THE FACE OF
When the fourth industrial revolution arrived by 2000's, digital transformation became
inescapably integrated in the lives of many. The following years also showed how
long-time companies and brands, which were not able to reinvent themselves or keep
up with the changing customers' demand, became prone to demise.
The retail industry has been in the forefront of disruptions and
challenges, in various parts of the world. While in the Philippines, we
see that digitalization maybe as not that rapid, as with the rest of the
world, there is a great interest from the Filipinos to learn about
products and services through the internet, especially through their
ETP Group, Chairman and CEO Naresh Ahuja shares timely and practical
insights on what retailers in the Philippines can expect in the face of
digital transformation. A 31-year old software company founded in
1988, ETP at its early operations focused on mid-sized companies,
developing bespoke applications. Over the years they have now become
a platform company focused on omni-channel retail for large
enterprises across 24 countries in Asia Pacific.
The Asia Pacific Retail Transformation
Over the last few years, we saw an emergence in Asia in terms of
opportunities for retail businesses. The region has been considered by
the biggest retail companies for expansion and at the same time
e-commerce has also risen in various parts of Asia, especially in China.
According to the Deloitte’s report "Global Powers of Retailing 2019,"
24% or 60 out of 250 top global retail players are present in Asia. With
booming population, growing economy and
increasing middle class, Asia is becoming a haven for retail businesses.
Throughout the years ETP has also been supporting the growth of
retailers in the region by establishing across Indonesia, Philippines,
Singapore, Malaysia, India, the Middle East, South Korea, Australia and
"We focus primarily on what we call Enterprise accounts which are
companies who value investment in technology and see the difference it
can make to their day-to-day operations when implemented correctly,"
shared Mr. Ahuja.
He added that retailers who do not see technology investments and
related service costs as a necessary evil, are endangered, though they
can still turn around if they change their mindsets.
The State of Local Digital Infrastructure
Zooming in to Philippine setting, Mr. Ahuja said that retailers here are
long-term in their thinking, invest deeply in their business and keep a
strong view on processes and people.
"They're very strong in merchandising and understanding the local
needs both in terms of location and product. They are very open minded
to re-looking at their processes and technology."
He added that the most exciting thing about the Philippine retailers is
their shift to focus on customer experience from customer service.
"But now I think the understanding has come through that it's not just
about service. It's about the overall experience both offline and online
and in all possible channels in a unified manner with a consistent ability
to meet the needs of customers and communicate effectively," he