A Roadmap for Retailers in the New Era of Urbanomics | Article

Wipro Voice: A Conversation with Bhanumurthy, Sr VP, RCTG Business, Wipro Technologies

New urban markets, accessible technologies, changing social patterns, and a cautious return of consumer spending are brokering new opportunities for retailers. What are the strategies, tools, and technologies that make the road ahead a smooth ride?

The first decade of the 21st century has been as enthralling as it has been tumultuous. The last 10 years have:

  1. Produced cutting-edge technology
  2. Minted novel social behavior patterns
  3. Uncovered new markets in emerging economies
  4. Delivered innovation on an unprecedented scale
  5. Produced monetary caution of the kind rarely witnessed before

Combine the five and you get the flavor for Urbanomics, which is what Wipro believes will define the new market dynamics.

The dynamics of Urbanomics

By 2030, more than 60 percent of the world population will have migrated to urban agglomerations. And by nature, urban consumers display a higher propensity to be adventurous, open-minded, and willing to try the new. Besides, the digital natives, those born in the Internet era, have started earning salaries and have spending power. They crave the unconventional. End result? A higher demand for innovative goods and services, pleasure in new experiences, the adoption of unique service delivery channels, lowered loyalty levels for brands, the demand for better pricing models, and a keener eye for value and bargains.

Pandering to the lifestyles of the growing urban consumer is an array of products and services that rely on technology to instantly serve up options, provide the ability to make a purchase decision on a whim, and build invaluable equity for their brand through their social networks.

Smart phones, tablets, social networks, and the growth of eCommerce are rewriting the rules of consumption. Corollary? The roadmap for the retail industry just got bumpy.

The changing world of Urbanomics, however, presents an opportunity for retailers to distance themselves from their competition. Urbanomics presents an opportunity to address newer market segments and geographies and increase the velocity of business. The change presents the opportunity for retailers to listen to their customers and deliver what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.

The role of smart phones and social networks in Urbanomics

Retailers need to seriously examine how they can leverage smart phones, tablets, and the growing penetration of mobile networks for marketing as well as sales. Can mobile networks reduce the cost of reaching a customer? Can they help customize products, improve service delivery, and increase customer satisfaction through better support?

How can retailers use social media to engage customers, drive revenue, and create a better customer experience? How can a million people on social networks become product champions by sharing information with other customers about a retailer’s products and offerings? What are the tools required to measure social media when companies introduce it (as they inevitably will) into the marketing mix?

Finally, even as consumer spending returns cautiously, what are the key challenges in retaining customers and growing their loyalty? Can the answer to failing and expensive loyalty programs lie in reverse loyalty?

The answer to all those questions includes technology. Technology supports innovation, lowers cost of product and service delivery, improves customer experience, enhances support, and increases loyalty. Decreasing the complexity of enterprise IT architecture and increasing flexibility to meet seasonal variability through cloud adoption are critical in a highly competitive and unpredictable business environment.

How do retailers deal with the pressure and change their businesses are experiencing? The overall sentiment is that retailers will be able to respond to the demands of consumers – and grow business at the same time. Welcome to the Era of Urbanomics.

Wipro set up the Council for Industry Research, comprising of domain and technology experts from the organization, to address the needs of customers. It specifically looks at innovative strategies that will help them gain competitive advantage in the market. The Council in collaboration with leading academic institutions and industry bodies studies market trends to equip organizations with insights that facilitate their IT and business strategies. For more information on the Research Council visit www.wipro.com/industryresearch or email [email protected]

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