Sharath San­thaku­maran, Life­style, HARMAN In­ter­na­tional (In­dia) Pvt. Ltd.


HARMAN In­dia has made sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in the In­dia mar­ket to of­fer cus­tom­ized au­dio and in­fo­tain­ment so­lu­tions. The brand has es­tab­lished two large de­vel­op­ment cen­ters in Pune and Ban­ga­lore, which are the fastest grow­ing mar­kets for the brand. In ad­di­tion, the com­pany has also es­tab­lished a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity and a state-of-theart acous­tics lab in Pune. To know more about HARMAN’S re­tail plans across In­dia, VM&RD caught up with Sharath San­thaku­maran, Di­rec­tor – Life­style, HARMAN In­ter­na­tional (In­dia) Pvt. Ltd. Read on to know more…

We cur­rently have seven JBL & Harman Kar­don ex­clu­sive stores in In­dia and are look­ing at open­ing 18 more in the next six months in as­so­ci­a­tion with our dis­trib­u­tor Sahil In­ter­na­tional. In ad­di­tion we are present in over 8,000 out­lets and have sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence through large for­mat re­tail stores. We are al­ways on the look­out for new and ef­fec­tive re­tail for­mats for our brands. At the mo­ment, aside from our EBO’s (JBL and Harman Kar­don lounges), we have six Ex­pe­ri­ence Rooms in Ahmed­abad, Mum­bai, Thane, Chen­nai, Kolkata and Delhi where con­sumers can ex­pe­ri­ence our range of ad­vanced high-per­for­mance au­dio sys­tems in­clud­ing - JBL Syn­the­sis, Revel, Mark Levin­son, Lex­i­con. Store in stores will be another key area of ex­pan­sion.

Given the seg­ment you cater to, how do you ex­press your brand phi­los­o­phy through your store de­sign, start­ing from fixtures and props to col­ors and light­ing?

Store de­sign is a func­tion of sev­eral fac­tors like func­tion­al­ity, aes­thet­ics, look and feel and the over­all brand ex­pe­ri­ence. It is vi­tal that the store com­ple­ments the mer­chan­dise - af­ter all, this is what will draw your cus­tomer to your store. Our prod­uct dis­plays are largely driven by con­sumer de­mand and in­no­va­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, we also en­sure that our over­all store ex­pe­ri­ence the world over is con­sis­tent.

What kind of chal­lenges do you face when it comes to plan­ning, de­sign­ing and ex­e­cut­ing your mer­chan­dis­ing?

Re­tail mer­chan­dis­ing is at the core of any store. Chal­lenges ex­ist at all lev­els – be it store frontage, in store dis­plays, aes­thet­ics, look and feel, store sup­port in­fra­struc­ture and more. All of th­ese fac­tors are taken into ac­count right from the time of con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion of the store.

How do you bud­get for the var­i­ous as­pects of the store de­sign and how do they re­late sales and con­ver­sion to the store de­sign?

Bud­get­ing is al­ways car­ried out in re­la­tion to the store catch­ment and the po­ten­tial sales that can be re­al­ized from the store. For in­stance, a store in a high street lo­ca­tion will be treated dif­fer­ently from a store in a mall or a busi­ness lo­ca­tion.

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