Capitalizing the digital disruption opportunity in retail

The new world order with its ambiguities and rising number of digitally savvy customers have driven the players of the retail industry to relook at their strategies and processes. Big players in the industry are moving swiftly and embracing transformation with agility and resilience. In our endeavour to understand how some of the organizations are doing it right, we got in touch with Manish Kapoor, CEO, Pepe Jeans India. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

Manish Kapoor, CEO, Pepe Jeans India

How has digital disruption transformed PEPE’s strategy?

Digital provides opportunities for retailers to acquire new customers, engage better with existing customers, reduce the cost of operations, and improve employee motivation along with various other benefits that have a positive influence from a revenue and margin perspective. Multiple forces give rise to internet-based dynamic growth. These forces include more and better information availability about a product, focused assortments & extended reach. For PEPE, going digital was the plan even if COVID had not hit. It’s just that we have fast forwarded our plans and executed plans which were meant to be rolled out in the next 24-36 months within the last 12 months. End-to-end digitalized operations, Omni channel Customer Experience & launching www.pepejeans.in are a few of the many initiatives which have already been implemented. We also plan to invest heavily in CRM solutions to make our customer connect more relevant and effective. From a problem-solving perspective, we are looking at digital-based solutions as much as possible. I am committed to taking that leap towards digitalization on a proactive basis.

What are the 4 basic foundations for a successful digital transformation at PEPE?

The most important aspect of any transformation is to make everyone in the organization realize the need and importance of the change and bring about that change in mindset. End-to-end Digitalised Operations, Omni channel Customer experience, CRM Solutions & Continuous Digital Innovation as per me are the 4 basic foundations of an organization which is focused towards digitalization. It’s also important that we THINK DIGITAL in all walks of the business, be it supply chain management or marketing. As an organization, we are also looking towards training every employee in every function so the digital mindset sets in. For example, our collection booking events were always conducted in a physical environment, where distributors and retailers could touch and feel the product. With COVID we moved to a digital solution and created an internal portal. We ended up creating a better experience for the buyers. Not only did we save on costs we actually received feedback that the information and ease of buying was much better compared to the physical event. So all in all a win–win. We are also aware that a lot of brands followed us and replicated this process.

What is the future of the fashion retail business? What are the focus areas for PEPE?

The future of fashion retail lies in creating unique experiences for the consumer at every touchpoint. We can’t determine where the consumer will shop but the experience that we deliver is completely in our hands. Digitization, Nimbleness, Sustainability, and Customization would be the key themes going ahead.   In today’s world, the mobile phone has become one of the most important tool an individual could possess.  By 2024, India’s e-commerce industry is expected to increase by 84% and rise to $11 billion. This change will be driven by mobile shopping over the next 3 years. As a brand we want to be where the consumer is and we are taking steps to ensure that we are able to deliver a consistent experience across. We have a widespread brick-and-mortar business and we will look to leverage the online consumer with the omni channel platform. Apart from the omni channel strategy, we have Customization which will also be an important differentiator which will help us convert consumers with the additional reason to buy compared to our competitors. Sustainable fashion is also something which we have been keenly pursuing, wiser wash will be a huge talking point for us in the future.

In conversation with Manish Kapoor, CEO, Pepe Jeans India

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