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Panel Discussion 2017

Panel discussion on "Managing Growth through Private Label Programme"

Retail Management Program organised panel discussion on "Managing Growth through Private Label Programme" on August 19, 2017. The Panel consisted of Mr. R Sankaranarayanan, VP, Hypercity Retail Group; Mr. Rajeev Dubey, Category Head PF, Reliance Retail (Mumbai); Mr. Dharmendra Matai, Category head South, Future Consumer Ltd. (Hyderabad) & Mr. Anurag Sharma, GM (Sales & Operations), Clarks. The session was moderated by Dr. Pankaj Priya, Associate Professor, BIMTECH.

The Panel discussed about the various strategies deployed before the introduction of a private label, the advantages and risks involved in the introducing of a private label, how the production of private label products is handled, how to price the products under a private label and how these products are promoted and distributed.

The Panel also provided the students with an insight to the real life problems, failures and solutions that emerge in the retail industry with respect to private labels. The myths about the reach of private labels in the Indian retail industry were broken by Mr. R Sankaranayanan from Hyper city Retail Group. He elucidated the fact that even a small retailer packing loose sugar into small packs is creating a sort of private label product. He shared with us his valuable inputs on looking for opportunities to create a private label such as addictive habit creation in the customer with the examples of Ginger-garlic pastes, Gillette razors, etc.

Mr. Dharmendra Matai from Future Consumer Ltd. provided insights, as to why private labels are created and how private labels create value for customers by offering better or similar products at significantly lower prices by saving on promotional and distribution costs. Mr. Matai also expressed, the importance of research and placement strategy for a private label's success and that a private label could also cater to a niche market if the customers exist for that segment and are willing to pay a higher price for a desired product.

Mr. Rajeev Dubey from Reliance Retail shared the cost expectations that customers have when it comes to national brands and how private labels step in to cater to the customer's aspirations regarding quality and price. He laid emphasis on the various aspects of private label products such as background research, packaging, artwork, quality control, etc. He also shared that for a private label, when one category sees a decline, there is the possibility that a related category will see an incline (Jams vs. Spreads).

Mr. Anurag Sharma from Clarks rightly stated that India might not be a rich nation but it certainly has rich ideas. He shared the fact that the customers of a private label are value driven and not brand driven and hence they don't mind switching brands if the value proposition of a private label is higher. He also enlightened the audience to the relationship between quality of the product and customer retention. He described the importance of constant innovation & inventory control for a private label. While the success stories may seem encouraging, Mr. Anurag showed the flip side of the coin where the failure stories far outweigh the success stories and the importance of proper research and product placement is highlighted.

The panel discussion turned out to be an eye opener for the audience which majorly consists of students, who have just set out on the path to be future retailers as well as who have already had a taste of the industry experience after completing their summer internships.