Hari Menon (Photo: Raj Sam/Mint)
Hari Menon (Photo: Raj Sam/Mint)

Tech will bring big on par with small: Hari Menon

Co-founder of online grocery startup BigBasket shares five ideas that will impact the future of retail in the decade ahead

2020 once seemed futuristic enough for governments and think tanks to set targets for transformation at scale. With the new year now just weeks away, Mint invites entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to share their vision for the next decade. Hari Menon, co-founder of online grocery startup BigBasket, shares five ideas that will impact the future of retail in the decade ahead.

Private vs public

The trade-off between hyper-personalization and privacy will see some resolution. Both offline and online retail will continue their quest to create personalized experiences for customers, who, in turn, would struggle to balance sharing information for the sake of improved personalized experiences with concerns about privacy. Regulations such as GDPR will have to become more common across the world to help governments find this balance on behalf of customers and retailers.

Customers & conscious choice

Sustainability will take a leap. Increasing consumer awareness and regulatory pressure will drive innovation in development of alternatives to plastic and other non-recyclable packaging materials. Consumer choices will drive health, organic, and eco-friendly products.

Finding common ground

By embracing digital, kirana stores will continue to remain relevant to millennials and post-millennials. Many of them will become part of the omni-channel strategy of large-box retailers to help them stay competitive. Kirana stores and big box retailers will develop a strong symbiotic relationship.

Taking human out of retail

We’re likely to see a breakout of human-less retail. It could help offline retail gather more knowledge about customers. It will be interesting to see how regulatory authorities balance this innovation with the exclusion that human-less retail formats would create for those not technologically savvy.

Farmers take control of the way they sell

Technology will drive inclusion. Retail will further disintermediate the supply chain to give the maximum share of the customer’s rupee to farmers and other small suppliers. Technology will strengthen the system of price collection across markets and real-time dissemination online. Trading through online platforms is a real possibility in the not-too-distant future. Discerning farmers can participate in these and take control of their destiny. It would potentially allow farmers from the remotest corners to have access to markets across the country. Mobile apps will allow them to access complex knowledge and information at the press of a button.

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