Category Archives: Editorials

Time to shift into the reverse gear?

GDJASUJAIn good old days, Direct mail used to be a tool to generate sales, and now it’s moving customers from their desk top or mobile into stores. Stores remain a key part of the customer experience. Even now, consumers are more comfortable shopping clothes in stores and they can perhaps motivate Amazon to open up its own fashion apparel stores, featuring Amazon private labels. Or, Amazon might just buy an already existing chain of retail stores. The journey from Brick-and-mortar —-> Online —-> Online + brick-and-mortar….Amazon's Great Indian Sale 2018When asked “Is retail dead?” at the recent Custora Carma conference in New York, Carlos Alberini, Lucky Brand’s CEO replied “No. But I think what is dead is traditional retail…And those companies that continue to operate the way they did don’t have a chance. Putting the customer at the center is really the only way to win.”

CARMA is a forum for marketing leaders to share their strategies for navigating the complex new era of retail. CARMA’s message is “Go From Customer Data To Revenue, Faster.” Custora combines deep machine learning expertise or artificial intelligence with user-specific accessibility to provide customer analytics tools required by retail teams in this era of modern online world where practically every marketer has access to a flurry of disparate data sources, disconnected tools, empty buzzwords, and conflicting information. They face a very difficult challenge of leveraging customer data to grow their business. The ultimate goal is remove the “mass” from mass marketing with software tools that focus on customers as individuals with unique needs, likings, desires and resources.

World’s richest man Jeff Bezos’ Amazon is the king of online retail platforms catering to millions of small and big manufacturers, traders and agents. But Amazon is fast transforming itself from merely being a shopping platform to becoming the world’s biggest online retailer of self-owned brands. World’s second biggest technology company has been quietly gathering data on consumers’ buying pattern/behavior, what they are really buying, and possibly, the key data about the supply chain.

According to a recent LifeStyle Monitor’s news report-cum-survey Amazon surpassed Macy’s this year as the largest seller of clothing in the U.S. They did it by selling a lot of basics, like socks, underwear, and workwear. Amazon currently has 120 private label brands, 80 percent of which cover fashion or apparel. According to this report Gartner estimates Amazon apparel sales will reach $40 billion by the end of this year. The survey also reveals that consumers are still more comfortable shopping clothes in stores. Despite more and more consumers becoming digitally savvy, they still prefer to buy apparel in an actual store (72 percent). They also like to go in-store if they have any questions before purchasing clothes (66 percent), as well as to follow-up with post-purchase questions (55 percent). This has given rise to an speculation that big online retailers, specially Amazon, may be expected to open up their own brick and mortar apparel stores to exclusively promote Amazon private labels. It is also possible that for this, Amazon might just buy an already existing chain of apparel fashion stores very similar to their recent acquisition of Whole Foods chain of grocery stores.

The trends in the online business world seem to be moving in the reverse gear. There were times when ‘Direct Mail’ used to be a tool to generate sales at stores. Now marketers have to move customers from their desk top or mobile device into stores. This can be more convenient and comfortable for both buyers and sellers as they know precisely when and where to meet and for what. In future, it may become imperative for big successful online brands to compliment their efforts to win customer confidence and loyalty by having brick-and-mortar outlets at key locations to offer a fuller customer experience. In this respect, the Indian example which comes to my mind is that of, a successful online eyewear brand that has opened company managed retail outlets across India to have the necessary bonding with the customers, a must have prerequisite for this line of business.

So, its time to abandon traditional retail and shift into the reverse gear to say hello to the new online world of retail.

Managing Editor

Goods and Services Tax (GST) Vs. Bullet Train (Shinkansen)

GDJASUJAPost GST, one major announcement made by the government has been the launch of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train project. The GST and the Bullet Train both have generated immense public interest or public debate. This is so because of the many similarities they share especially in the complexity of their implementation. Both these ambitious projects require massive infrastructure, although of different kind. There is also a very huge amount of public money involved in both of these decisions.

Let’s assume the GST to be a Bullet Train. Then it is very clear that the government has already built this train and also built all the required tracks on which this train has to run. Infosys was awarded a Rs 1,380 crore contract to build GST Network (GSTN) system in Sept. 2015 that involved building and maintaining the technology network crucial for implementing the GST across the country for five years. By and large, the travel path of this train (i.e. starting point and the end point) has also been put in place. All the taxpayers, who qualify to be registered under the GST system, have to be the passengers of this bullet train. It is compulsory for them to catch this bullet train and travel the applicable distance without fail or face penal action for missing any ride. Continue reading Goods and Services Tax (GST) Vs. Bullet Train (Shinkansen)

“The Ghost Of GST will be Set Free On July 1. Are You Ready?”

