Nishit Nanda, CEO, Consumer Business - Khimji Jewels & CEO, youlry.com

Nishit is a technophile and loves all things virtual, cloud and code-driven. He is also an avid student of human behaviour, with his interests continuously sharpened by how people behave, buy and share in today’s melted age of data, technology and connected dynamism. When he joined the family business of jewellery retail in 2013, he made it his mandate to disrupt positively the age-old ways of doing business by infusing accountability, data democracy and technology-led initiatives in the way jewellery was made and sold. Today, he is successfully putting in motion the many moving parts of a digital commerce ecosystem for jewellery and lifestyle retail. Rock-solid ethics, transparency and an unwavering focus on results characterise the core approach of this young leader when it comes to meeting, tackling and surpassing one milestone after another in arguably one of the most complex sectors in the world – that of e-commerce jewellery retailing. When not at work, Nishit can be found tinkering with codes and listening intently to the latest keynotes of tech titans globally.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Everything we do now is a conscious choice that reflects a shift in our behavioural patterns. We perceive and consume almost everything differently. From cuisines to content, from experiences to expectations.

Amidst all this volatility, a favourite hobby for most of us and a necessity for all of us has also transformed immensely. The pandemic completely changed the face of shopping – how we buy things, what we buy, and where we buy them from. A closer look at emerging trends reveals that many of these changes are here to stay, sometimes even for the better. 

The focus shift

The pandemic threw a lot of light on our lives, giving us perspective on things we took for granted earlier. As most of us lived in an oasis through the past months, these insights affected our retail behaviour directly. Consumer focus shifted during the pandemic, bringing certain trends to the forefront. 

The market for health and wellness saw a steep rise in business as we began to concentrate on what we could no longer assume a given. The demand for hygiene and personal health products grew, and it looks like this revelation is definitely going to stay. 

Conscious consumption and value-based purchasing also became important during this time. With most of our lives in economic turmoil, impulse buying slowly started to fade. Today, a lot of us are buying things that we really need, that hold real value for us, and offer us multiple benefits. 

And of course, the stress on economies worldwide threw small and local businesses into complete chaos. Many struggled to survive and often came to a grinding halt. However, the pandemic brought us closer to our communities and local economies. The past months have seen a huge surge in love for local products as the average consumer endeavoured to do their bit for drowning businesses. Going local has proved to be hugely beneficial for both consumers and retailers, making it a solid trend that is here for good. 

Going shopping means going online

While the digital marketplace has existed for some time now, the past couple of years put it into overdrive. As we stayed at home, our use of digital tools increased exponentially. Staying connected online in a physically disconnected world meant blurring the lines between work, lifestyle and social interaction more than ever before. 

Especially for shopping. We turned to the internet to fulfil every need. Even traditional shoppers abandoned their old methods and long-standing trust for brick-and-mortar stores to get their retail experiences online. This is a trend that promises to continue even in the post-COVID world. 

Meanwhile, brands have responded to this explosion with great marketing zest – innovating and redefining buying processes, honing personalisation, and harnessing the power of technology to offer all of us a retail experience that is individualised and nuanced.  

Shopping at the fingertips

Research has shown that the mobile phone has become a primary point of purchase for a lot of us. Considering the digital boom in India, with even rural areas getting access to smartphones, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

The pandemic, however, pushed this behaviour even further as the convenience and accessibility of mobile phones made online purchases simpler and more seamless. The fact that online shopping completes the purchase cycle with home delivery, easy returns, and more only adds to the delights of shopping through a mobile phone. Everything is available and literally at our fingertips. 

This coupled with the fact that we spend a lot of time scrolling through social media feed made way for another interesting insight on consumer behaviour. Today, most people turn to social media platforms and influencer recommendations for brand considerations and purchases. The need to experience a product first-hand has been almost completely replaced by a vicarious feel of a brand. 

The sheer ease and accessibility of this mobile retail experience makes it something that will last for years to come. 

Experimental over loyal

The pandemic also saw a dip in customer loyalty for any particular brand. This was fuelled by the fact that we had more time on our hands to experiment with more brands, discover new interests and skills, as well as commit to local businesses. 

From cuisines to apparel to accessories to technology, these months have seen us all trying something new in different ways. 

Pandemic-induced convenience

With digital purchasing taking over, brick-and-mortar stores have struggled to keep up during the pandemic. That’s why many brands have adopted and added certain digital-first aspects to their business, including home deliveries, curated recommendations, contactless payments and more. 

Today, most of us have emerged as more conscious and aware buyers. We are less prepared to compromise on the quality of not just the products and brands we choose, but also the retail experience we are offered. So, while the pandemic has turned our worlds upside-down, the world of shopping has somehow become even more fulfilling and delightful. A silver lining is what we like to call it. 

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