What makes the retailing business so intriguing and satisfying is living up to theconstantly evolving expectations of customers. Rather than a snapshot customers are likea moving picture. It is said that customers are always divinely discontent' and itis up to us on how well to exceed their expectations.
During the past few years your Company has made substantial investments in completelyre-inventing the store design and customer experience within almost every Big Bazaar. Morethan 250 of the 285 Big Bazaar stores we operate now offer home deliveries. Our data showthat a fair share of customer footfalls are now initiated through customer engagements onsocial and digital platforms. These have helped Big Bazaar to increase per square feetsales by 11.5% and grow same store sales by 13.4% during the year. As we continue tostrengthen these features we are also rolling out our Retail 3.0 strategy that aims tocreate a digital layer over every facet of our physical store network.
The small stores network comprising of EasyDay and Heritage Fresh stores has beenentirely reinvented on a digital platform. We are now expanding the physical small storenetwork that can potentially have 10000 stores each within a two kilometre radius ofevery consuming class urban Indian. This will allow us to serve customers anytimeanywhere. More importantly it will allow us to do business at a fraction of costs involvedin conventional e-commerce models. In fact the costs in this will be lower than even ourexisting store economics.
During the forthcoming year the Company will also roll out mobile and web basedplatforms that allow customers to order via apps messages calls and even scan thebar code pay on app and leave the store without going to the cash till. Front-endcustomer interfaces are only a small part of the digitization journey. The Company'sdigitization journey is enabling better decisions and bringing in more speed andefficiency in everything we do.
Much like biological ecosystems that are bound together through exchange of nutrientsbusiness ecosystems have consumer and consumer data as nutrients. Continuous flow andexchange of consumers and data is at the heart of successful ecosystems.
An Ecosystem Play
Over the years your Company has built strong loyalty and membership platforms like BigBazaar Profit Club Future Pay Payback and more recently the EasyDay Club subscriptionmodel. EasyDay Club members for a fixed fee get various services like home deliveries alowest price guarantee and 10% discount on almost all grocery products and soon an app toorder from anywhere on mobile via chat message or phone calls. These platforms alsocapture huge amount of consumer data that is being used to build consumer archetypesstrong relationships and even member-curated assortment at the stores.
As members shop more often within our stores they get more and more acquainted withthe large number of consumer brands and products in food home and personal care fashionand footwear developed by the group's consumer goods companies. Your Company's retailformats along with these brands form the core commerce engine of our consumer interface.As we move ahead we are offering these members new and innovative services like life andgeneral insurance consumer credit home dcor services electronics repair by affiliatecompanies and business partners. We are also exploring how we can give our memberspreferred services in media and entertainment food services and healthcare through thirdparties and partners. These range of added services for members and subscribers form theecosystem that we are envisioning for consumers. Simultaneously we are exploring how wecan add our large base of vendors suppliers and their employees as membersand partners in this ecosystem.
Technology today allows us to bring this entire suite of products and services on asingle platform and interact and engage with the customer far more often than it was everpossible. Underlying these are fundamental pillars such as data lake and analytic enginessupply chain networks payment platforms and retail infrastructure that have beendeveloped by Future Group companies.
Much like biological ecosystems that are bound together through exchange of nutrientsbusiness ecosystems have consumer and consumer data as nutrients. Continuous flow andexchange of consumers and data is at the heart of successful ecosystems. We aren'talone in imagining businesses as ecosystems. Businesses like Amazon Alibaba WeChat andmany others are creating these consumer ecosystems.
In India we believe we have the opportunity and the ability to create such anecosystem by bringing together our businesses our partners' businesses and our largemembership base of consumers together.
In Bengaluru Future Group's C&D Lab is our innovation powerhouse that isintegrating computing power with consumer insights and data with design-ledthinking. More than a hundred technologists design thinkers and data scientists atthe C&D Lab are engaging with the best technology companies and start-ups to digitizein every facet of the Company's business.
We believe technology is not an end by itself. Technology rests on human ability touse it. Technology enhances human ability it helps us achieve objectives faster andbetter. Our focus therefore is on strengthening the team of future conscious technologysavvy business leaders who drive the day-to-day business in your Company.
The Indian consumer market and specifically the retail sector continue toattract billions of dollars in investments from giants within and outside thecountry.
As one of the leading consumer goods organizations in the country this reinforces ourbelief and conviction on the market and our strategy of building the most efficientlast mile distribution channel for consumer goods in the country. We will continue to becustomer obsessed rather than competitor obsessed and use our learnings earned over theyears in shaping the consumption story in India.
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