Suren­der Gnanao­livu


In a crowded mar­ket place Lo­ca­tion and Vis­i­bil­ity are key fac­tors that play a sig­nif­i­cant role in driv­ing foot­falls and sales. With high space ac­qui­si­tion costs lead­ing to com­pro­mised lo­ca­tions, re­tail­ers have thought up in­no­va­tive lo­ca­tion, store de­sign and pre­sen­ta­tion strate­gies to influence sales and foot­falls. Let’s look at some in­ter­est­ing tes­ti­monies that demon­strate this……………… on.

Or­ga­nized Re­tail in In­dia is said to be on a growth path of 20% an­nu­ally against the grav­ity of con­sis­tent re­ports of a loom­ing global eco­nomic slump and de­plet­ing ‘cus­tomer sen­ti­ments’. In a highly com­petitve mar­ket­place the first mile, aquir­ing foot­falls of dis­cern­ing cus­tomers, is cov­ered through brand mar­ket­ing that cre­ates aware­ness through vis­i­bil­ity and brand trial. Store lo­ca­tion, which is key to vis­i­bil­ity, could well de­ter­mine the suc­cess or fail­ure of a store - re­mem­ber the cliched ‘three keys to suc­cess in re­tail – Lo­ca­tion, Lo­ca­tion and Lo­ca­tion’? Un­vi­able rentals have driven brands and re­tail­ers to think up al­ter­nate lo­ca­tion strate­gies and one such suc­cess­ful strat­egy is ‘Out Post­ing’.

By def­i­ni­tion an Out­post is ‘a small mil­i­tary camp or po­si­tion at some dis­tance from the main force, used es­pe­cially as a guard against sur­prise at­tack’. Trans­lated in re­tail, Out­posts of­fer a sam­ple taste of the brand ex­pe­ri­ence of the main brand en­vi­ron­ment. Based on where the Out­post is lo­cated in re­la­tion to the main store it can be cat­e­go­rized as a Prox­im­ity Out­post or a Re­mote Out­post. A Prox­im­ity Out­post is placed in close prox­im­ity to the Main Store usu­ally in the same shop­ping des­ti­na­tion. A Re­mote Out­post is that which is placed in a dis­tant opor­tunis­tic lo­ca­tion, like in an air­port or the atrium in a Mall where the Main store is ab­sent. Both have sim­i­lar ob­jec­tives and with the use of Store De­sign and Pre­sen­ta­tion cre­ate a ‘chip of the whole block’ true sam­plers of the full brand ex­pe­ri­ence. Some in­ter­est­ing ex­am­ples caught my cam­era eye at dif­fer­ent shop­ping des­ti­na­tions which demon­strate ef­fec­tive use of this strat­egy. Lets check them out…….

McDon­ald’s has al­ways planted its golden arches in en­vi­able prime re­tail lo­ca­tions across 33,000 restau­rants in 118 coun­tries serv­ing more than 67 mil­lion cus­tomers world­wide each day. They are al­ways present in high traf­fic pub­lic places like Malls, High Streets, Rail­way sta­tions and Air­ports. How­ever, there are some malls that in­sist that all food coun­ters need to be present in the Food Court which is out of sight on the top floor. In a pop­u­lar Mall in Delhi and Shang­hai, where the main store was in the Food Court on the third floor, McDon­ald put an Prox­im­ity Out­post on the ground floor of­fer­ing a menu of soft serves and cold bev­er­ages right in the midst of fash­ion brands with tremen­dous vis­i­bil­ity that drove high im­pulse con­sump­tion.

Black­Berry, with a 3% mar­ket share of mo­bile de­vice sales world­wide across 91 coun­tries serv­ing seventy mil­lion sub­scribers, has lately been un­der threat from many ag­gres­sive global brands that are of­fer­ing very com­pet­i­tive prod­ucts and ser­vices. Black­berry has also lately po­si­tioned it­self, in their re­cent cam­paign ‘They are the Black­berry Boys’ as not just for the cor­por­tate world but for all young In­di­ans. To op­ti­mize the en­gage­ment with their young tar­get cus­tomer the brand has placed a Prox­im­ity Ou­post in the ground floor atrium of a pop­u­lar mall of­fer­ing a se­lec­tive as­sort­ment of hand­sets and in­for­ma­tion. The main store, with the full of­fer­ing, is in the CDIT zone of the mall lo­cated out of sight on the 2nd floor.

Global Desi, a brand from the house of pop­u­lar de­signer Anita Don­gre, of­fers chic and Indo Western ap­parel in across over 22 stores in In­dia. A Prox­im­ity Out­post cre­ated on the ground floor atrium of a pop­u­lar mall in Mum­bai with a group of man­nequins, the brand’s sig­na­ture graph­ics and a com­mu­ni­ca­tion easel, show­cases the brand’s new­est col­lec­tion avail­able in the store right at the mall’s main en­trance. Great lo­ca­tion and thought but the ex­e­cu­tion, though neat and does the job it was meant to, ought to have been more at­trac­tive and dra­matic in con­fig­u­ra­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion to do jus­tice to the pop­u­lar fash­ion brand.

