Luxebook November 2022

A fallout of technology The focal point of the experiential retail approach is to create a unique personal experience that shapes one’s perception of a brand, and hence leads to brand loyalty and engagement. The emergence of virtual reality, augmented reality, and improved mobile technology will continue to push retail brands to add layers and new experiences to their traditional retail models. While the US is the hub for such stores —and a mecca of consumerism — India has also seen a steady rise in the clout of experiential spaces. Brands understand that the need of the hour is to create personal experiences to set themselves apart from their competitors, and thrive in competition. India, too, is gearing up for a new retail experience. Bridging the retailer-consumer gap According to the Freeman Global Brand Experience study, more than a third of CMOs said they plan to spend 21% to 50% of their budgets on brand experiences over the next several years. It’s interesting to note that 80% of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success, and 77% use experiential marketing as a vital part of a brand’s advertising strategy. Experiential retail is counterbalancing the growing popularity of e-commerce, and ensuring profitability by increasing the brand’s physical presence, said a report by CBRE. It further stated, “Following the pandemic, the productivity of retail spaces came into sharp focus, with ‘experience’ becoming more crucial because of its ability to increase customer engagement and not just sales. “Anshuman Magazine, chairperson and chief executive, India, South-East Asia, Middle East, and Africa, CBRE also noted that brands are resizing and recalibrating their physical store strategies to diversify their portfolio and expand their footprint, with ‘experience’ stores bridging the retailer-consumer gap. Today’s educated consumers prioritize creating memories, and these positive and memorable experiences influence consumers to make purchases more than traditional marketing. In fact, 74% of event attendees also had a more positive opinion about the company, brand, or product being promoted after an event, said a study by Forbes. 98% of users feel more inclined to purchase after attending an activation, and hence we can say that the human touch and immersive experience goes a long way. Celebrating Indian architecture at the Sabyasachi store Beyond Designs experiential Delhi store Brands are realizing the potential of experience centres — and it works as a brand’s USP, since it is intangible it cannot truly be recreated or copied. This strategy is all about creating a meaningful experience that’ll engage the audiences, in relevant ways. “Giving immersive shopping experiences to our customers has always been our top priority because our eclectic collection of home furnishings and furniture at Sarita Handa has always been craft-centric. With Sarita Handa Now, we have ushered in a new design language so we wanted to create tactile, engaging experiences. Moreover, having an experiential space is a “must-have” because it gives customers a feel of the brand and its ethos,” said Sarita Handa, Founder and Creative Director, Sarita Handa NOW. Experience stores can broadly be categorised into those that are aesthetic-driven like fashion stores,staging stores like home décor stores and user-experience stores for technology. Apparel retailers are using technology like virtual trial rooms and smart mirrors for customers to ‘experience’ the outfit or accessory. Electronic stores are using technology such as augmented reality to offer a simulated experience of the gadgets are becoming common; and home décor brands are giving consumers a chance to have a tactile experience of the product. Each of these experiential stores has a unique USP to cater to different aspects, from artistic cafés and stores to ones that offers customers a chance to touch, feel and engage with a product. These stores have also been located carefully (often closer to airports) to ensure a customer can visit a new city just for the store. The human touch The feel and smell of a physical store can be captivating. As we move towards online shopping ecosystems, some still prefer the traditional tactile experience of touching and seeing before purchasing a product. After the pandemic, individuals wished to go back to in-person shopping experiences, and retailers began to experiment with newer modes of experiences and sales. While some retailing on e-commerce platforms started hosting pop-ups; others introduced staging stores. Luxury brand Ikai Asai was one such homegrown brand to organize an interesting experiential pop-up at the AM/ PM Store in DLF Emporio where the brand collaborated with chefs such as Bani Nanda for workshops on the art of table scaping. This was an unusual way to introduce consumers to touch, feel and experience the lightweight Into the world of Sabyasachi 10|L U X E B O O K|N O V E MB E R 2 0 2 2 N O V E MB E R 2 0 2 2 |L U X E B O O K| 1 1