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Re­tail real­es­tate is chang­ing, as stores be­gin to com­pete with the on­line ex­pe­ri­ence. Com­ing to the res­cue are new tech­nol­ogy and in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ments

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The re­tail real-es­tate mar­ket in Mum­bai is un­der­go­ing a change. And much of the rea­son is the grow­ing im­pact of e-com­merce on the re­tail sec­tor.

A re­cent JLL-CII study has found that re­tail­ers are bring­ing el­e­ments of the on­line shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence to their stores, to add to brick and mor­tar some of the nov­elty of e-tail­ing.

So, the Ray­mond’s flag­ship store in Bengaluru sells ap­parel via an iPad that also al­lows cus­tomers to see what they’ll look like in the suits they plan to buy.

Zi­vame, at its first fit­ting lounge, also in Bengaluru, lets cus­tomers en­ter their spec­i­fi­ca­tions into a tablet PC, which then throws up the styles and op­tions avail­able.

A Be­ing Hu­man ap­parel store in Mum­bai has a life-size im­age of Sal­man Khan, and tech­nol­ogy lets cus­tomers see what the stuff they plan to buy would look like on their favourite film star.

Big Bazaar Gen Next stores in No ida and Mum­bai have in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal screens that show­case the of­fer­ing sin the store.

At 612 League stores in Noida, kids can ‘try on’ different clothes vir­tu­ally us­ing sim­ple hand ges­tures and a tablet PC.

“Con­sumers now want the kinds of in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ments they are used to on­line,” says Pankaj Ren­jhen, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for re­tail ser­vices at JLL In­dia. “In-store ex­pe­ri­ences are there­fore gain­ing im­por­tance and driv­ing new trends in re­tail real-es­tate in­te­ri­ors andd es­ign.”

AN ERA OF RE­TAIL-TAINMENT

The fo­cus is on en­hanc­ing the con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence such that, as it is on­line, off­line shop­ping too be­comes re­tail-tainment, says Gautam Vaswani, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the con­sul­tancy Prop­erty Pioneer Zone. “Thus we are see­ing, in re­tail spa­ces, that novel means of en­ter­tain­ment such as mini theme parks like a snow world or bowl­ing al­leys are be­ing clubbed with re­tail spa­ces.”

“The In­dian re­tail sec­tor is get­ting more sci­en­tific, and data an­a­lyt­ics is key to un­der­stand­ing the needs of the cus­tomers and max­imis­ing their ex­pe­ri­ence, which is pos­si­ble only in the or­gan­ised re­tail real-es­tate space,” says Vaswani. “Lead­ing in­ter­na­tional and In­dian brands have a set of guide­lines that need to be fol­lowed by de­vel­op­ers.”

The brick-an for Grade A shop­ping cen­ters across ma­jor mar­kets have wit­nessed a mar­ginal rise as com­pared to last year due to steady de­mand and lim­ited new sup­ply. Mean­while, high street rentals re­mained steady across most mar­kets,” says An­shu­man Mag­a­zine, chair­man for In­dia and South East Asia at CBRE con­sul­tancy. “Ready-to-move-in re­tail as­sets have also drawn keen in­ter­est from in­vestors. Premium de­vel­op­ments fo­cused on lux­ury re­tail are pri­mar­ily planned in ar­eas such as Ban­dra–Kurla Com­plex and Navi Mum­bai. Grow­ing de­mand for re­tail space in th­ese ar­eas will most likely ex­ceed sup­ply, and fur­ther put up­ward pres­sure on rentals for ma­jor high streets as well as in­vest­ment-grade shop­ping cen­tres,” says Mag­a­zine of CBRE con­sul­tancy.

In fact, some of the malls be­ing re­de­vel­oped are also be­ing reimag­ined with an eye on this seg­ment. Palm Beach Gal­le­ria in Vashi is un­der­go­ing a facelift and will be re­opened as a premium shop­ping cen­tre.

“We re­vi­talised the space and trans­formed it from a hy­per mar­ket to a high street ,” says ar­chi­tect Hit en Set hi, CE O-H SA, the firm ex­e­cut­ing the project.

The In­dian re­tail sec­tor is get­ting more sci­en­tific, and data an­a­lyt­ics is key to un­der­stand­ing the needs of cus­tomers, max­imis­ing their ex­pe­ri­ence. GAUTAM VASWANI, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the con­sul­tancy Prop­erty Pioneer Zone

IL­LUS­TRA­TION: SRIKR­ISHNA PATKAR

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