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.