Daalchini Technologies organised a webinar on ‘Intelligent Retailing’ wherein Rajat Wahi, partner at Deloitte India, Nitin Kathuria, executive vice president – supply chain at Marico, Anuj Rustagi, COO foods – chocolate, coffee, confectionery and new category development, ITC and Anuj Krishan, co-founder and CEO, BRB Popped Chips, were present. At the webinar, the company revealed insights from its in-house brand survey, which revealed that Intelligent Retail is the key growth driver for the food and beverage industry. Drawn from the responses of over 250 direct-to-consumer brands, including ITC, Cremica, Tops, Bisleri, Amul, Millet Bowl, Raw Pressery to name a few.

The panellists discussed changing consumer behaviour patterns in the food and beverage industry, the future of shopping experience, understanding the customers with Intelligent Retail Technology and the factors driving it. Driven by the IoT-enabled technology, digitally connected vending machines and smart-stores in the food and beverage industry have been identified as a new-age retail distributor which will accelerate the growth of the industry.

During the period from 2021-2025, Indian food tech sector is expanding at a CAGR of 39% according to a report by Research and Markets. This demonstrates the growth of the food tech industry, making it the fastest-growing D2C category. With the advancement of technological disruptions and owing to the pandemic, perception of customers and brands towards the intelligent retail offerings for the food and beverage have changed. Leading D2C brands anticipate ‘Intelligent retail’ to be the future of the food retail industry.

Daalchini’s in-house survey revealed the same, highlighting the robust growth potential of intelligent retail as it enables the D2C brands to make data-driven product and merchandising decisions with valuable consumer insights.

Key Highlights of the Study:
Ability to acquire new customers with the lower investment rate
75% of the D2C brands believe that intelligent retail allow them to acquire new customers with low investment as compared to (65%) modern trade outlets, (52%) general trade and (42%) distribution aggregators.

Revenue Growth
95% of the D2C brands anticipate future revenue growth with intelligent retail amid the pandemic as it provides safe and contactless home-cooked meals/snacks through its phy-gital technology. Additionally, they expect better revenue growth in the near future owing to the higher margins and profits by cutting out the middlemen.

A better retail channel
75% of the D2C brands find the F&B Intelligent Retail more feasible for selling smaller Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) as compared to modern trade, general trade, and distribution which stands at 65%, 52%, and 42% rates respectively.

Consumer insights
75% of D2C brands have been using customer insights available through the Daalchini app and partner interface that highlights the significance of intelligent vending machines in terms of consumers’ insights.

Daalchini’s new-age-retail-tech: Online inventory management, digital payment, value for money, and brand recognition.

In terms of the smart shopping experience, most of the associated brands have highlighted the key advantages like digital payments (84%), zero delivery cost (80%), contactless payment (80%), and instant gratification (75%). Additional benefits like online inventory management, smaller SKUs, and brand recognition have been the catalyst behind the growing popularity of intelligent vending machines. These brands have shown overwhelming responses to continue their engagement with such intelligent vending machines.

Positive impact on sales
60% of D2C brands believe that their sales have improved owing to the Intelligent Vending Machines.

A majority of the respondents agreed that there has been a decline in traditional retailing since the onset of the pandemic while the usage of intelligent retailing has increased. 62% of the brands recognize the importance of intelligent retailing that helps upcoming brands to stay ahead of the post-pandemic curve. On the other sphere, 17% of brands are in the favour of distribution aggregator whereas 9 percent voted for modern/ general trade.

Prerna Kalra, co-founder and CEO of Daalchini Technologies, said, “We are delighted with the overwhelming positive responses from over 250+ D2C brands. It is heartening to witness the growing popularity of disruptive and tech-driven solutions which are mutually beneficial for D2C brands as well as consumers.”

“Aimed at identifying the relevance of new-age distribution channels from various D2C brands, the objective of this survey was to understand the early industry trends while drawing actionable insights. We will continue to develop technology driven retail solutions for our partners to deliver an easy access and improved buying experience for existing and potential consumers. Keeping the positive momentum, we will remain committed to our customers’ base considering the key consumer insights and changes in their buying behaviour,” added Kalra.

Vidya Bhushan, co-founder & COO, Daalchini Technologies, said, “This pandemic has forced our hands to change several popular practices of retail. Customers have started to value safety far more than the experience and convenience. Challenger brands have gravitated towards the retail channels where they, unlike the pre-pandemic era, have level playing fields with the incumbents. This study reinforces our belief that the distribution channel based on tech-driven unmanned kiosks like ours, is the best-suited channel to serve the emerging needs of the present-day consumer and brand.”