Post-festival blues or cheer?
Heartiest Diwali wishes, friends! We just wrapped up not only India’s biggest festive season, but also a period of significant revenues for retailers! However, if recent media reports are anything to go by, then all is not hunky dory for brick-and-mortar retailers. This year’s Diwali sales figures only reiterate this. What’s more, it also shows that the tables have been turned in favour of e-tailers, thanks to their merry discount blitz! Yes, e-commerce, which is estimated to be only 12% of India’s overall retail market, has already managed to garner a big chunk of revenues during the most promising business season in the country. But it’s not just about the business figures. One could perceive a distinct lack of cheer and enthusiasm in the overall visual merchandising created by brick and mortar retailers during the festive season. Diwali being the Indian counterpart of Christmas, it was disappointing to see Indian retailers in the offline space curbing their VM budgets and consequently churning out pretty ordinary visual merchandising. Check out our Diwali VM round-up in this issue and you will know what I mean. Speaking of Diwali, a large part of the celebrations involves home shopping. Therefore our Category Focus story in this issue explores the home retailing segment. Interestingly, two of India’s leading home retailers started their journey from the e-commerce channel and today boast of a remarkable omni-channel journey. With Swedish home retail giant Ikea’s entry into Indian retail shore, many speculated the ebbing away of major home grown brands. But the reality is far from it. This story captures the excitement in this space. Creating a meaningful brick-and-mortar journey often takes an artsy turn with couturiers. We give you a sense of ethnic/ bridal couturier Rahul Mishra’s store in Mumbai’s own art district Kala Ghoda. The space works around several spatial restrictions to emerge as one stunning artisanal space. We also caught Koskii, a regional ethnic fashion brand on its way to scalability through a new store design ID. Omni-channel seems to be the name of the game for every leading brand today. Footwear brand Nike has almost made history with their shopper understanding and crafting hyperlocal store experiences. Their latest feat is at Shanghai, China. Just take a look! Plus as usual, we have a number of experts talking on the varied aspects of retail design - from architectural materials and in-store communication to a career in visual merchandising. Hope you find some handy tips there. Finally, here’s hoping that there’s plenty of cheer, joy, light and prosperity all around. Happy reading!