VM&RD Break­fast Meet on Re­tail Light­ing, Mum­bai

VMRD - - Contents -

Lead­ing re­tail brands & Philips Light­ing In­dia met and ex­changed views, paint­points and way for­ward in re­tail light­ing. The conversation brewed in­ter­est­ing in­sights.

Af­ter Bangalore and Gur­gaon, VM&RD Break­fast Meet pow­ered by Philips Light­ing In­dia made it way to Mum­bai. Suren­der Gnanao­livu, Ad­vi­sory Ed­i­tor, VM&RD opened the dis­cus­sion with a very pre­cise point, that 85% con­sumers still pre­fer the phys­i­cal re­tail space for buy­ing. Un­de­ni­ably on­line shop­ping is grow­ing but so is brick & mor­tar, and along with grow­ing the phys­i­cal space brands now highly fo­cus their en­er­gies on cre­at­ing un­for­get­table phys­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence for its con­sumers. In­per­son en­gage­ment and sen­sory brand­ing have be­come cor­ner-stones of ex­pe­ri­ence. While what you sell is es­sen­tial, how you sell it is quin­tes­sen­tial! One spirit that ev­ery re­tailer has pledged it­self to is that, it isn’t about cre­at­ing stores but about cre­at­ing sto­ries!

The EQ & IQ of Store Ex­pe­ri­ence

Suren­der dis­sected the broad-strokes of a store i.e. de­sign, show win­dows and cus­tomer ser­vice into two parts the EQ (emo­tional quo­tient) and the IQ (in­tel­li­gence quo­tient), en­tail­ing what is the emo­tional role they play and im­pact they cre­ate and the in­tel­li­gence they are ex­pected to de­liver.

This frame­work, then set the stage for ‘Light­ing’ as the cru­cial in­gre­di­ent, where the ses­sion touched upon three in­ter­est­ing in­ter­na­tional case-stud­ies wherein light­ing in­no­va­tions achieved the emo­tional as well as the in­tel­li­gence quo­tient. The case-stud­ies were in­ter­est­ing in­sights for par­tic­i­pants who saw the po­ten­tial of light­ing as an in­gre­di­ent and the wide can­vas it pro­vides.

In­dia is ready, but don’t for­get our CAPEX and OPEX!

In­dian re­tail brands are ready and open to try out and adopt new-age light­ing tech­nol­ogy but, the readi­ness comes with a ‘but’ of Capex and Opex, which is a de­mon they all have to slay and thus are look­ing out for col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tions where the so­lu­tion provider un­der­stands the bot­tle necks and work around them. While there is a spirit of ac­cep­tance there is also a prob­lem of ig­no­rance, as in In­dia there are no stan­dard guide­lines with re­spect

to the light­ing tech­nol­ogy, there is lim­ited aware­ness. What is es­sen­tial to a re­tail brand is the out­put, the im­pact, if that is de­liv­ered by hav­ing con­sid­ered the bot­tle necks, and the readi­ness is surely there.

Key bar­ri­ers

• Bur­den of Capex and Opex and the con­stant de­mand of keep­ing them low, or rather re­duc­ing year-on-year.

• Con­vinc­ing each stake­holder in­volved on the im­por­tance of light­ing and the rea­son why it needs to be given the fo­cus it de­serves, be­cause a CFO surely doesn’t think on the same fre­quency as the De­sign head, and the CEO has a dif­fer­ent man­date al­to­gether.

• The need for quicker turn­around times

• Lack of aware­ness on the nu­ances of light­ing and the op­tions avail­able out there, for in­stance Chip-on-Board, then the fact that a higher watt LED is an equiv­a­lent of the CDM. So where is the en­ergy sav­ing as­pect?

• The is­sue of sup­plier and as­sem­bler men­tal­ity that reaches them and not a so­lu­tion provider com­fort.

Philips as the so­lu­tion provider ab­sorbed ev­ery opin­ion brought forth from the re­tail­ers & brands and con­sid­ered it to be a valu­able dia­logue. Shar­ing on the same, Ashish Ba­hal – Ap­pli­ca­tion Spe­cial­ist, Philips says, “We are re­ally glad to be a part of this plat­form as this gives us a first-hand in­sight on what re­ally a re­tail brand faces and ex­pects. Es­pe­cially the lack of aware­ness comes to us as a great op­por­tu­nity as a lead­ing so­lu­tion provider to fill this gap by cre­at­ing a pro­gram or a way in which we can ed­u­cate the re­tail brands on the ba­sics and nu­ances of light­ing tech­nolo­gies which will help them take bet­ter de­ci­sions.”

The Wishlist

• Move away from the sale pitch and adopt the ex­pe­ri­ence pitch ap­proach

• Pro­vide more demo stores, as the im­pact will then bring all the stake­hold­ers on the same page. See­ing is be­liev­ing.

• Value add through em­bed­ding aug­mented tech­nolo­gies like Li-Wi, Data an­a­lyt­ics, and the likes.

• Let’s col­lab­o­rate, also on the com­mer­cial front, let us think lat­er­ally

Talk­ing about Philips’ side of the story, Swa­gata Choud­hary – End User Mar­ke­teer, Philips, high­lighted what they have in store for re­tail brands and also what they urge as so­lu­tions provider. “We are Philips aim at light­ing be­yond il­lu­mi­na­tion’ and thus have tra­versed out of the ‘boxed prod­uct’ ap­proach and have em­braced the ser­vice ori­ented model. We are more than happy to part­ner with re­tail brands and thus have ar­chi­tected col­lab­o­ra­tive mod­els that give us the flex­i­bil­ity to tweak ev­ery as­pect from de­sign to light­ing re­quire­ments to so­lu­tions keep­ing in mind the re­tail brand and their need. We also go a step ahead and col­lab­o­rate on the com­mer­cial front by of­fer­ing fi­nan­cial mod­els that help brands man­age their capex and opex. The in­fra­struc­ture of our so­lu­tions is de­signed to be able to ac­com­mo­date aug­mented tech­nolo­gies. We as so­lu­tion providers just urge re­tail brands to weave us into the process right from the de­sign level and be co-cre­ators of their own so­lu­tions.”

We love to em­brace in­no­va­tion

The re­tail brands as an in­sight shared one true de­light in the dis­cus­sion, it was their will­ing­ness to ex­per­i­ment and in­no­vate, and in fact they have spe­cial funds al­lo­cated for spe­cial cases, so there sure is oo­dles of op­por­tu­nity.

The meet, a third of its kind is prov­ing to be an ef­fec­tive plat­form that not just makes the buyer and seller meet, but also be­comes a com­pass that en­tails in what di­rec­tion should the in­dus­try head. As Suren­der rightly puts it, “Th­ese ses­sions are our ef­fort to ini­ti­ate a dia­logue be­tween the two sides of the in­dus­try and come up with col­lec­tive ideas and so­lu­tions. And I would tell the so­lu­tion providers that when you meet a re­tail brand with all its stake­hold­ers, re­mem­ber that is your only chance, one shot, where if you have a very spe­cific, clear pitch al­most down to a per­store im­ple­men­ta­tion cost, the prob­a­bil­ity of a suc­cess are very high.”

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