C-Tailing & Omni-Channel Commerce

Future of Retail

At the recently concluded NRF’s (National Retail Federation‘s),  BIG SHOW 2013, attendees were introduced to an emerging concept in customer engagement by NCR, (the National Cash Register Company).

I actually liked how they positioned this new paradigm – they call it c-tailing (or Converged Retailing) for a C2B marketplace. While traditional business models revolved on either B2B or B2C businesses, C2B lays down that starting now, it is the consumers that will reach out to businesses and enable transactions, rather than the other way around.

Some key highlights:

  1. Digital Discovery through ‘Experiential’ stores – guided by real-time social media reviews, etc.
  2. Take on Showrooming head-on, by enabling WiFi inside the stores and matching online prices
  3. Converged retail models including ‘Buy Online, Pick up at Store’
  4. Personalized web portals for a more relevant online buying experience
  5. Use Social + Mobile to enable Collaborative Shopping

Will be interesting to see how this space evolves. I’m watching closely!

Related links:


So, what does Gurgaon mean to me?

From the first week of April, ever since we started our summer internship, many of my batchmates – first-timers at Gurgaon had this on their status message – “Gurgaon is a concrete jungle”… and things on similar lines. I don’t really blame them and here’s why. In one eye-span you can see 2 startling images:
  1. Some of the most archtecturally modern and marvellous office structures you can find in India.
  2. The road outside which is broken and muddy, with very little maintainance, surrounded by barren dry land with almost no landscaping or signboards.
It is as if these blocks have just been “placed” on the huge block of barren, rural concrete. There is hardly any greenery – the place doesn’t seem to have “life” – particularly the DLF area. I honestly do not know if all this comes under DLF or the Government – but neither of them seems to be doing anything about it.. especially the DLF area. Philosophically speaking, Gurgaon represents “the ethos of India” (as one of my uncles put it!) – peaceful co-existence of the developed and the rural. Peaceful? – I don’t really know.
Even more philosophically speaking, this is probably the reason why people here seem to be a little rude at times – because there is no greenery – nothing to look forward to, nothing to soothe their eyes and nothing to soothe their minds. No wonder, there are signboards on the road which say this:
If parked, tyres will be deflated!
“If parked tyres will be deflated?” – I have traveled to quite a few places across India – but a sign-board evoking such strong anti-hospitality (for lack of a better word!) sentiment is a first.
Gurgaon has some of the best malls in the country – Ambience Mall – in all its size and its grandeur is probably the only mall in India that reminds me of the Mega Mall in Kuala Lumpur. And these seem to be respite for all those in Gurgaon (like me!) desirous of “civilization.” There are a lot of good people staying here – but they need some more greenery to instill more good LIFE into them!