VM&RD Breakfast Meet on Retail Lighting, Mumbai
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.
• 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.”
• 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.”