Emerging trends in Retail sector

The single most important evolution that took place along with the retailing revolution was the rise and fall of the dotcom companies. A sudden concept of `non-store' shopping emerged, which threatened to take away the potential of the store. More importantly, the very nature of the customer segment being addressed was almost the same. The computer-savvy individual was also a sub-segment of the `store' frequenting traffic.

Internationally, the concept of Net shopping is yet to be proven. And the poor financial performance of most of the companies offering virtual shopping has resulted in store-based retailing regaining the upper hand. Other forms of non-store shopping including various formats such as catalogue/mail order shopping, direct selling, and so on are growing rapidly. However, the size of the direct market industry is too limited to deter the retailers. For all the convenience that it offers, electronic retailing does not suit products where `look and see' attributes are of importance, as in apparel, or where the value is very high, such as jewellery, or where the performance has to be tested, as of consumer durables. The most critical issue in electronic retailing, especially in a country such as ours, relates to payments and the various security issues involved.

- Contributed by Nithin Narayanan