Kansas Brand Lee, from the port­fo­lio of the largest ap­parel com­pany in the world (VF Cor­po­ra­tion), has taken the Prox­im­ity Out­post strat­egy to ‘stretch’ its store front in a pop­u­lar Mall in Bei­jing. The mono-chro­matic mul­ti­level co-or­dianted con­fig­u­ra­ton is vis­ually dom­i­nant and eye­catch­ing. The Out-post is in prox­im­ity to the store and helps ex­tend the the fash­ion state­ment from inside the store onto the main aisle and vis­ually and phys­i­cally in­ter­cept shop­pers go­ing past the store and di­rect­ing them into the store.

Tommy Hil­figer, the ‘Clas­sic, Amer­i­can and Cool’ brand, is avail­able in over 1000 se­lect points of sale cov­er­ing over 98 cities across In­dia and is known as the coun­try’s lead­ing in­ter­na­tional life­style brand. Hav­ing built an as­pi­ra­tional po­si­tion­ing for it­self in the mar­ket the brand is ex­periement­ing with Re­mote Out­posts that of­fer its range of af­ford­able fash­ion ac­ces­sories to en­tice im­pul­sive trial of the brand. Check-out the brand's Out­post at a pop­u­lar mall in Mum­bai, where it is ab­sent as a store, and where its col­lec­tion of per­sonal ac­ces­sories is pre­sented in an over-the-counter for­mat. One let down is that the pre­sen­ta­tion and de­sign of the out­post doesn’t have the dis­tinct Clas­sic Amer­i­can sig­na­ture of its store con­cept.

Cal­i­for­nian brand Baskin & Rob­bins, the world's largest ice cream chain present in over 30 coun­tries and with more than 400 lo­ca­tions in In­dia is known for its "31 fla­vors" of ice­creams. Its stores are usu­ally sit-down par­lors of over 400 to 1000 sq. ft. It’s Re­mote Out­post at Mum­bai's Do­mes­tic De­par­ture ter­mi­nal has great sight lines of its dis­tinctly Pink logo from the check-in coun­ters. The 100 sq.ft. counter is de­signed as a neat scaled down ver­sion of its main store of­fer­ing in terms of the store de­sign and its se­lec­tive of­fer­ings.

English brand The Body Shop which is now part of the L'Oréal Group, has 2400 stores in 61 coun­tries which are usu­ally about 300-400 sq. ft., car­ry­ing about 900 Beauty Prod­uct. The Re­mote Out­post at the same ter­mi­nal car­ries a se­lec­tion of best-sell­ers in a com­pact store with the store con­cept beau­ti­fully adapted to this com­pressed space of 150 sq.ft.

Each of these ex­am­ples is a tes­ti­mony to the ef­fec­tive­ness of Brand Out­posts which, for main stores in com­pro­mised lo­ca­tions, pos­i­tively influence sales and foot­falls. This also clearly demon­strates that the art of Store De­sign and Pre­sen­ta­tion plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in cre­at­ing a true ‘chip of the whole block’ and take the brand ex­pe­ri­ence be­yond the phys­i­cal space of the main store to where cus­tomer traf­fic con­verges

In pop­u­lar malls in Delhi and Shang­hai, McDon­ald put an Out­post of­fer­ing an im­pulse menu of ice-creams and cold bev­er­ages right in the midst of fash­ion brands on the ground floor to lever­age the main store on the third floor of the same mall

Global Desi, a brand form the house of pop­u­lar de­signer Anita Don­gre, has a fash­ion out­post cre­ated with a group of man­nequins on the ground floor atrium of a pop­u­lar mall in Mum­bai show­cas­ing the store’s new­est col­lec­tion

To op­ti­mize the en­gage­ment of their brand with the tar­get cus­tomer in places where they con­gre­gate, Black­berry has placed a Prox­im­ity Out­post in the ground floor atrium of the mall in which their main store is lo­cated out of sight on the 2nd floor

Brand Lee ‘s mono-chro­matic multi-level Out­post is vis­ually dom­i­nant and eye-catch­ing and helps pull the fash­ion state­ment from inside the store onto the main aisle

The Body Shop Off-site Out­post car­ries a best-sell­ing por­tion of this of­fer­ing in a com­pact 150 sft store where store de­sign and the prod­uct pre­sen­ta­tion is beau­ti­fully adapted

Tommy fash­ion ac­ces­sories are pre­sented in an Off-site Out­post in a mall that does not have their brand store and en­sures brand aware­ness and trial

Baskin Rob­bins ‘ Off-site Out­post at Mum­bai do­mes­tic de­par­ture has great sight lines of its dis­tinctly Pink logo from the check-in coun­ters

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