Retail giant Future Group is adapting to an omni-commerce technology that allows the group to converge its digital and physical channels.
At a press conference here on Wednesday, it announced its association with SAP company hybris, who’s omni-commerce technology solutions will make all of Future Group’s brands available online from March.
“The overall investment in this B2C enabler (typically an e-commerce platform) is about Rs 100 crore and is spread over the next 18 months,” Rakesh Biyani, joint managing director of Future Retail, told reporters. “This kind of omni-channel retail will change the way we interact and serve the customer,” he added.
Earlier, the Future Group had launched the BigBazar Direct portal which allowed purchase of products online. This initiative, however, failed to do well and will now become part of the omni-channel technology.
Under omni-channel retail operations, apart from ordering products online, customers can view the inventory, book products and collect the packaged order from the nearest store. Also, if a product ordered at a store is out of stock, the customer can get the product delivered at home when available. Above all, the technology offers an Endless Eye’ option, through which customers have access to products online which cannot be made available at all physical stores.
Via omni-channel retailing, retailers are meeting new customer demands by deploying specialised supply chain strategy software. “We have our own logistics chain and we also have a third-party logistics arrangement to ensure that the product is delivered to the customer on time,” said Rakesh Biyani. “Our logistics system is well developed and well equipped, we have already worked on it to strengthen it,” he added.
The company has about 140,000 stock-keeping units across India.
“There is a limit to the number of physical stores we can have. At present we have 170 stores which we plan to take to 260 by 2018. Even if we add another 30-40 more physical stores we can go to 300 and not beyond that,” Kishore Biyani, CEO of the Future Group, said on the sidelines of the press conference. “So the next option is to take the help of technology to penetrate deeper into the market,” he added.
In terms of revenue generation, Rakesh Biyani said, the omni-retailing channel would enhance revenue by 6-9 per cent over the next two years. “There are no estimates for the digital platform, but this online option will generate substantially high revenues in coming months,” he added.