Last week in my blog post Winning in Retail – BRIC by Bric, I highlighted a story from the current edition of SPEAK Magazine about the growth of retail markets in the BRIC countries and their need for the 'right' IT solutions to meet their specific needs. As a continuation of our look at BRIC retail markets here is a second article featured in SPEAK Magazine where Microsoft India's Raman Dhooria takes a look at the rise of the Indian retail industry and explains why Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail is proving a perfect fit for retailers there.
Microsoft launched Dynamics AX for Retail to the Indian market at the end of February this year. With a population of 1.2 billion people and borders stretching from the mountains of Hindukush (Afghanistan) in the west to the jungles of Burma in the east, India is the world's largest democracy and currently has the fifth largest retail industry in the world. As the country's economy continues to boom and its growing middleclass population continues to demand higher quality shopping experiences and better choice, the retail market is expected to grow at a pace of 25-30 per cent annually to reach US$535 billion in 2013. While Microsoft Dynamics solutions have already been a success story with retailers in India, Dynamics AX for Retail is bringing something new to the market by providing advanced, rich, industry-specific functionality that will enable retailers to achieve true end-to-end visibility of their operations and better position them for future growth. Through my involvement with the launch of Dynamics AX for Retail in India, I got the opportunity to meet with many retailers to get their thoughts on what they want from a modern IT solution. In general, they came back saying that any full-featured retail solution must be able to help them to:
- Tap into new opportunities such as rural markets – about 70 per cent of the Indian population lives in rural areas
- Connect franchises to parent retailers
- Embrace a social media and mobile marketing strategy to attract a new generation of consumers
Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail can help retailers achieve all of the above. Let's take the franchises point as an example. Franchises are an important growth strategy for many large retail businesses around the world. The retail market in India is currently transitioning from having five per cent organised retail to ten per cent in the next two years, as an increasing number of 'mom and pop' shops turn into franchises to merge with larger brands. Dynamics AX for Retail is an ideal retail solution for helping companies to grow their operations – it is easy to use, easy to adapt and highly scalable. On another point, when thinking about how to attract the next-generation consumer, retailers must have the capabilities to interact with them via social media. In India, social media is now used by more than 65 per cent of the population under 35 years of age, and with more than 15 million Facebook users, social media will play a greater role over time. Dynamics AX for Retail is core to Microsoft's strategy of 'converged retailing and connected cross-channel experiences.' By enabling retailers to connect their operations and offer a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels, they will be better positioned to interact with customers via social media.
Next week I will finalize this 3-part retail mini-series by taking a look at the North American retail market together with our NOAM Industry Market Development Director, Will Roche. In the meantime thanks to Raman and SPEAK magazine for this article and the continued support of the Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail business.
Sr. Industry Marketing Manager