PROFILE

Venky Ramesh

CPG/Retail enthusiast, blogger and a couch potato warrior

Venky has over two decades of multi-disciplinary experience in the consumer goods and retail industry spanning across corporate strategy, supply chain, and sales. During his career, he has worked with 20+ CPG/Retail companies across home and personal care; health and beauty; food and beverage; pet care; and specialty segments, helping them win in the digital world through innovation strategy, experience design, design-led product engineering, digital consumer engagement, insights and so on. He closely follows, and actively writes about the digital trends disrupting the consumer industry.

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  • Posted on: 07/28/2021

    Has RFID at retail finally passed the long-awaited tipping point?

    By the time RFID gets fully adopted, newer, cheaper, smarter technologies will replace them. I think retailers should look towards leapfrogging, rather than force-fit the technology of 2004.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2021

    Weather forecast predicts retailers will face more record-setting heat waves and storms

    Climate change is a big threat to all the inhabitants of the planet -- from humans to animals. Just the fact that we still have retailers using plastic bags tells me not enough is being done to fight climate change. A CGT paper in line with the Paris agreement outlines the measures retailers and manufacturers need to take to keep global warming well under 1.5 degrees increase by 2050, but that requires a lot more urgent action. While Covid accelerated e-commerce, it gave rise to one of the biggest sources of GHG -- vehicle emissions. Thankfully, the work-from-home culture is providing a good counter-balance to it.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2021

    Will smaller retailers pay to use Walmart’s tech and transform their own businesses?

    Walmart is following Amazon's lead in 1) creating a marketplace 2) monetizing data through Walmart connect and now 3) monetizing technology, but given their legacy origin it's really admirable they are able to take a digital native like Amazon head-on.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2021

    Will ‘sound commerce’ make some noise?

    It is interesting to how personalization is becoming more and more sophisticated. And why not? Brands that are paying attention to the way consumers interact with their products in a personalized way earn more loyalty and command higher pricing. There are more and more interesting examples we are hearing every day of personalization at the intersection of media and retail. 1. Walmart partnered with eko on shoppable videos where their customers can get inspired by participating in live (e.g. cooking) shows, get product recommendations interactively helped by a celebrity and, try before they buy (interact with a product like they would do in a store fully controlling the experience), 2. Ulta partnered with supergreat for shoppable livestreaming with influencers This example of Magalu is another step in progress on the same journey.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2021

    Will the Delta variant keep shoppers and unvaccinated workers at home?

    Unlike last year, this year, retailers and consumers are well prepared with a plan B for all aspects of their life (e.g. work, shopping, education). God forbid, if the Delta variant were to go out of control, retailers will need to ensure products are well stocked, have even better ways to engage with customers in a much more fun way to drive discovery and trial and have a reliable and cost effective delivery in place.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2021

    Should retailers continue the chatbot deception?

    There will soon be a time when the sentiments will reverse. People will want to talk to a chatbot more than a human. That will happen when the AI technologies will improve further to be able to not just mimic human interaction better, but much more smartly and with greater speed. At all times, it is best to disclose and be transparent with customers.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2021

    Macy’s should have stayed local

    There is probably something to learn here from Albertson's here whose vision is to “Become locally great and nationally strong retailer.” They are executing on that vision through the following. 1. Know your customer: Using the power of data to understand shopper intent to deliver customized offer, create new services and drive loyalty, as people move across different channels. 2. Don’t let go of their hand while they cross the road: Shoppable maps with dynamic hyperlocal features, conversational commerce, and predictive shopping list building. 3. Byte your tongue but speak their language: Using Natural Language Processing to interact better with customers digitally and to empower store associates to save time and make better decisions. 4. Don’t just be a self-fulfilling professor: Implement time sensitive and cost efficient BOPIS (using Micro fulfillment centers). 5. Last mile but not the least: Efficient last mile delivery experimenting with remote-controlled delivery robots.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2021

    Madewell is set on becoming a leader in the circular economy

    The younger customers being focused on sustainability, I believe, is a myth. A recent poll suggests that apparel production has more than doubled in the past 15 years while the average number of times garments are being worn has decreased by 36 percent. That coincides with the rise of social media and always-on culture which is driving up the need to buy more variety of clothes. A truly sustainable solution would be to find out alternative ways to fulfill the "virtual" demand - like selling virtual clothes.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2021

    Has Authentic Brands Group created a new brand-building model?

    Watch where the Gen Zers are shopping and what brands they are endorsing. Chances are we haven't heard of many of those brands. Chances are they are not one of the brands in the Authentic Brands portfolio. Their portfolio companies know a good deal about managing their current operations, but where they definitely need help is in figuring out how to get themselves in the consideration set of the Millennials and the neo-Millennials (Zs) and become a cool Instagrammable brand in their mind. This is where ABG could help - so my two thumbs up on their strategy.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2021

    Will retailers be jilted by the trend toward micro and hybrid weddings?

    This is a global trend. The pandemic forced restriction on gathering sizes has led to smaller scale weddings with people getting creative on the selection of the venue and the mode of attendance. The accompanying reduction in expenses and stress is surely welcomed by the bride, groom and their parents - I can hear a collective sigh of relief. Apart from retail, who will see fewer gift purchases, I think event management companies and wedding planners need to adapt to this hybrid model.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2021

    Walmart exec says robots will seriously speed up DC-to-store supply chain ops

    It is a game-changer for them even in a literal sense, because the warehouse workers were playing a human game of Tetris while moving and storing products in their DC or while loading up a truck to meet the store demand. By automating that process smartly, they could win more games by packing more products into their DCs, into their trucks while minimizing material handling.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2021

    What does it take to successfully rent customers on social commerce platforms?

    There is so much fluctuation in the marketplace today - from shifts in consumer behavior to how they purchase products - that the best approach for brands and retailers would be to continue experimenting in small ways with different models, fail fast and if successful, scale fast.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2021

    Will retailers and brands pay a steep price for greenwashing?

    I don't think anyone is looking at environment in a holistic manner. Different functions within organizations are looking at sustainability in their own silos. As a result, there has been a lot of progress that has been made towards sustainable sourcing, green manufacturing, and reusable packaging but, in the end, all that is wasted in the last-mile shipment. For retailers and brands to run more ecologically friendly operations, I think they need to come together as an ecosystem to look at it from earth's point of view (if that makes sense), rather than as individual companies or functions. It will be always good if they can align people, planet and profit objectives.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2021

    Bed Bath & Beyond adds off-hour pickups and speedier fulfillment to its ‘omni-always’ suite

    It depends on the product category. For example, someone who is buying furniture will more likely want it delivered on a weekend rather than on a workday. For such categories, it would make sense to deliver from a DC to drive efficiency while providing convenience. For other categories where the need could be more immediate, store fulfillment would make more sense.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2021

    Will ending non-competes be good for retail workers and their bosses?

    There can be a much better approach to enforcing non-compete -- by using a carrot instead of a stick. For example, one company I know pays their senior employees x months of salary in lieu of not joining a competitor within x months of leaving.

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