Innovation has become a major part of branding. Retail companies use branding exercises to win the competition and excite customers to consume their products. Indian Retail and E-retail Congress 2019 (IReC), which recently concluded at JW Marriott, New Delhi, hosted a panel on The New Rules of Retail Branding that casted light primarily upon the best practices to reach and engage millennials and GenZ women. The panel also shared key highlights to balance the omni-channel portfolio.
Here are few key highlights of the panel…
The Big Picture: Brand Question
Retail branding is all about how to resonate well with contemporary customers. However, the task for retail brands to connect with their consumers is getting more and more complex by the day.Speaking further on same, Sudhir Pai, Head – Exclusive Retail and Alliances, Wonderchef,said,“With the increased competition and decreased differentiation of the product and the pricing between contemporary brands, the market has become extremely challenging.” Wonderchef operates in kitchenwear space. The brand was created by two enthusiasts, Mr. Ravi Saxena and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor in 2009.
Going further he adds that sustaining the ‘brand relevance’ in the long run is really a challenging question. According to Pai, following are the fourquintessential parameters to sustain the brand longevity: constant product innovation, effective visual merchandising strategy, training of front line staff, and smart campaign communication.
Experience is Mandatory
Today, luxury retailing is not restricted to either car or fashion.In fact, luxury has become a very important part of out of box categories such as cookware. Le Creuset is one such brand which operates in luxury cookwear space. Speaking on experience quotient, Ankur Damani, Country Head – India, Le Creuset, said, “The philosophy is, when you are selling luxury you don’t sell a product, you sell an experience. When your customer is informed and very well travelled, so we have to sell an experience.”
Ankur also added that the brand Le Creuset is operational in over 100 countries. The brand entered India in 2013 through single brand license route and operates on two formats:company owned and company operated.Le Creuset has nine exclusive stores in India so far and also caterto the B2B hospitality sector.
Speaking on retail branding Damani informed, “In terms of retail branding we have created a lot of engagement in both the physical and digital space.We have ensured a lot of engagement at the consumer’s level across the social media space, where we tie up with chefs and bloggersto keep consumer immersed. We have focused on creating a lot of curated experience for the consumers.”
Speaking on same, Kunaal Kumar, Owner, Modern Bazaar said,“There is no match to physical stores when it comes to delivering the experience. That is the reason why we are building the physical presence with so much of passion. On the customer front, visiting store is a therapeutic experience; it is like entertainment for them.”
Sustainability is Supreme
Sustainability is one of the most important factors for many brands today as it connects deeply with environment conscious customers. This is the reason why Wills Lifestyle has gone through a repositioning method and is now called as WLS[. Speaking further on same, VineetHaralalka, Head of Ecommerce & Large Format Retail, Wills Lifestyle, said, “ FromFebruary onwards, we have gone 100 percent natural in whatever garment we are making;even the trims are natural and bio degradable. The millennial are very conscious about what they are buying and wearing. Hence, the company is assured to win even larger customer base with this brand repositioning exercise.
The company has initiated integrated loyalty programs, which are redeemable at our hotels and retail stores.”
Adding to same, the CEO of SHR Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd, SandeepKapoor, shared that ‘sustainability’ gives us a big push in terms of gaining foothold in the click to brick transition. The company started through an online channel and gradually moved to offline space. SHR runs an ethnic wear brand
Small Town: Big Challenge
Brands such as Vmart, Nysaa Retailamongst others are some thathave deeper roots in small towns. In fact, few of them have positioned themselves as prime retail in that part of the world. However, when it comes to retail branding challenges are not scanty here. Speaking further on same, JP Shukla, Director, Nysaa Retail Private Limited, which operates 1India Family Mart storessaid, “The challenge we faced in C and D towns where we entered first was making our product offering relevant to that part of the world. Thoughthey have same level of exposure in including TV shows and social media platforms, but for us making them aspirational was not an easy call for us.”
No doubt, retail branding is a very important exercise in winning the customers. Brands need to adopt a smarter approach constantly so they don’t lose their relevance.