HYDERABAD: The atmosphere was buzzing with energy and excitement at the Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad campus on Sunday. Weeks of preparation finally came to a head as Mercado, ISB’s Retail Club’s flagship event was kicked off. Mercado is an annual event which comprises of various workshops, speaker sessions, panel discussions and networking events with the industry.
Attendees got a chance to interact with industry professionals like Sathyajit R, COO, International Brands and New Businesses, Madura Fashion and Lifestyle, Narresh Mehtta COO, Hidesign, Ankur Singla, CEO and founder Akosha.com and Gururaj Rao, Head of Private Labels, Myntra who formed the panel of speakers representing the Indian retail industry.
As each speaker is part of well-established brands, each brought his own unique understanding of the retail industry. After the keynote speech by Sathyajit, in which he talked about the three pillars of Madura Garments, began the panel discussion wherein the speakers answered the queries posed by the ISB students. The focus topic was customer centricity which saw points like dealing with difficult customers, ‘importance of customers’, ‘forecasting’ and ‘sensitisation of employees’ being raised during the discussion. “Some thought provoking insights on the retail industry’s take on customer centricity was really educational. It was good to learn about how different organisations adopt different routes to reach the same end goal of customer delight,” felt Reuben Zacharia, PGP Class of 2015, ISB.
The enthusiasm of the audience was tangible and one could see heads nodding in affirmation and hands moving fast to try and keep up with influx of insights in the room. Among other aspects discussed were consumers today are far removed from the past, where loyalty reigned supreme. Their shopping experience now goes far beyond simply walking into a store or using another channel to buy products. The information era created by the internet has led to highly informed customers through platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter etc. The modern day consumer is constantly on the web comparing products and prices of products and is always on the lookout for reviews.
With their appetite whetted, after the panel discussion, the audience geared up for the Retail and Brand quiz sponsored by Van Heusen. The elimination round had a mix of trivia and retail specific questions which saw the top five teams moving to the final round. “The retail quiz was a challenging one, testing our knowledge across the length and breadth of the industry. From figuring out which chain had opened its 10,000th store recently to a nerve wrecking logo quiz to finish with!” said Kanchan Bhakoo, PGP Class of 2015, ISB.
With verbal and visual cues hurled at the teams, their retail acumen was acutely tested. It was not only serious discussions at Mercado though, the event also got a stylish touch with a fashion show by students and faculty members serving as a grand finale.