How Indian Re­tail­ers In­no­vate to En­gage In-store Shop­pers

Images Retail - - FRONT PAGE - – By Pankaj Ren­jhen

The re­tail in­dus­try is where change is the new con­stant. Glob­ally, the re­tail sec­tor has been un­der­go­ing a rev­o­lu­tion of sorts – driven not only by fast-chang­ing consumer pref­er­ences and be­hav­iour but also ad­vances in technology. For­eign and do­mes­tic re­tail­ers op­er­at­ing in In­dia too have started tak­ing steps to de­liver the next unique ‘ex­pe­ri­ence’ to their shop­pers.

Re­sul­tantly, in-store ex­pe­ri­ences are gain­ing im­por­tance not only for en­gag­ing shop­pers inside the store but also to catal­yse buy­ing de­ci­sions of ca­sual or un­de­cided shop­pers. Dis­counts of­fered by on­line re­tail­ers and mar­ket­places may be tempt­ing but hu­man en­gage­ment of­fered by phys­i­cal re­tail is com­pelling and still not out of fash­ion.

There­fore, a few in­no­va­tive re­tail­ers in In­dia are re­spond­ing to this want of ‘touch and feel,’ as also adapt­ing store for­mats to pro­vide that in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ment, which many more con­sumers now de­sire. A few ex­am­ples are be­low:

Ray­mond’s flag­ship store in Bengaluru has a dou­ble height ‘live fa­cade’ with

LED cur­tains. The store is de­signed to sell ap­parel only through an ipad and cus­tomers may click ‘trial’ on the ipad for the se­lec­tion to ap­pear in the de­sired size inside one of the trial rooms. Zi­vame has launched its first flag­ship fit­ting lounge in Bengaluru to help cus­tomers make the right pur­chase choices af­ter walk­ing in and en­ter­ing their de­tails on a tablet. The pro­fes­sional fit­ters then pro­vide them with ex­pert ad­vice on the style and type of op­tions avail­able. adi­das, at its Om­nichan­nel store in Delhi, launched adi­das Neo, which was ear­lier only avail­able on the on­line plat­form. It aims at in­tro­duc­ing niche prod­ucts like ‘cy­cling equip­ment’ which take up large space in phys­i­cal stores.

Pep­per­fry launched its con­cept store ‘Stu­dio Pep­per­fry’ where in­te­rior de­sign con­sul­tants showcase de­signs to cus­tomers and also of­fer prod­uct cus­tomi­sa­tion and de­sign ad­vi­sory ser­vices.

Be­ing Hu­man’s store in a Mum­bai mall has an im­age of Sal­man Khan, and technology en­ables cus­tomers to try a va­ri­ety of ap­parel on their favourite film star. It aims to help these shop­pers in their de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.

Big Bazaar Gen Next stores in Noida and Mum­bai have in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal screens, sit-down check­outs and ex­pe­ri­ence zones for mul­ti­sen­so­rial ex­pe­ri­ences for food prod­ucts.

612 League stores in Bengaluru and Noida have im­ple­mented a won­der store con­cept wherein kids can try dif­fer­ent clothes vir­tu­ally through sim­ple hand ges­tures.

Al­though, the Indian re­tail story un­folded slowly over the decades, the pace of change has now ac­cel­er­ated to such an ex­tent that re­tail out­lets need to con­stantly in­no­vate to re­main rel­e­vant to shop­pers, espe­cially the ones from younger gen­er­a­tions. The next decade of re­tail in In­dia would no doubt be­long to re­tail­ers who suc­cess­fully adapt newer tech­nolo­gies and up­grade their in-store ex­pe­ri­ences quickly.

About the au­thor: Pankaj Ren­jhen is Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Re­tail Ser­vices, JLL In­dia.

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