Conference Summary: Phygital Retail Convention 2022 (Mumbai)

September 21, 2022

Phygital Retail Convention 2022 was an exhilarating two-day event that brought together leading retail brands, e-commerce players and service providers. The event took place August 24-25, 2022 at the Westin Mumbai, Powai Lake.

The event had many exciting sessions, panel discussions, networking and a gala dinner with a felicitation ceremony. There were attendees from Landmark Group, Arvind Fashion, Shoppers Stop, Reliance and Lakme

I met with ecommerce platform leaders like Chayoos, The New Shop and Mamaearth, as well as digital service providers like Facebook, MessageBird and Firework.

In this post, I provide summaries of some of the sessions I attended.

Growth and consumerism at play in the world’s sixth largest economy


  • Shailesh Chaturvedi, MD and CEO, Arvind Fashions
  • Damodar Mall, CEO – Grocery, Reliance Retail

India is the world’s sixth largest economy and is poised to become the third largest economy later this decade.

The panelists discussed the importance of brand. The brand appreciation story is what sways customers today: the interplay of value, price and connecting emotionally. They also discussed how brands in India are innovating and what they plan to do in the coming years to connect with consumers. 

As the economy grows, consumers have attained a higher per-capita income and higher purchasing power. This presents opportunities for consumer brands, but at the same time, brands need to move from growth to profitability, efficiency and ROI.

How retail CEOs are managing their strategic priorities


  • Vineet Gautam, CEO, Bestseller
  • Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste
  • Harsh Bansal, Director, Vegas Mall & Unity Group
  • Pramod Arora, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer, PVR Cinemas
  • Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls
  • Raghav Verma, Co-Founder, Chaayos

The panelists discussed that in the “age of Phygital,” retailers need to focus on relevance, creativity and brand purpose. India has five household income categories (elite, affluent, aspirers, next billion and strugglers) and the panel contended that retail brands can build something for everyone.

We’re currently in the “age of retail 4.0” and we’re faced with numerous challenges: pandemic flare-ups, supply chain disruptions and inflation. At the same time, the challenges create opportunities. Consumers today have a renewed desire for relevance, community and belonging, and they want their brands to reflect that.

Decoding the five phases of the customer journey


  • Subodh Mehta, Senior VP and Head – Home Furniture Business, Godrej Interio
  • K G George, Senior Vice President – Retail and Alternate Channels, TTK Prestige
  • Tarak Bhattacharya, ED & CEO, Mad Over Donuts
  • Biraja Rout, Founder, Biggies Burger
  • Kunal Gupta, CEO, FACES Canada
  • Robinder Singh, Senior Director and Head of Operations, Chaayos
  • Aastha Almast, Founder, The NEW Shop
  • Sandeep Jabbal, CCA & Chief Digital Transformation & Information Officer, Shoppers Stop
  • Rajgopal Nayak, CTO, Metro Brands

The panel discussed how to perfect the art of omnichannel with a customer-centric focus. They noted the difference between technology that drives the customer journey and a deep understanding of that journey (i.e., it’s more than the technology).

The customer journey has all kinds of touchpoints, digital and in-person, that can make or break a retail experience. At each touchpoint, negative or positive emotions can be sparked by how your business performs, or how the user experience is provided.

Not only does a perfect plan for customer experience rely on the product, it also depends on how companies smartly coordinate the fragmented components of physical and digital with the help of technology. The solution needs to integrate customer service through multiple genres of retail.

Enhancing customer experiences with unified communication


  • Vinay Bhartia, Country Manager-India MessageBird
  • Arzan Singpurwalla, Channel Partner Lead – Whatsapp for Business, India

Because digital transformation changes all processes (i.e., from strategy to execution), it can be challenging to pull off. CXO’s have to get personally involved in order to activate the right technology plug-ins in order to enable the right end-to-end commerce for agility.

From production to retail storefront to check-out to inventory management and fulfillment to in-store facilities, end-to-end commerce includes the deployment and implementation of innovations and digital solutions in retail and e-commerce processes.

Enabling the right technology is of utmost importance to activate on-ground retail and ecommerce with more flexibility and ease. Digital transformation that leads to end-to-end commerce is about so much more than adopting new technologies and processes.

At its core, it’s about overcoming inertia and resistance to changing the way people think and work. Brands need to invest in understanding their customer journeys. WhatsApp, which has a 90% read rate, is the beneficiary of increased digital spend. These days, consumers discover brands by doing a search on WhatsApp.

Until next year

I enjoyed attending Phygital Retail Convention (PRC) 2022. I met a lot of experts in the retail industry, attended interesting sessions and spoke to numerous sponsors and exhibitors. Looking forward to the next PRC in 2023!