PROFILE

Suresh Chaganti

Consulting Partner, TCS

Having spent 20+ years in consulting and technology leadership roles across multiple industry verticals that encompass the entire consumer value chain — Omni-Channel Retail, E-Commerce,  Distribution, Manufacturing, Market Research — Suresh brings fresh and well thought out perspectives.

Suresh implemented multiple ERP, CRM and Warehouse Management systems, along with rolling out new sales channels in a variety of retail marketplaces such as Macy’s, Amazon Vendor Central, Amazon Seller Central, and Fulfilled by Amazon.

Suresh co-founded VectorScient, a Predictive Analytics software for Retail and Distributors.

To learn more, please visit: vectorscient.com

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  • Posted on: 06/24/2022

    Is the metaverse opportunity getting any clearer?

    The technology is at a very nascent stage, and the uses are not clear yet. Smart retailers and brands would keep an eye out by having a small team tasked to keep up with the developments in this space, educate leadership, and be ready to execute when it’s about to become mainstream. It takes a bit of intuition and perspective to separate hype from reality. Overall it is good to adopt a “fast follower” strategy.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2022

    Will ‘shrinkflation’ grow into a big problem for CPG brands?

    Shrinkflation erodes trust in the brand, particularly when outer packaging dimensions remain the same. Cutting back on aggressive promotions and bundling products is a better approach. This is also a great time to build on brand loyalty by giving customers manufacturers' coupons.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2022

    How long until the metaverse reaches mainstream appeal?

    The experiences have to be organic and integrated with the physical world. The concept of live events in the metaverse has great potential. Imagine going backstage, seeing artists up close, and maybe even interacting with them. E-commerce in those contexts such as buying merchandise and advertised products is natural. It is probably three to five years away. In the meantime, we will go through few gimmicky iterations like avatars etc., with no real value but a lot of novelty.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2022

    Are price freezes and pledges worthwhile in inflationary climates?

    It makes sense for retailers already positioned as value leaders. Aldi and Old Navy fall into that category. It is a way to cement their brand perception. It may not work for luxury retailers where customers do not expect such messaging.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2022

    Will customers know everything about products with digital ID?

    This is exciting technology with practical uses to assure authenticity and safety. Privacy could be an issue until laws catch up to prevent abuse. But the benefits far outweigh the risks or concerns.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2022

    Will Amazon’s fuel surcharge irritate its marketplace sellers?

    5% is a significant charge and the scales are loaded in favor of Amazon. They will get an additional 5% that the sellers may not be able to pass on to the customers. And Amazon will most likely not raise prices to match up with what it is asking its sellers to do. So more direct sales for Amazon. Amazon can optimize at multiple levels to its benefit. The lesson for marketplace sellers has been same all along: Diversify the sales channels, develop own sales channel.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2022

    Will retailers be ready when the third-party cookies crumble?

    This is yet another place where customer-centric companies understood the importance of direct connection and invested in knowing them better. Third-party cookies are like a sugar rush. They give an immediate revenue high, but are very detrimental to growth and not sustainable. For businesses accustomed to buying growth, this is a bitter yet much needed pill. For some, it could be too late and they may perish.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2022

    Lululemon joins the footwear race with new running shoes

    It appears consumer behavior and preferences for the sports footwear category is different from apparel. Footwear is unique in how it impacts comfort and performance even for casual runners. If Lululemon intends to position its footwear beyond the style aspect, it needs to compete with serious, established players. While footwear looks like an adjacent market and natural extension, the risk is in diluting its focus. Unless Lululemon is able to come up with a true differentiator with design, R&D and positioning, the footwear market might turn out to be a tough one to crack.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2022

    Albertsons puts its digital transformation on the fast track

    Many technology leaders believe that their value comes from building something unique - this comes from hubris or ignorance. And they try to build in-house, instead of focusing their efforts on architecture and integrating stuff. In nearly every case, those tech initiatives becomes millstone and drag the entire business. Most leaders believe that their business is truly unique or there is no product out there that does what they need to do. The critical question is - is it driving a competitive advantage? And is the advantage sustainable if it takes six to 12 months or more to build?
  • Posted on: 03/01/2022

    What’s the path to building customer centric supply chains?

    Customer-centric supply chains are a good idea. As the article rightly pointed out, it requires C-level buy-in and alignment of merchandising which is front-end operation and product development and sourcing which is a back-end function. There is a several-week/few month gap between the two because of lead times. So what does it really mean to be customer-centric from a supply chain perspective? It means analyzing available data to understand the negative factors as well as the positive side. It means not just doubling up on what customers bought, but understanding why customers are not buying. Is it because of front-end issues on pricing, positioning, and promotions, or the back-end issues - quality, availability, and relevance? It requires much greater alignment between category management, marketing and merchandising, and the whole supply chain - the alignment required is orders of magnitude higher than doing just one function such as marketing better. But this is the way to go and grow. We can bet that more sophisticated companies are looking at ways to create their competitive advantage and this surely is one of the ways.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2022

    Will Foot Locker be better off long-term with fewer Nike shoes on its shelves?

    Having a large concentration of customers is OK for monopolistic industries and industries that need extraordinarily large capital investments. Aircraft manufacturer, oil and gas fall into that category. Basically if the barriers to enter into the industry are very high, it is legitimate to have high concentrations because of mutual dependence - as in the case of the U.S. government and Northorop, Lockheed, etc. Barriers to entry are probably lowest in retail and distribution. This has been the case since Amazon arrived 20+ years ago. For Foot Locker executives not to see this writing on the wall 5+ years ago at least is disappointing.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2022

    Walmart wants to make deliveries for independent grocers

    It is impractical for smaller players to invest in delivery services of their own. They need to partner with someone. And the risks of getting cannibalized are everywhere. Pure-play delivery services are now stocking products of their own. Retailers like Walmart are getting into delivery services. These delivery partners will become competitors in no time. Independent grocers should carefully evaluate their own competitive position in the local market, their growth plans and strategize accordingly.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2022

    Will Foot Locker be better off long-term with fewer Nike shoes on its shelves?

    It is a failure of strategy when 75 percent of sales are coming from a single supplier -- especially from a brand like Nike which has a lot more power, reach, and brand equity of their own. Looking back, Foot Locker should have diversified to include in other brands and develop own brands/private labels. It may not be too late, but Foot Locker sure is running out of time.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2022

    Are c-stores mostly becoming ‘restaurants that sell gas’?

    For most convenience stores, cheaper gas is a tactic to get the people to walk into the store. The profit margins are not in selling gas, but other products. C-stores becoming restaurants that also happen to sell gas is the logical extension. But I am not so optimistic about c-stores' ability to execute. For one, restaurants are a different competence. Even in locations where onsite restaurants are operated, food is mediocre at best. Instead of an owned restaurant, perhaps partnering with chain restaurants. If the location is big enough, creating a mini-food court might work better.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2022

    Why has Kirkland Signature been so successful?

    The key is in sourcing, SKU, and merchandising strategies, focused on value and transparency. They have limited SKUs and one size, which allows them to be highly focused on price/quality. They show the per-unit price and place them next to branded CPG products that clearly show the customers the price difference. Building trust in the quality and brand equity of Costco has been decades in making, and it is unstoppable now.

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