by Anushree Ghosh
The retail industry in India has undergone tremendous metamorphosis over the past few years. The ever-changing consumption pattern, urbanization and western influence have been suggesting a future full of phenomenal growth.
However, the growth is expected to be variably affected by the digital intervention. The retail players need to constantly modify their strategies to position themselves more striking than their online counterparts. The Indian retail industry was going through rough phases of growth with new players coming into the game, and there was no organization to represent administers the turbidity in the system. Thus, in 2004, retailers came together to form the Retail Association of India (RAI). By 2011,it had more than750 members.
RAI represents the entire retail industry of India that includes the retail chains, independent retail shops and department stores, selling a wide variety of products across the country.
- Represents and raises issues related to the retail industry to the government and policymakers.
- Trains the people related to the industry through various skill development workshops.
- Organises events for the members of the retail industry to meet up and collaborate as required, basically to provide a platform for the people to network.
- Work with various knowledge partners to analyse the market scenario.
RAI raised its voice against the FDI policy of the government when it allowed investment in e-commerce and not in the physical retail shops. The issue was raised to stand and fight the undue advantage the online business gets over the retail business, while ethically both must be treated equally. The association also complained about the discounts offered by the online platforms that upset the business of the small independent retailers. The associated pointed out that the foreign e-commerce sites use illegal foreign capital to do so.
RAI has also collaborated with Timesjobs to create a database of talented people who are willing to join the retail industry. The website is accessible to the RAI members at an exclusive price. The intent is to attract talented people from various industries into retail. After government of India, announced the change in taxing policy by applying GST, RAI set up a website to provide assistance to the members of the retail industries to solve queries related to the tax reform.
RAI is also trying to introduce sustainability in retail operations. It is emphasizing on reducing power consumption by using LED lights and by maintaining the ACs at workplaces. RAI is suggesting the stakeholders to minimize the use of paper by redesigning and repackaging. The onus lies on the shoulders of every member and the idea is to make them feel responsible for spreading awareness. Yet, there is a long way to systemize the Indian retail industry in terms of sustainability and function.