The Yang Of Retail

The Yang Of Retail

Saisangeeta Israni, GM - Marketing, Spykar Lifestyles

An alumnus of IES, Saisangeeta brings-in 15 years of work experience in Marketing, Consumer Advertising, Brand Management and Digital Media.

From being the most talked about consumer, scrutinized for her idiosyncrasies, to championing startups and driving the economy, women are finding a new relevance in Retail. As retail opportunity in India grows, the need for creative minds in visualizations, merchandising & designing, and experiential arenas, are also high in demand. More than ever, a creative mind is needed to create disruptive ideas, and women, with their multifaceted personalities, multi-tasking abilities, steeled determination and fierce commitments, make ideal candidates for this industry.

While women in mature industries like bio-pharma, banking, insurance, and others have already made their mark, today’s sunrise industries and service economy also has several women in their business roles. Be it media, advertising, hospitality or fashion startups, women entrepreneurs and CXOs are a recurrence. Globally, women have been a part of the biggest phenomena of our times. Be it Sheryl Sandberg steering FB through a crises or Indira Nooyi driving Pepsico to a healthier economy, women in leadership roles across industries is a blip on the landscape. Closer to home, Lara Balsara, now steering Madison Media or Shraddha Sharma, Founder, Your Story, are known faces. They may not be retail leaders, but they ‘make’ retail leaders.

Within the fashion retail too, women are a valuable asset. Playing a lead role in merchandise designing, retail planning, buying & forecasting, fashion and trend marketing, creating collections women have proven to be adept, imaginative and disruptive. Coming-up with newest trends, denim washes, hybrid fabrics, as well as innovative campaigns, content planning and visual merchandising, every team has women in key roles. Today, fashion brands, as well as fashion retail teams have a healthy mix of team members to manage businesses.
As the retail scene in India heats-up, it is even more challenging for marketeers to create a product that delivers to all expectations. International trends combined with breakthrough innovations are required at every stage from manufacturing to marketing, to be able to beat the stress of competition. Creative marketing, use of social marketing, astute media planning, innovative packaging of the idea and a lot of intellectual detailing is required before marketing the product. Women in various capacities, despite different backgrounds and existing personal demands are involved through every such stage of meeting industry requirements.

As retail opportunity in india grows, the need for creative minds in visualizations, merchandising & designing, and experiential arenas, is also high in demand

As women have the responsibilities of managing multiple roles, the industry has to be more accommodative of their realities. Would an organization be willing to trade-off a great skill set or intellect capacity purely for the sake of working hours or inflexibility? Or would an organization want to lose a resource because of the candidate who cannot manage the proximity and be physically present at all times? While everyone believes in equality and equal treatment of men & women, we are also all aware that retail is physically draining. Then, should we create considerations for women in retail? As the mandate for maternity leaves has been increased to six months for women, such progressive measures, recognizing the responsibilities of the gender that arise from societal norms, cultural values and family pressures, should be more and often, therefore making retail a comfortable environment for women and men.

Retail requires working at odd hours, meeting of deadlines going beyond the 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM job. It requires travelling to off-sites and small towns, if the brand is in an expansion mode. To work effectively requires interaction with stakeholders within and out of the organization. A woman is capable to achieve all this and more. What is required is a reassurance for her safety and adequate checks in the system to ensure that she is comfortable and unharmed. Once she is reassured of her safety, she is capable of immersing herself completely in the project to deliver some great results and distinguishing work.

Current Magazine