Dr. Hitesh Bhatt a doctorate degree in Branding in Retail from University of
Mumbai. He has around 25 years of experience working with some of India Inc.’s top organisations across diverse sectors including Retail, OTC Pharma, FMCG, Automotive /
FMCD, Petroleum Retail Marketing, Consulting, and media. Prior to joining RAI as a Director-Marketing and Communications, Hitesh was Head- Marketing and Communications at TCL – Times Group. He used to also head Marketing and Communication at NHBS, a Future Group company. Dr. Bhatt is also the Editorial Director of the Magazine – STORAI, the Magazine by the Industry for the Industry. At RAI, he has initiated Awards for retail and tech startups with the aim of creating world-class retail ideas and success stories.
How and when did RAI come to inception and how long you have been associated with them?
RAI is a not-for-profit organization (registered under section 8 of Companies Act, 2013). In the 2000s modern retail was still in its nascency in India. However, the potential for its growth was evident. It is during this time that key modern retailers in the country came together with the purpose of working with all the stakeholders of retail for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. And Retailers Association of India came into existence on 28th September 2005.
How has the Retail scenario changed in India…and with lot of Online Retail giants in the fray, how has it impacted the business?
India is the world’s fifth-largest retail market. From largely being dominated by mom-and-pop and independent retail stores, we have come a long way to have an exciting mix of mom-and-pop, independent retail chains and modern retail chains backed by large industrial groups. Thanks to the widespread penetration of the internet, rising disposable incomes and global exposure e-commerce in India is growing too. In 2017, the total size of the Indian Retail market was USD680 bn out of which the size of organized or modern retail was USD65 bn.
As per IBEF, the market is projected to touch US$1,200billion in 2021. IBEF also expects modern retail in the country to double in size by 2021.
India’s demographic dividend and rapid progress has made it attractive for several foreign players like Walmart, Ikea, and Amazon. As of June 2018, the cumulative FDI inflow stood at US$ 1.42 billion.
All this bodes well for the industry as it has brought in healthy competition and global practices. Consumers now have a choice in the true sense as they have a large canvas of brands and channels to choose from.
What are the key qualities of being a Retail Industry professional?
In retail, the customer is everything. Therefore, the foremost quality required is customer-centricity and the attitude of service, both in customer-facing job profiles as well as non-customer facing. That is because everything that a retail organization does is for the consumer.
With new-age technologies does conventional retail have a future in India (and Globally)?
Technology is an enabler. And retailers in India as well as across the world are adopting it to increase efficiency and to know their customers better and delight them at every touchpoint in new ways. Various studies and surveys have revealed that consumers still prefer shopping at brick and mortar outlets. Customer-centric retail whether it is conventional or new certainly has a future, both in India and anywhere else.
How has your journey of life been? What is your motivation and inspiration in life?
The journey has been one of constant learning. And the opportunity to learn something new is what motivates and inspires me. I have been fortunate to get a chance to work with some of the top organisations in India which provided me fertile learning ground to learn about sectors including Retail, OTC Pharma, FMCG, Automotive / FMCD, Petroleum Retail Marketing, Consulting, and Media.
I have learnt a lot about Industry, Research, and Academia while completing my doctorate (PhD ) .
What is your life’s motto?
Serve, learn and grow with humility, always.
What would be your advice to the next generation who want to be part of the Retail Industry?
Retail offers immense opportunity and it rewards those who give it their best. It is one of the most satisfying industries as you directly impact the lives of millions of consumers and bring a smile to their faces. Hard work and Perseverance along with the right knowledge will take your career to the greater heights.
Today we are on the brink of the modern retail explosion which is all set to reach the last pin code number in this country and take the Indian economy to the next level.
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