Omni-channel is through which a retailer can give the customer a seamless experience: Huzefa Merchant
Omni-channel is through which a retailer can give the customer a seamless experience: Huzefa Merchant

Stores are no more just meant to be a place to buy and sell products, it has over time come to be known for the experience it offers to its customers. And store planning or store layout plays a phenomenal role in imparting that experience and in enhancing a brand by creating that memorable customer experience. Promotional features like use of technology, displays and in-store designs, personalization along with service and operational excellence have been adopted and implemented by brands to attract footfall at retail store. And INSYNC Shop Fittings, from the house of Safe Enterprises, is one of the nation’s fastest growing retail shop fitting solutions company, which has been providing display and fixtures solutions to retail stores since years now. We talk to Huzefa Merchant, Founder and Head Research & Development, INSYNC, about importance of space planning, digital advancements in store fixtures and on how INSYNC will transform brick-and-mortar to click-and-mortar. Excerpts from the interview…

Firstly, tell us in detail about INSYNC, its inception and USP.
INSYNC was set up as a research and development wing for Safe Enterprises which has been a pioneer in the field of retail display solutions since 1991. The company was the first shop fitting company in the country and had already completed close to 35,000 projects by 2010 with retailers like Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Hypercity, etc. INSYNC understand the requirements of the customers as well as the retailers and designers. By 2015, we developed the powered shop fittings which have lightings integrated within the racks itself. After that, we created a system where we can power up tablets and touch screens in the stores. Other than that, INSYNC prides in having its 7 display centres or experience centres in Mumbai, Kochi, Hyderabad, Indore, Coimbatore, Dubai and Doha.

Tell us about various services INSYNC provides to its clients.
INSYNC provides services from layout to fit-out. While dealing with a designer who has already created a concept, we take the concept and help in engineering it, in selecting various product lines that would suit within the design scheme and we essentially act as the engineering arm of the design agencies. Secondly, INSYNC also offers to its customers the complete layout which includes delivering the desired quantity of products, calculation, ensuring that the products delivered are assembled on sight. We also have own wing called ‘on-sight’. So, we specialize in on-sight implementation of shop fittings. We offer shop fitting solutions from the cash desk to the trial room; we offer everything which can be produced in a factory and assembled on sight. Thus, the retailer has to deal with only one company for his/ her entire modular requirement.

Tell us about your manufacturing units and design team.
Our design team comprises of 6 people. Currently, we have two manufacturing units – one in Mumbai and the other in Pune. The Mumbai unit does fabrication to metal craftsmanship and wood craftsmanship. And the Pune factory is an assembly line where products which are made in moulds are assembled. The INSYNC products are generally made from moulds and fixtures so that we have consistency and high production rate.

With your latest product launch, you want to transform brick-and-mortar into click-and-mortar. Why do you think this is necessary in the Indian context?
On a global stage, with the advent of online shopping, people have developed a different kind of shopping behaviour. When a consumer walks into a showroom, he looks at the product and then locates the same product online at a better price and then buys it from there. One of the reasons youth today tend to do that is because of better prices and also because of a psychological thing, that is, addiction to smartphones and that is why youth today look at anything which is digital.

As per a recent study by PwC and Capgemini consulting, the top three things that matter to shoppers today are – product information, the ability to view a brand’s complete portfolio at once and easier check outs. All the three are hallmarks of online retailers. The sensory stimuli provided by brick-and-mortar when complimented by the convenience, practicality and efficiency of digital retail, is a potent formula for retail success. So, click-and-mortar is relevant for retailers today.

What all is INSYNC doing to promote adoption of technological advancements in shop fittings?
INSYNC is doing a lot of things in this area. We are driving innovation, collaborating with design agencies, talking to them and educating their people on how to use and where to use advanced shop fittings. On the second level, I am personally lecturing design colleges like NID, Raffles etc., and I am taking this technology to the youth, literally, who are going to be the designers of tomorrow. Thirdly, in order to make it more accessible to the market even globally, INSYNC exhibited at the EuroShop in Dusseldorf Germany in March 2017, doing roadshows and held a round table conference with India’s top 12 retail giants including people from Shoppers Stop, Neeru’s, Amazon, Mufti, Benetton, Raymond, Trent in 2016, where we discussed on the need for smart shops, on what retailers are doing and what they can do in this regard. In November 2017, we held another Round Table Meet in Bengaluru, with participants from Madura Fashion and Lifestyle, Central, Arvind, Unlimited, Titan and Restore Designs and 4Dimensions from the design fraternity, which focused specifically on retail fixtures. Besides these, we will also be showcasing at In-Store Asia in 2018.

