Monday, September 10, 2012

Exciting times ahead…

Its been over six weeks since I wrote in this column and happy to be back now! Well, lots have happened over the past few days. For the uninitiated – I moved off from E-Commerce, and am back to doing what I enjoy the most – Retail Development. Not that I disliked EComm or otherwise; It was an exciting stint at Indiaplaza.com where I had an opportunity to set-up the Lifestyle business, which I did to an extent. Online Retail is the next big wave in India and those who survive will reap rich benefits in the coming years as has been witnessed globally. With over 100 million Internet users in India, just about a tenth or lesser are transacting online at the moment and that too mostly buying train, bus and plane tickets. Consumption of services such as movie bookings and ordering food online is terribly low as of now. Constraints of various proportions such as online payment methods, quick and safe delivery of products, ensuring of promises made by Etailers, etc. to name a few  are noteworthy. However, many are doing their best and almost everyone seem to think that they will be the last man standing – what with dwindling interest of investors for a Series B or C funding!! Now that I am an outsider, I would have the liberty to talk about absurd valuations, selling duplicate stuff online to customers and various other atrocities – more to come on these columns soon!

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On a bright sunny afternoon in the Sumer of 2012, I got a Direct Message on Twitter from an acquaintance – whom I have never met. We become social friends, that’s more due to the mutual appreciation of each other’s work. The message that came indicated that Royal Enfield, the oldest motorcycle company in the world is looking for a person for Retail Development and if I could introduce someone for the role. Pronto – I replied, that I myself would be interested to pursue this position. And the rest is History. Or rather, I would say, History is in the making. I joined this iconic company a month ago and currently responsible for creating Lifestyle Destinations – Retail stores that don’t just sell motor cycles, but beyond. Find it difficult not to disclose any further but my professional commitments, as you would appreciate doesn’t allow me to say any more. Royal Enfield is a part of the Eicher Group and has been making motor cycles over the past 50 years at its main plant in Tiruvotriyur, an erstwhile industrial suburb of Chennai. Incidentally, this is the same place where my father served ITC Limited for over 32 years!

In the meanwhile, I have been dabbling on various topics for writing in these columns which you would see in the coming days and weeks. My travelling days have begun. Although age is catching up and I get more tired these days than before, I simply love moving from one place to another while appreciating the insights and learning that it provides during the course. Look forward to exciting times in the coming days.

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