Editor-NCMGST – Goods and Services Tax – which will be a single destination based consumption tax – is all set to replace existing taxes, including CENVAT, Octroi, Sales Tax, and Excise Duty, etc. from July 1, 2017. According to the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, constituted by the Government of India: “GST is a tax on goods and services with comprehensive and continuous chain of set-off benefits from the producer’s point and service provider’s point up to the retailer’s level. It is essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage, and a supplier at each stage is permitted to set-off, through a tax credit mechanism, the GST paid on the purchase of goods and services as available for set-off on the GST to be paid on the supply of goods and services. The final consumer will thus bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set-off benefits at all the previous stages.” Continue reading “The Ghost Of GST will be Set Free On July 1. Are You Ready?”

“Indian Exporters Must Seriously Explore Japan”

Editor-NCMFirst the official factsheet on Indian Textiles (Source: Textiles India 2017 to be held in June in Gandhinagar). Fibre: 2nd largest fibre producer in the world (9 mn tonnes of fibre production in 2015-16); 2nd largest producing in silk and MMF; One of the major producers of wool. Yarn: 2nd largest installed spindle and rotor capacity in the world with more than 52 mn spindles and approx. 8,70,000 routers; Spun yarn production approx. 5700 mn kg in 2015-16; Filament year production approx. 1200 mn kg in 2015-16. Fabric: Biggest installed weaving capacity in the world with more than 4.9 mn looms including 2.4 mn handlooms; Fabric production approx. 66 bn sq. meters in 2015-16; Diverse fabric mix with focus on cotton based products. Apparel: Garment production for exports estimated at 3400 mn pieces annually and for domestic market at 5600 mn pieces annually; 12.9 mn workers employed out of which 70% are women. Continue reading “Indian Exporters Must Seriously Explore Japan”

“World Trade in an Uncertain World”

Editor-NCMIf the global events of the first three months of 2017 are any indication of the kind of future to be expected then it is hard to dismiss the reality that we’ve entered a new era. The new geopolitical instability and uncertain economic landscape are very scary. The uncertainty has always been an integral feature of the world we live in. After all, it is our own creation. However, the stakes were never so high if one looks in terms of the reverse globalization. Every nation wants to be safe, independent, prosperous and be respected by others but sadly, does very little to appreciate that others also have these very same wish list. Continue reading “World Trade in an Uncertain World”

India’s Job Creation & Race for Development in Asia

Editor-NCMThe race for development, among nations, using globalization as a major tool is slowing down thanks to the recent signs of the revolt against globalization. Ironically, this revolt is being seen in countries that initiated, propagated and, to some extent, monopolized the rules of globalization. It is no secret that despite many advantages of globalization in terms of growth in opportunities and skill development, the fact remains that largely, there has been a jobless growth in most countries. Also, the gap between the rich and the poor has widened to an unimaginable extent creating widespread unrest among those disadvantaged populations everywhere that feel being left out or not being looked after well by their respective governments. Continue reading India’s Job Creation & Race for Development in Asia

China’s Anti-Pollution Law has Fast & Furious Actions & Targets

Editor-NCMChina’s colossal growth of textile and clothing industry has contributed to the rampant pollution prevailing today. The wastewater emissions from dyeing and printing in China are estimated about 3 × 106 to 4 × 106 m3 per day, i.e. 3 – 5 tons wastewater a day from dyeing 100 m fabric. The wastewater is characterized by intense color, high pollutant concentrations and poor biological degradability. It contains large amounts of harmful substances like formaldehyde and chemical auxiliaries that could cause headache, skin allergies and other health hazards. Some aromatic amines, heavy metals and preservatives are found to be “possibly carcinogenic” to humans, and they can destroy the equilibrium of ecosystem and also the aquatic life. The exhaust gases lead to serious harm to the atmospheric environment. Continue reading China’s Anti-Pollution Law has Fast & Furious Actions & Targets

Fashion Designers Playing Key Role in Sustainability Awareness

Editor-NCMThe fashion world is redefining what it means to be really fashionable these days. Fashion experts have discovered a new medium, termed ‘sustainability’, to express their ideas with respect to the apparel designing, usages plus their recycling and reuse. The redefined fashion is supposed to be such that the garment, which is at their centre stage, must be given the respect it deserves, by producers and retailers, and also by consumers. That means any garment that, if worn, gives some positive message and expresses our support for sustainable consumption behaviour. Continue reading Fashion Designers Playing Key Role in Sustainability Awareness

Globalization is Irreversible. ….And it is Dying!

Editor-NCMThe theory of trickle-down economics, as propagated worldwide by economists of repute everywhere, has not worked the way it was supposed to have worked in theory. According to this theory, benefits given to the wealthy, and also the wealth created by them, trickle down to everyone else. The governments all over the world tend to provide such benefits in the form of tax cuts on businesses, high-income earners, capital gains, and dividends. Even subsidies of various kinds are also negotiated by governments to attract investments from outside to enhance the industrial activity and to boost industrialization and modernization in various priority sectors. Continue reading Globalization is Irreversible. ….And it is Dying!