How will digitization of shop fittings influence the growth of omni-channel retail in India?
Omni-channel is through which a retailer can give the customer a seamless experience – whether he buys online, from store or from mobile. It is the integration of all these channels together. In order to integrate online and mobile channels in the physical store, we are bringing the digital interface on the racks itself. We are also working on solutions where a person can even pay at the shelf itself instead of going to the cash desk.

Tell us about the current situation of shop fittings market in India?
The shop fittings market in India is fragmented at the moment. Currently, people look at shop fittings from a very functional perspective. And our agenda is to make people understand that the right shop fitting used can have a strong effect not only on aesthetics but also on operational functions of the store. For example, if you talk about powered shop fittings, which provides 1500- 1800 luminants per shelf, that is enough for any customer to see the product on display because the lights are right above the merchandise and every product is well lit. Secondly, if I can bring my digital store into my physical store, I am offering more products in that store, which are not even physically present there but are in my warehouse. Thirdly, people also make emotional decisions while shopping and if we can create an ad campaign or an activity shown on a digital screen in the store, which appeals to the emotions of the people, we are helping in creating brand loyalty, in increasing sales revenue and also conversion ratio. So, while the fixtures market in India is big, it still is not at the same level as in other European markets and that’s what we are trying to do through various roadshows and exhibitions.

How is the future going to be for this industry?
I believe that retail has started to convert into omni-channel world. It’s only a matter of time before physical and digital retail do not have boundaries between them. Every digital retailer will have to come in the physical space and every physical retailer will have to know how to adopt to online retail.

Give insights on some of the hacks when it comes to colour and lighting of a store.
As said earlier, when there is proper lighting on the racks, it provides a very dramatic look and feel to the product. One should use colours in white and lighter and wooden tones for the stores as these look absolutely beautiful under lights. When we need to choose lights for stores which are selling shoes and leathers, we tend to use warmer lights (3000 kelvin); for fashion, we use natural lights (4000 kelvin); and for jewellery, watches or sunglasses store, we look at using colder lights (6000 kelvin). Talking about the colour schemes, generally with warmer lights, wooden tones look better; with natural lights, both wooden tones and white colour look good; and with colder lights, we can use colours like blues or use white to make the whole environment look more appealing. And, for more about shop fitting solutions and how innovation and technology in shop fittings is taking the retail scenario by storm, why not have a look at our blogs at blog.insyncshopfittings.com.

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How Dockers is Bringing Californian Cool to Indian Fashionistas
How Dockers is Bringing Californian Cool to Indian Fashionistas

In a bold move set to redefine the landscape of Indian fashion, ace turtle, India's foremost technology-native retail company, has announced the arrival of the globally renowned lifestyle apparel brand, Dockers, to the Indian market. The much-anticipated launch comes with the unveiling of the first retail store in Delhi, marking a significant milestone in the brand's expansion journey.

Berry Singh, COO of ace turtle, highlighted the brand's journey, emphasizing their core mission to bridge the gap between online and offline retail experiences. Singh revealed, "We started about 10 years back, and the idea was to bring a technology product that could bridge the gap between online and offline." This innovative approach garnered success, propelling ace turtle to market leadership during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Blend of Comfort and Style

Dockers, renowned for its timeless khakis and relaxed Californian vibe, is set to revolutionize the Indian fashion scene. Singh remarked, "Dockers brings the whole Californian culture, which is about being very relaxed." The brand's offerings prioritize comfort without compromising on style, catering to the needs of today's discerning consumers.

Targeting the Millennial Market

Dockers's entry into India is strategically tailored to resonate with the preferences of the Indian consumer, particularly the millennial demographic. Singh explained, "We are looking at anywhere between 22 to 35 years. The millennial customer today is looking to trade up, is looking to elevate himself." By offering premium yet accessible products, Dockers aims to capture this burgeoning market segment.

Natalie MacLennan, CEO of Dockers, highlighted the brand's commitment to meeting evolving consumer trends. "The Indian market presents a tremendous opportunity for us to connect with a new generation of consumers," she stated. This emphasis on quality, comfort, and style aligns with the growing trend of premiumization observed across various consumer segments in India.

