Discount battle lopsided, retailers employ shopping experience tactic

By: | Published: February 26, 2015 12:39 AM

The Armani store at Mumbai’s Palladium Mall has had a 50-feet-tall eagle installed on the shop floor.

The Armani store at Mumbai’s Palladium Mall has had a 50-feet-tall eagle installed on the shop floor. The bird, which is an integral part of Armani’s signature logo and signifies the brand’s premium quality, makes the store stand out.

Brands are now investing more in efficiency and in-store design to enhance customer experience — as offline retailers realise they cannot compete with online discounts, they are taking the tussle beyond pricing towards the shopping experience, say industry experts. Mall-owners, who typically have a revenue-sharing arrangement with retailers, are ensuring that stores innovate on display and design features.

“When Armani set up the store, we brainstormed the idea of installing the eagle as we wanted Armani clients to have a never-before experience” said Sangeeta Vernekar, director of design at the Mumbai-based Pheonix Mills, which owns the Palladium mall.

“We are advising foreign brands to design stores by bringing in local innovation because the objective is to give consumers a superior brand experience, which they cannot have online” Vernekar added. High-end brands, such as Zara, Mango, Aldo, Marks & Spencer and Steve Madden, are the leading clients of Pheonix Mills. The Palladium mall also houses the biggest names in luxury retail like Jimmy Choo, Burberry and Gucci.

As luxury brands focus on display innovation, brands with a more mass appeal are ramping up in-store presentation and experience.

“Since October, we have been investing in larger trolleys (to induce customers to buy more) but we realised that someone who has a full trolley will not want to wait in a queue” said Sadashiv Nayak, CEO of Big Bazaar. Big Bazaar then invested in high-speed scanners, said Nayak. This strategy, now operational in 24 cities, will be extended to 100 cities, he added. To address the issue of queues, Shopper’s Stop recently instituted a cash on delivery (COD) booth in three of its stores.

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