Anything.0 is a cliche. But somehow the technology industry refuses to give up on it. And so, sticking to tradition, on Tuesday at a glitzy event in Mumbai, Kishore Biyani, the founder of Future Group—one of the largest brick and mortar retail companies in India—said that Future Group is ushering in Retail 3.0. Any discussion on anything.0 isn’t possible without understanding what the previous .0 stood for, and why it was relegated to obscurity. Also fondly called, the old way of doing things.

To Biyani’s mind, Retail 1.0 stood for the brick and mortar retail store.

Retail 2.0 stood for e-commerce companies which he also suggested is the business of Flipkart and Amazon.

And of course, now comes Retail 3.0.

Standing on a huge stage with a spotlight trained on him Biyani flips through slides, one after another. What do they have? Inspirational quotes from Bill Gates and Jack Ma. Powerpoint presentations like building an ecosystem. A series of dots connecting to form a neural network. The natives start getting restless. But then he turns it around and unveils the EasyDay store club. It is a select club, which allows entry to just 2,000 customers. Pay Rs 999 for a year and shop exclusively at this store.

The company plans to set up a store every 2km and will start with 1,100 stores by March and then grow beyond. These members get a 10% discount on the total bill and first access to certain products. And all of this layered by tech. Each member will be able to, via the app, place orders and pick their grocery up or take the home delivery option. Or just pop by the store. Scan the products via the app, get recommendations on alternatives and recipes, pay via a QR code and walk out. Or stay home and build a shopping list which can work on voice commands. “We call this blended commerce. Or Retail 3.0,” said Biyani.

There’s more. The company has enlisted Google to give Future Group heat maps, to help the company stock SKUs and open stores in the right locations. “With our searches, we can predict the rise of certain diseases in micro markets, think about how useful that could be to a pharma company,” said Rajan Anandan, MD, Google India at the event. He went on to draw a parallel with how this works for Future. In fact, he said during his presentation, Google had been running a pilot with Future Group, which gave customers coupon codes when they searched for a Big Bazaar store on Google.

Google claims it drove 100,000 customers to Big Bazaar by giving them coupons. Source: Future Group Twitter

The group has also partnered with Facebook to help it build communities. These communities would then give further knowledge on customers, the kinds of things they liked and searched for.


Patanjali Pahwa

Patanjali has spent over seven years in journalism. He last worked at Business Standard as Principal Correspondent, where he wrote on startups, e-commerce companies and venture capital. He has worked at an array of institutions, which include Forbes India, Caravan and Outlook Business. He is a Mumbaikar, born and brought up. Patanjali did his BSc in IT from Mumbai University and then got his journalism degree from IIJNM in Bangalore. He is enamoured by Ernest Hemingway and Tom Waits and may try to sneak in references to them in his stories.

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