Lifestyle stores adopt an omnichannel and tech-led strategy for growth

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New Delhi | Published: April 22, 2019 2:20:16 AM

Lifestyle Buddy uses AI and IoT to increase customer conversions and purchase value.

DENIM, RETAIL SECTOR, RETAIL INDUSTRYLifestyle launched self-checkout kiosks in its Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad outlets; and virtual trial rooms in its Mumbai outlets last year.

In a bid to accelerate conversions at its Lifestyle stores, Landmark Group is relying heavily on in-store tech. Think self-checkout kiosks, mobile POS and virtual trial rooms. The Rs 4,000-crore brand is also adopting an omnichannel approach to scale up the business. Its same store sales growth (SSSG) was flat last fiscal, although the CAGR of SSSG is in the region of 7 to 8%.

Lifestyle launched self-checkout kiosks in its Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad outlets; and virtual trial rooms in its Mumbai outlets last year. The retailer has also launched a progressive app called Lifestyle Buddy, currently being piloted in Chennai and Pune, that lets shoppers scan QR codes at stores and place an order online or get customised offers and fashion/ beauty recommendations.

Lifestyle Buddy uses AI and IoT to increase customer conversions and purchase value. The company is also using proximity marketing through Facebook and Google to target people within the vicinity of stores. Around 20% of Lifestyle’s media spends each goes to digital and OOH, while print forms 50%.

The focus, says S Srinivas Rao, senior VP, marketing, Lifestyle, is on omnichannel, retail expansion and sharp price points through its private label play to create differentiation.

Stores count

Operated by Dubai-based retail and hospitality conglomerate Landmark Group, 40% of Lifestyle’s retail footprint is in tier-II and tier-III cities such as Bhopal, Kota and Trichy. Unlike its competitors Shoppers Stop and Central, which have explored high street retail, Lifestyle continues to be present only at shopping malls. Its average store size is 40,000-45,000 sq ft.

While malls prefer multi-brand departmental stores as anchor tenants — and Lifestyle enjoys this status — the entry of global retailers such as Sephora, M&S, Zara and GAP is changing the game, especially in the metros. Anuj Kejriwal, CEO and MD, Anarock Retail, says, “The challenge with multi-brand stores is that they compete directly with vanilla stores/ inline stores present in malls. The model around multi-brand outlets needs to evolve, bringing more of health, beauty and private label accessories, leather goods and footwear to create a niche.”

Currently, Lifestyle has 77 stores; eight to 10 more stores will be added in the current fiscal with an investment of `20 crore planned per store.

Need to stand out

Alagu Balaraman, partner and MD (India operations), CGN & Associates, points out that when Lifestyle launched in India, it was a premium player. Eventually, it started operating on lower price points and then spun off Max as a separate brand for value products. Lifestyle now has an ‘accessible fashion’ positioning, and caters to upper-mid segment consumers across cities. Over the years, it has worked on private labels to introduce sharper price points, such as men’s denims starting at Rs 999 and kids’ denims at Rs 599.

“From value fashion through Max to accessible fashion through Lifestyle and extreme value through Easybuy — we have a presence across segments,” adds Rao.

Lifestyle has nine private labels, including Melange, Code, Forca and Ginger that contribute about 30% of overall revenues. While it houses many national and international brands, the focus is on digital-first brands Forca and Ginger to drive growth among millennials.

Despite having been around for 20 years in India, and having launched nearly 80 stores, Balaraman says Lifestyle hasn’t managed to achieve substantial size. Engaging customers with relevant products and positioning, he says, will be crucial for its growth.

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