Investment in Excellence

Discussing investments in the brand, Singh emphasized three key areas: brand establishment, product innovation, and demand generation. He elaborated, "A lot of these products are very responsibly made, there's a lot of technology, there's a lot of innovation." This commitment to quality and innovation underscores Dockers' dedication to providing superior products to its consumers.

Seamless Integration and Expansion Plans

A key aspect of Dockers' entry into the Indian market is their seamless integration of omnichannel strategies. Singh elucidated, "Our model itself is very asset light model, as the consumer of today buys a brand, not a channel." This omnichannel approach ensures a seamless shopping experience, whether online or offline, reflecting the modern consumer's preferences and behaviors.

Singh outlined ambitious expansion plans for Dockers in the Indian market. "In the first year, we are opening about five stores across tier one and Metro Cities," he disclosed. This strategic expansion will be complemented by a robust online presence, with the Dockers website set to go live soon, offering convenient access to consumers nationwide.

Embracing the Future

As Dockers sets sail in the Indian market, the launch of its dedicated e-commerce website heralds a new era of convenience for Indian shoppers. With easy navigation, secure payment options, and seamless delivery, consumers across India can now access Dockers's full range of offerings at their fingertips.

With its blend of timeless style, superior comfort, and innovative approach to retail, Dockers's arrival in India marks a significant moment in the country's fashion landscape. As ace turtle spearheads the brand's expansion, Dockers is poised to become a household name, offering Indian consumers an unparalleled blend of Californian cool and Indian sensibilities. As Berry Singh aptly puts it, "If you give a great product to the Indian consumer, he's ready to pay premium, as long as he finds value in it." And with Dockers, value, comfort, and style converge, ushering in a new era of fashion-forward living in India.


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How Bombae's Revolutionary Solutions at Bombay Shaving Company Are Transforming Female Grooming
How Bombae's Revolutionary Solutions at Bombay Shaving Company Are Transforming Female Grooming

Bombae is a trailblazing brand that has redefined the landscape of female grooming. As an integral part of the esteemed Bombay Shaving Company, Bombae emerged from a collective desire to address the unmet needs of women in the grooming industry. Led by Siddha Jain, Chief Business Officer of Bombae, the brand's journey is a testament to resilience, ingenuity, and a steadfast commitment to revolutionize the way women approach hair removal.

From Adversity to Innovation

"It all started when a group of intentful women at Bombay Shaving Company couldn’t go to salons during COVID and decided to take the matter into their own hands," Siddha Jain recounts. "We are a grooming company, we need to make products for women," she asserts. And thus, Bombae was born out of a necessity to cater to the needs of women who were grappling with the limitations imposed by the pandemic.

The inception of Bombae marked the beginning of a transformative journey aimed at reimagining hair removal for all individuals who identify as women. "Through the love we received on our limited range, we knew there was only one direction to go," Jain reflects. "Our goal is very clear – to reimagine hair removal for all individuals who identify as women."

Identifying Gaps and Challenges

As Bombae embarked on its mission to revolutionize female grooming, the team identified key gaps and challenges prevalent in the market. "We were astounded by the painstaking efforts women go through for hair removal, and our personal experiences made us reflect on how we had normalized our daily struggles," Siddha shares.

The brand's commitment to addressing these challenges led to the development of innovative product offerings tailored to the unique needs of modern women. From facial hair to body hair, Bombae's portfolio encompasses a comprehensive range of solutions designed to deliver unparalleled efficacy and convenience.

"Our approach towards curating the portfolio is providing elevated DIY offerings that solve real consumer needs and have longevity in her eyes," Jain explains. "We keep a close ear to all emerging trends and test them against these criteria, while also do a forward-back exercise of creating game-changing solutions."

Innovating for the Modern Woman

One of the hallmarks of Bombae is its relentless pursuit of innovation. Siddha Jain elaborates on the brand's unique approach to product development, stating, "Our portfolio is curated to provide elevated DIY offerings that solve real consumer needs and have longevity in her eyes." From facial hair to body hair, Bombae offers a comprehensive range of products designed to cater to the diverse needs of modern women.

"Our biodegradable face razors made with 80 percent wheat straw are one of our bestsellers," Siddha Jain reveals, highlighting the brand's commitment to sustainability. By incorporating eco-conscious practices into product development and packaging, Bombae not only reduces its environmental footprint but also resonates with consumers who prioritize sustainability.

