23 March 2022: The Centre for Digital Transformation at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), a premier global management institute, has recently set up a Retail Tech Consortium and plans to collaborate with several retail and technology organisations in India. The consortium will work towards sharing deep knowledge, research, and setting up industry best practices for better collaboration amongst retail tech players in the country. Flipkart, an India-based e-commerce marketplace, has joined as a principal partner for the inaugural year of the consortium, bringing its industry knowledge and experience and consumer insights into the internet ecosystem to contribute to this effort.
In the past two years of the pandemic, the retail sector has undergone massive adaptation. Digitalization of retail has happened at a fast pace and has impacted both online and traditional retailers. This consortium will largely bring to the fore unbiased customer voices on the country’s digitalization of retail, which will help retailers better understand their customers.
Speaking about the need for setting up the consortium, Professor Pankaj Setia, Chairperson of the Centre for Digital Transformation at IIMA, said, “Through this collaboration, we aim to initiate cutting-edge research on issues the retail sector is facing, gather insights and facilitate knowledge sharing to help retailers across the industry come up to speed with the current demands.” We identify this as an urgent need as retailers need to quickly react to the constantly changing preferences of customers and the advent of new technological innovations. Managing inventory, labour shortages, supply chain logistics, and adhering to sustainable practices are a few other challenges that most online sellers are facing. The Centre for Digital Transformation will create and share insights gathered through research that can enable the development of solutions by partners across the board.”
Some of the activities that the consortium will undertake include nationwide consumer surveys, the development of case studies, the conduct of field experiments and research studies, retail tech webinars, conferences, and more. These interventions will not only allow a healthy cross-pollination of ideas and impartation of knowledge among companies and industries, but also help create open data sources to enable learning across consumer cohorts concerning their habits, usage, triggers, and barriers.
Sharing his thoughts on how this collaboration stands to benefit the sector, Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart, said, “The modern retail ecosystem in India has accelerated at an unprecedented speed over the past several years, driven by rapid digital adoption. With fast-changing consumer preferences and needs, the only way for brands to thrive in this dynamic market is to capitalise on the power of technology. Through our collaboration with IIMA and insights gathered from the consumer survey, we intend to identify opportunities and create forums for knowledge sharing, research, and training that will help transform the retail ecosystem to drive greater value for Kiranas, retailers, and customers.”
The Centre for Digital Transformation at IIMA was inaugurated last year and focuses on activities that enhance an understanding of the digital ecosystem and catalyse leadership as it leverages its expertise in research and development to provide thought leadership for digital transformation.