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Focus on Customer-centricity

The larger game plan prescribed by experts in retail, technology and design stated clearly that the customer needs to be placed at the centre of all programs if enterprises have to compete

Vikram Sharma, co-founder of Carcrew, highlighted the role of technology in the kitchen value chain. He focused on the installation side of the business, and stressed that measurement is often a problem. If there’s even a small gap between what is measured and what gets delivered, the customer will have to live with a defective kitchen throughout life. “Most kitchens are not defect-free; there are some visible or invisible defects which lead to dissatisfied customers, besides re-service or replacement expenses,” Sharma explained that his tech-based startup Wify (We Install for You) is helping solve the problem of inefficient installations by using technologies including AR and VR.

About Vikram Sharma: A Harvard Business School graduate, Sharma is a strategy and operations advisor to PEs and MNCs based in India and the US. Currently, he is ED at Carcrew, a technology platform for aftermarket sales and services of automobiles.

The new way of retailing is phygital – blending physical stores with digital experiences – explained Harshvardhan Singh Chauhan, head of marketing and phygital at DLF Malls. Citing research and his experience with Lukout, DLF’s phygital mobile app, Chauhan brought out the essence of seamless engagement with customers, whether in-store or outside. “Companies that transform digitally have highly engaged customers. These customers are two times more likely to purchase their preferred brand, even when a competitor has a better product or price.”

About DLF: DLF is credited for pioneering India’s retail revolution through iconic malls DLF Promenade, Delhi; DLF Place, Delhi; DLF City Centre, Chandigarh; and DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon; besides the first luxury destination DLF Emporio, also in Delhi.

What will appliances of the future be like? How will they serve us? Nitesh Mathur, director–marketing with BSH Home Appliances, took the audience through a virtual journey. He explained how BSH was integrating AI and IoT into its products, to give consumers a future-ready kitchen. “The megatrend is ‘connectivity’, wherein a single app will control household appliances of multiple brands. This will take connected kitchens to a different level altogether.”

About BSH: BSH is a leading player in the home appliance industry. The company’s portfolio includes 13 well-known brands like Bosch and Siemens, as well as the eco-system brand Home Connect, and service brands like Kitchen Stories.

Gopal Dwivedi, IKC Kitchen Professional 2019 award winner and business head at Livspace, asserted that it was the designer’s role to bring the client’s vision to life. Dwivedi explained how Livspace had emerged as India’s more dynamic technology platform in the interior contracting space. “Both manufacturers and retailers should leverage technology to close the gap between expectations and reality. I have found that AR and VR both hold a lot of promise for the future of interior design, particularly in the kitchen space.”

About Livspace: Livspace, a design and technology-first start-up, offers a complete home interior design and renovation platform. Launched in 2015, its investors include TPG Growth, Goldman Sachs, Helion, Bessemer, and Jungle.

Design appeals to the senses; it ensures the product is useful and fault-free. Design differentiates one from another. This means that design need not be limited to the product or its packaging; it should permeate every aspect of the activity. Radhika Vishwanathan, seasoned interior designer and Chairperson IIID–Delhi, explained the need for design thinking. She shared experiences from her recent visit to Japan, where, she says, design thinking is ingrained in their system. She also said that it was time for business houses to take cognisance and consider design as a fundamental function of their operations.


Also read: Growth through Professionalism

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