Learn about Retail marketing from Jermina Menon

Social commerce is going to see growth in the coming decade. We are already seeing many brands which are Instagram only.”

– Jermina Menon, Chief Strategy Officer at Knowetic


When it comes to Retail, India stands at 5th position in the world. More than 10 crore people are involved in the Retail business in India.

And like other industries, Retail is also changing with the adoption of technology and newer marketing methods.

In this article, Jermina explains retail marketing is growing and what tactics marketers can apply in today’s time. 

Read on to know more.


1. How Retail Marketing has evolved in the past and where it’s heading?

Retail in India per se, organised retail, is just starting to mature as an industry. 

India is a land of shopkeepers yet organised retail only started in the early 90s, got more visible at the start of the century and the last decade has propelled it further with the growth and boom of e-commerce. 

Retail will continue to evolve as customers change, their lifestyles change and their incomes grow. Indian retail has not followed any international market in terms of its growth trajectory. 

When organised retail started it was metro centric, later it spread to Tier 1 & Tier 2. 

But not as much as the demand that was latent and existing in those markets. Malls followed organised retail, which again followed a similar trajectory with 75-80% being in metro cities.

E-commerce was the first to break the barrier and penetrate the Tier 2, 3 & now even 4 & 5 markets.  

The way I see it is that India is still under-penetrated when it comes to retail (definitely when you compare to  America or any European market) and hence all formats of retail will grow – organised, mom-and-pop stores, malls and eCommerce. 

The winner will be decided by who offers the right product at the right price. 

Retail is also going to get more tech-driven. Not just in eCommerce but also in traditional and organised retail. Social commerce is going to see growth in the coming decade. 

We are already seeing many brands which are Instagram only – they develop a unique product, and unique niche of customers and are selling directly to them from such channels. 


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2. What are some Retail and FMCG Marketing tactics that Businesses can adopt?

I think 2020 has shown that we need to be agile and ready to respond to customers’ changing needs. This agility and ear to the ground approach will continue to be important. 

Listening to the customer and understanding their needs has never been more important than now. Based on your specific sector, the response would need to be adapted accordingly. 


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3. Can you share an effective Retail Marketing strategy you have come across lately?

Oh, there are so many! My favourite is of course what my client Smoor has done during Covid. 

From being a brick-and-mortar anchored business, the way they pivoted to being a digitally anchored business is phenomenal. The numbers and growth achieved are truly commendable. 

Also, some of the best retail strategies I saw in 2020 came from local stores. The way they adapted their merchandise, their service, and the innovative solutions to tackle social distancing were truly commendable. 

A neighbourhood store launched such an efficient WhatsApp ordering system during the lockdown, and its operation was so flawless, I would applaud them for their agility & ability to execute.


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4. What mistakes marketers should avoid when it comes to Retail Marketing?

The biggest mistake – and this is something all marketers tend to make – is to think you are the customer. You are not! 

You are biased towards your brand, your job is to get the customer biased too. This continues to top the list of the bubble marketers tend to remain in.

Another is going digital for the sake of it. Digital is a tool, not a method. 

You need to be clear about what you want to do & what you wish to achieve, then select the right digital tool and implement it.


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About Jermina (in her own words)

Being an 80s child, Tv advertising was not only a source of entertainment but also a cultural aspect of our lives. 

Later as I went to college, I was extremely active in all extracurricular activities be it participating in intercollegiate events or as part of the Rotary Club. 

We need to broach brands for sponsorships and would visit many corporate offices to get the same. 

The visits I enjoyed the most were to the Ogilvy office, which was adjacent to my college, for the annual Chocolate Day sponsorship for their client Cadburys. 

The casual atmosphere, and the friendly interactions there (vs. other corporates’) made it clear that an advertising agency was a fun place to be.

And with my gregarious personality, it seemed to be the perfect match. That’s how I decided I wanted to be in advertising and landed my first job on completing my graduation, with Lintas.

 However, I started as an accountant (being a finance graduate) & later shifted to ‘real advertising’. After 15 years in advertising, shifting to marketing was a natural progression.   

What your competitor or another player is doing may not work for you. 


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