Penetrating the Market

With a focus on market expansion, Bombae strategically targets key regions, including the bustling metropolis of Bombay. Jain explains, "West is a focus market due to its increasing adoption of DIY razors and the rise in women’s disposable income." The brand's threefold strategy—educating consumers, building brand equity, and conveying product superiority—positions Bombae for success in a competitive landscape.

Harnessing Digital Technology

In the digital age, technology plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer engagement strategies. Siddha Jain emphasizes the importance of technology and social commerce in Bombae's growth trajectory. "It has helped us reach a larger consumer base through innovative media interventions," she states. From social media marketing to influencer collaborations, Bombae leverages digital platforms to connect with its audience and drive brand awareness.

At the heart of Bombae's ethos lies a commitment to challenging societal norms surrounding body hair removal and maintenance. Siddha Jain elucidates, "Our aesthetic is an extension of our identity, so we keep it 100 percent real." Through bold campaigns and honest messaging, Bombae aims to empower women to embrace their natural selves unabashedly.

The Future of Bombae

As Bombae continues to disrupt the grooming industry, Siddha Jain shares her vision for the brand's future. "Our ambition is simple: We aspire for Bombae to be synonymous with hair removal," she declares. With a focus on innovation, authenticity, and inclusivity, Bombae aims to carve out a unique space in the market, setting new standards for the industry.

In conclusion, Bombae's journey exemplifies the power of innovation, purpose-driven branding, and a steadfast commitment to empowering women. As the brand continues to grow and evolve, it serves as a beacon of inspiration for those who dare to challenge conventions and redefine the status quo.


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‘Year of Growth and Expansion for Nature’s Basket’
‘Year of Growth and Expansion for Nature’s Basket’

Nature's Basket, a leading multi-format retailer under the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, has inaugurated its third Nature's Basket Artisan Pantry store, solidifying its position as a premium grocery destination in Mumbai. The premium grocery retailer has outlined ambitious plans to introduce 3-4 additional Nature’s Basket Artisan Pantry outlets and 5 new Nature's Basket stores across various cities. This expansion initiative underscores Nature's Basket's commitment to elevating the gourmet and luxury grocery shopping experience for its growing consumer base.

The RPSG Group acquired Nature's Basket from Godrej Industries for Rs 300 crore in 2019, and since then, the brand has flourished, boasting over 35 stores across several major metropolitan areas in India. Adding to its portfolio, Spencer's Retail introduced its inaugural luxury grocery outlet at Phoenix Palladium Mall in Worli, followed by another upscale establishment near Juhu Garden in Santacruz, both situated in Mumbai.

In an exclusive conversation with IndianRetailer.com, Shashwat Goenka, Chairman, Spencer's Retail and Nature's Basket, explained about the decision on choosing the location for the store, "We deliberated between two potential locations, with one being in Worli and the other catering to consumers in and around Bandra-BKC. Additionally, our chosen venue hosts a diverse array of brands that draw in a steady stream of shoppers. Moreover, the proximity to Michelin Star hotels on the upper floors ensures our target consumers frequent the area."

Offering insights into the Artisan Pantry experience, Goenka elaborated, "From the live cooking gourmet studio, The Chef's Table, to The Good Food Cafe and the Boulangerie bakery, our store features over 10,000 distinct products where culinary enthusiasts can witness the magic of gastronomy come to life."

"The core philosophy behind Nature's Basket is to provide premium gourmet groceries, while the artisan pantry concept takes luxury grocery shopping to new heights. We aim to curate diverse experiences inspired by global concepts, with formats such as our Swiss-inspired chocolate section and Middle Eastern-inspired honey selection. Our goal is to deliver a truly unique shopping encounter," Goenka added.

Appointed Chairman on May 23, 2023, Goenka reflected on the brand's journey, stating, "For Nature's Basket, 2023 was focused on refining our cost structure, experimenting with new formats, and ensuring operational efficiency. Looking ahead, 2024 will mark a year of expansion, with plans to open 5 regular Nature's Basket stores and 3-4 Artisan Pantry outlets in existing markets, alongside venturing into new cities."

"Anticipating a positive response from consumers, Nature's Basket holds a firm position as a trusted brand synonymous with premium quality and luxury. With Artisan Pantry, we aim to redefine grocery shopping by offering immersive and opulent formats," he emphasized.

Featuring an extensive wine cellar housing both domestic and international labels, along with artisanal cheeses sourced globally, Nature's Basket promises to captivate connoisseurs and newcomers alike. Additionally, the farmer's market section showcases the freshness of local and global produce, fostering a direct connection between customers and their food sources.


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