Balaji Natara­jan

Cre­ative Head-VM, Store De­sign & Vis­ual Com­mu­ni­ca­tion for Tanishq, Mia & Zoya


In Ret­ro­spect: 2012

Though the mar­ket con­di­tions caused some worry, Tanishq man­aged to sail through with a ro­bust growth in the past year, but not with­out chal­lenges. The volatile mar­ket sit­u­a­tion led us to in­tro­spect more in depth and also made us equally ag­ile in eval­u­at­ing mar­ket con­di­tions and cus­tomer needs. In all this we stuck to our re­tail net­work ex­pan­sion and ren­o­va­tions as planned which helped us con­nect with newer mar­kets, re­fresh and strengthen our po­si­tion in the cur­rent mar­kets, and in the process re­vive our cus­tomer re­la­tions ef­fec­tively. Tanishq is also very ac­tive in its cam­paigns and pro­mo­tions, par­tic­u­larly in con­nect­ing with its cus­tomers dur­ing na­tional and re­gional fes­ti­vals. An in-house team has been cre­ated to con­tin­u­ously sup­port the re­tail teams across the coun­try for all their in­stant BTL ad­ver­tis­ing and pro­mo­tional re­quire­ments. This has gen­er­ated a lot of walk-ins to the stores.

Ar­rival of FDI

With FDI on the anvil, a lot of brands are ea­ger to ex­plore In­dia but not with­out cau­tion. Given the com­plex­ity of the In­dian mar­kets, it is not easy for any out­sider to crack it very eas­ily. And if they do, it would pose a very healthy chal­lenge to lo­cal brands, be it prod­uct of­fer­ing or re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence! The FDI may also bring in play­ers in the sup­port sys­tems di­vi­sion to com­pete with the lo­cal re­tail fit-out in­dus­try but not with­out ex­plor­ing the lo­cal strength. While we have a few very good world class re­tail fit-out com­pa­nies, many are still strug­gling to cope with de­mand, qual­ity and timely de­liv­ery. The only way to thwart for­eign brands/com­pa­nies from sourc­ing their fit-outs away from In­dia is for the lo­cal fit-out play­ers to de­velop an eye for de­tail, build ro­bust sys­tems in fitout devel­op­ment, get process ori­ented and in­crease their band­width to sup­port the de­mand.

Look­ing Ahead: 2013

If I have to speak about re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence, most for­eign brands do have their re­tail iden­ti­ties sorted out, but they may be open for lo­cal­iza­tion as there lies a huge op­por­tu­nity to con­nect cul­tur­ally with­out los­ing the essence of their brands. But now the lo­cal play­ers will have no op­tion but to start see­ing re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence as an in­te­gral part of cus­tomer of­fer­ing rather than an an­cil­lary el­e­ment. Re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence should also be­come the talk of the town and al­lur­ingly en­gag­ing. Thus con­stant in­no­va­tion and change in store ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign which is also low cost in its de­vel­op­ments and im­ple­men­ta­tion would help brands sus­tain cus­tomer in­ter­est in them. This also calls for in­vest­ing in minds that would de­sign such a sup­port.

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