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‘Personalisation will be critical’

By N Jayalakshmi | January 02, 2024

Nitin Chhabra, CEO, ace turtletells Retail4Growth why AI will be an even bigger game changer for retail in this exclusive interaction on 2024: What’s in Store?’

Nitin Chhabra

As the new year unfolds, one can expect the culmination of many trends that began taking shape in the year gone by. One of them is the increasing role played by technology, AI tools in particular, in transforming the retail experience What is also evident today is the need for smooth integration of front-end and back-end to meet brand objectives and improve business outcomes. 

Nitin Chhabra, CEO of tech native retail company ace turtle, sums up some of these anticipated retail trends in 2024 for Retail4Growth as part of our series ‘2024: What’s in Store’.  He begins by recapping some of the key developments at ace turtle in 2023.

2023 - a quick recap and how it has paved the way for 2024 

2023 has been a great year for us and our portfolio of licensed brands. In FY23, we achieved highest-ever annual sales for both Lee and Wrangler in their 25-year history in India. We grew the business of both the brands by more than 100% in FY23 over FY22. In FY24, we have seen significant growth so far and aim to grow by over 50% over FY23. While we aimed to grow by a higher percentage, due to a delayed uptick to the festive season this year, the growth was slower than expected. Currently, our business is evenly split, with 50% of the sales for Lee and Wrangler coming from offline channels (offline retail stores and department stores) and the remaining 50% online (lee.in, wrangler.in and online marketplaces).

As the exclusive licensee of Lee®, Wrangler®, and Toys“R”Us® in India, we opened several flagship stores in 2023. Lee's 4,200 sq. ft. store on Brigade Road, Bengaluru, is India's largest, featuring smart mirrors for personalized recommendations. Our Wrangler flagship at Indiranagar, Bengaluru spanning 4,500 sq. ft., is the world's largest Wrangler store with India's first AR mural. The Toys“R”Us® flagship on Linking Road, Mumbai, a vast 12,000 sq. ft., stands as India's largest high street toy store. Seamlessly integrating technology, it provides kids and families with a comprehensive and delightful toy shopping experience.

Anticipated trends in shopper behaviour and how retail brands will look at using the store space

The rise of the internet, growing smartphone penetration, rising disposable incomes and greater awareness of brands in tier-2 and tier-3 cities are some of the key drivers for fashion retailing in India. India will continue to be the centre of attraction for international brands. Personalisation will be critical as consumers become more aware of their vast choices and expect a personalised shopping experience. Thanks to data analytics, retailers will be able to offer personalised shopping experiences that are specifically tailored to customers’ individual preferences. 

Chief technologies that will be game changers for 2024 

I think AI has the potential to democratize decision-making and personalize consumer experience. From personalised recommendations to predictive analytics and automated customer service, Al is already transforming how retailers interact with their customers and operate their businesses. AI can support retail operations, increasing profits and optimizing business processes. Retailers benefit from automation, loss prevention and sustainability. It can also bring down costs, optimize supply chains and increase customer satisfaction. 

Plans for 2024

In 2024, we expect the sales of Lee, Wrangler and Toys“R”Us to grow significantly. We plan to open 10 more Toys“R”Us stores by June 2024 taking the total tally to 12 stores. We will also be launching Dockers in India in the first quarter of 2024.  

We look forward to further building our position as India's leading tech-native retail company. Our strategic roadmap encompasses several key initiatives. First, we are committed to expanding our licensed brands portfolio by onboarding more global brands. We will also work towards enhancing our offerings from each brand. We aim to make the brands easily accessible for millions of Indian consumers across cities and towns (both online and offline). We are also investing in innovative technology and data platforms to drive the growth of our licensed brands portfolio.

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