India is the fifth largest global destination in the retail space. The sector has been growing at a CAGR of 13%, while online retail is forecast to grow 31% year on year over the next few years. The sector accounts for 8% of the country’s employment. And as the industry grows and evolves, there will be opportunities and need for upskilling in the retail industry, as players adopt the latest technologies.
`Understanding Retail : For Customer Service Associate’ authored by Dr. N.V.R. Nathan and Suma M.A. is an excellent compilation of the new basics of retail in India, describing perfectly every nuance of the working of the retail sector. What I really loved about this book is how the authors have ensured an interesting narrative in a concise manner. The book starts with orientation to retail, and evolution of retail in India. Now, this is very important for both trainers and learners in this sector, to understand the uniqueness of this sector.
Another interesting feature is that the authors have kept the narrative current, keeping in view the evolution of modern retail in India. The book introduces the reader to fashion retail, food and non-food retail. What I found really engaging is the various methods of selling that the authors have listed out – the BSA method, Spin selling, FAB technique, TFE technique. It’s not just retailers who are trying to make a sale. All businesses are trying to sell a product, an idea, a concept, a service. And these concepts of selling can be adapted to any industry.
We’ve heard so much about how retailers worldwide were burdened with huge inventories during the lockdowns. This book talks about one of the most important aspects of retail – inventory management and how to maintain optimum levels of inventory.
The book has not missed out any aspect of the retail sector – it talks about customer service, customer relationship management, the job description of a sales representative, loss management. And what is very important in today’s time – staff and customer safety.
`Understanding Retail’ made for interesting reading. I’m sure the book will be useful not just in retail management schools, but also for the brick-and-mortar retailer and the numerous e-commerce and digital retailers, big and small, that have sprung up due to the pandemic. The book should certainly be translated in other Indian languages to benefit retailers across the country.