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India’s retail sector seeks a perfect balance between physical and virtual presence

India’s retail sector is at the ‘phygital’ crossroads with the industry trying to strike a perfect balance between physical outlets and a virtual identity in Asia’s third largest economy.

At the conclusion of the two-day Phygital Retail Convention on Thursday, retailers from the consumer, food and lifestyle segment deliberated on the new normal and the changing customer behaviour.

“In the food retail segment, calling in for food (online) is not the last option now, but it is the most preferred option,” said Anurag Katriar, Executive Director & CEO, deGustibus Hospitality and President, NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India) – an industry body.

The scenario is no different for consumer retail.

“B2B (Business-to-Business) ecommerce players such as Udaan & ShopX are betting on lower tier cities accounting for 60 percent of retail spend,” said Anurag Mathur, Partner & Leader – Consumer and Retail Business, Strategy8, part of the PwC network.

Online fashion sales reported triple digit growth from Tier 2 and 3 cities vis-à-vis less than 20 percent in metros, Mathur said.

These Tier 2 and 3 cities also attracted five times more investments in retail infrastructure compared to metro cities, he said.

Kimaya Garments – a fashion and lifestyle retailer had shut all its 30-odd outlets and moved to its own online marketplace.

“Digital is the big disruptor. 80% of our sales come from women and our website data suggests that women are searching for KAYA services from 8 pm till midnight”, said Rajiv Nair, Group CEO, Kaya – a skin care retail clinic.

“63% of shopping search begins online but 49% of actual shopping happens in the physical store”, said Rehan Huck, Co-founder & COO, Propel – a real estate consultancy firm.

The two-day convention felicitated over 40 Retail Tech Icons via the IMAGES RETAIL TECH ICON awards – powered by GreenHonchos. Setting the right mood for Phygital Retail the event was concluded with the IMAGES RETAIL AWARDS 2021 – powered by Vegas Mall. The awards honoured the industry across 10 segments with the likes of travel, retail, entertainment, customer relations, turnaround strategies etc.

Related: Retail Brands Eye High Streets for Expansion, Also Target Tier 2 & 3 Cities

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