Futuretail 2019 event held at the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel, recently. Mr. Danny Foong welcomed the ETP #Futuretail guests and Mr. Raj Jagasia shared an overview of ETP’s growing presence in Asia. Mr. Naresh Ahuja then shared insights on the growth of the Malaysian retail industry in the context of Asia Pacific and the transition of traditional retail to modern retail, e-commerce and omni-channel retail.

Mr. Raj Jagasia, Executive Director ETP

Mr. Raj Jagasia, Executive Director, ETP Group initiated the discussions with an introduction to ETP.

Mr. Naresh Ahuja, ETP Group,

Mr. Naresh Ahuja, Chairman & CEO, ETP Group then shared insights on the performance of retail, e-commerce and omni-channel in Southeast Asia.

Pranay Pujara, ETP Group

Mr. Pranay Pujara, Consulting Manager – Products, ETP Group presented a live demonstration of ETP’s Omni-channel Retail Solutions to establish how ETP can help retailers in Malaysia to overcome the challenges in omni-channel retailing.

Following the live demonstration a panel discussion was held with eminent industry experts. The panel shared their thoughts and opinions about the changes in the buying behavior of Malaysian consumers over the last 3 years, the value of the brand in the mind of the modern day consumers and whether the internet has commoditized brands. The panel exchanged their views on the future of malls and stores in the 3 to 5 years. They also discussed about the digital transformation of retail taking place in Asia in the next 2 to 3 years and whether it will leapfrog the US like the Asian mobile technology did. They highlighted the 3 priorities that retailers should focus on to handle the change in consumer behavior.

ETP will continue to drive the omni-channel transformation of retail businesses across Asia-Pacific, India and the Middle-East.

How retailers can leverage O2O effectively!

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The O2O concept is not new, rather it has been a buzzword for a few years now but in the last couple of years this concept has started gaining importance. In simple words O2O means online-to-offline where online channels are used to drive customers to the offline stores. The main aspect here however is to make this experience flow between the virtual and the physical channels seamless and impressive.

Below are three ways how retailers can use their existing resources to leverage O2O effectively.

Brick and mortar stores: By treating stores not just as sales channels but also as distribution centers, retailers can leverage their store network to satisfy customer needs by using store level inventory to deliver orders to customers’ homes as well as for click-and collect orders. With these new fulfillment options enabled by the store, consumers can click, collect and return goods as per their convenience. Modern day customers are demanding a better combination of value, convenience and experience and brands who strike the right balance between delivering great product value and offering superior customer experience and convenience will emerge as customer favorites.

Combination of channels: About a few of years ago retailers went about developing websites and mobile applications to expand their presence and some retailers also shifted to an online-only presence without having any offline stores since the trend seemed like the customer was increasingly going ‘digital’. Moreover running and managing brick-and-mortar stores were seen as an expensive and time consuming affair. But the modern day retailers have realized the need to go ‘omni-channel’ i.e. seamlessly integrating both their online and offline channels to enable customers to research, purchase, earn and burn loyalty points, and return, across channels. Brands focusing on getting their omni-channel right will definitely win the customer experience race.

Data Management: In order to get it right in omni-channel retailing, retailers need to manage their customers and inventory across channels. As customers randomly switch between channels while shopping it is imperative for retailers to ensure that the customer demands are satisfied, irrespective of the channel they choose. Here is where data management will help. Having insightful customer data such as past buying patterns and purchasing history, as well as accurate information of the product inventory and stock, and having all this available in near real-time will allow retailers to be proactive towards managing demands across channels effectively and thus mitigating chances of lost sales. Moreover profiling customers will also enable retailers to create and execute targeted promotions and campaigns to spike customer’s interest in the brand and thus boost sales.

3 Important Differentiators for Retail Brands to Stay Ahead of the Competition

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The retail markets across the globe are becoming increasingly competitive for 2 major reasons. On the one hand technology has disrupted the industry in multiple ways and on the other hand customers shopping behaviors have changed dramatically. Additionally, both these factors are influencing each other to further pose more challenges and create opportunities for retail businesses. In this intensely competitive scenario, retail brands need to differentiate themselves so that they emerge winners.

Below are 3 important factors that can help retail brands differentiate themselves:

Supply chain – Simply put, getting the customer what they want and where they want it is a serious concerns for most retailers as the complexity of processes and operations increase with the different channels and random ways the customer goes about shopping and ordering products. New omni-channel fulfillment options such as click and collect or BOPIS, endless aisles, reserve online and pick-up in-store, and a few other combinations have emerged over the last couple of years. Moreover, same day delivery, drone delivery, collection from preferred location, anywhere returns, and so on, have also come to the fore lately. Offering these fulfillment options requires retailers to have a solid supply chain system that can reduce the chances of stock-outs, damages and other potential risks. Thus it is important for retailers to focus on the supply chain and use technology to optimize it so that there is a smooth flow of the product from manufacturing to the consumer.

Customer relationship – As stated earlier, technology has influenced the shopper. Customers today are more informed and demanding than about a decade ago. In addition to that, they are spoilt for choice thanks to the variety in products, different channels of shopping, payment methods and accessibility to information. The customers are on the driving seats and retail brands need to be ready to fulfill the demands of the customer on their terms. This will be possible only if companies keep their customers at the focal point in the business. They will have to build deep and long lasting relationships with the customer and take appropriate efforts to understand and know their customers’ preferences. Using technology to capture and analyze customer related data and with proper customer segmentation and profiling, retailers will be able to design and create tailored offerings to the customers in terms of products and related services.

Marketing and branding – It is a no brainer that if retailers are not able to get their marketing right, they won’t be able to click. Retail companies are pumping in huge investments and efforts into their marketing and branding strategies and execution. But with so much noise around it is difficult to get noticed. In order to stand out, retail brands must adopt for a unity in diversity approach. Firstly have uniform branding and messaging, secondly identify platforms where their customers are most likely to be and thirdly promoting the brand message across these platforms will help retailers reach the desired audience with higher chance of conversions. Taking this to the next level by designing and creating offers and promotions that are hyper personalized, localized and unique will have customers wanting for more. As customer attention spans are small, retailers need to get their act together and render the maximum impact in a short time.