Philippine Retailing 2019 Philippine Retailing 2019 Q4_Digital - Page 4

COVER STORY THE FACE OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN 2020 AND BEYOND 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 mobile phones. 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 New Zealand. "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 added.