Active Observation “If you make listening and observationyour occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk”- Robert Baden Powell
6 Different Centers Over 6 Days 60 Insights
Centers Covered Digital Store: Reliance Digital Lifestyle Store: Life Style NGO: Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT) Grocery Store: More Clothing and Accessories: CMR Indian Ethnic: FabIndia
Key Observations: CMR Attractive mannequins, sheer glass entrance draws me in The door‟s open and I‟m greeted by a floral fragrance Everything is off white: the flooring, the wall color. Makes the huge store look spacious. The first thing I see is cosmetics, and I‟m drawn. Yes, this is a woman-only store. Men and women look at the different sections. And they are ready to help me wherever I go. They are well informed. They are locals, they know the language and the products well.
CMR Store: Glass doors, attractive mannequinsand small sized signage in noticeable Green and white
Key Observations: BCT The path and gate are always open. Verdant greenery and sparse buildings welcome me in. The floor is cemented, true to its rural values. Red oxide flooring is attractive and rural. Thatched roofing and traditional construction is followed Looks like a place that respects values and traditions. People are from the villages, well versed with what they do. The ambience is calm and peaceful
A presentation in BCT’s open auditorium. Notethe red oxide floor, lemon yellow walls and thethatched roof!
Key Observation: More The grocery store is relatively empty on a Sunday evening, a time when such stores are usually full. People come in ones and two‟s, usually not browsing, but here to buy something. Discounted products are centrally located. Interiors are white and gray. The place looks dull. The lighting shows up the flaws of the store and gives it that boring look. Its easier to shop though. Both men and women store employees present. They are helpful, though not all of them are well informed about products. No music, no mood lighting, the place looks fuddy- duddy
Attractive signage in orange and white with gr
Practical lighting, vitrified floors and snack foods at eye level. Discount offers up on the ceiling
Key Observation: RelianceDigital A large board offering discount, large glass walls giving a peek of the inside draws me in. Discounted items are displayed at the counter near the entrance. Many men are shopping in the afternoon for laptops and other electronic items. Electrical items like grinders, clothes iron, vaccum cleaner stand on the other side, while refrigerators etc stand at the extreme end. The lighting is practical tube lights, making the place look technology-oriented. You can touch and feel the products. Store employees are young girls and boys at the 24 to 35 age group. They are definitely not users of the expensive products displayed here.
Reliance Digital StoreAttracts with festive lights and discount/cashback offers
Male Shoppers Dominate in theReliance Digital Store.Note the practical white lightingand the smart shelves.
Key Observation: Life Style Large off-white vitrified tiles and ivory wall paint A storey high ceiling, mood lights, fancy lamps in white Sofas are the first thing my „tired-legs‟ see, but I‟m not supposed to sit in them. Salespeople are in the 23 to35 age group, both men and women and definitely not users of this expensive brand. I can browse, but not touch and see everything. Shoppers come in two‟s or three‟s and usually for the furnishings.
Brightly lit, attractive andpastel-huedLife Style Store
Key Observations: Fab India Part of a chain of stores that sells Indian traditional garments Has an earthy feel with browns, yellows and mood lighting. Has made windows its display and showcases its curtains range there. Does not encourage you to touch, but you can request the staff to help you The staff, both men and women do not connect to me. They seem to not care whether I shop there or not. They just let me be. Has a nice aroma of lavender wafting through and impulse buys of ear rings, bangles and little bags are
The Vizag FabIndia store that sells Indianapparel
6 important Insights
#1 Retail Outlets Use Lustrous off-white Vitrified Tiles Off-white lustrous Vitrified tiles are strong, durable and make rooms look brighter and bigger. They are also extremely slippery and other than me, I could see other customers slipping as well
#2 All Retail Stores have GlassDoors Commonly used to make the store appear large and let outsiders have a sneak peek into the products. Looks really classy. Closed doors can be dangerous, as people tend to walk right into them. Has been a cause of concern and hence security is posted at the door. However, they are not vigilant all the time
#3 The Large Shops Have HighCeilings It makes the place look huge and is airy and more comfortable. However, it surely must be using up more air conditioning to cool the place down
#4 Arrangements Everywhere areBy Function Products/ Services are all organized by function making it easier to shop. It makes it easier for me to shop in the category I‟m seeking. However they are not always intelligently placed. Curtains next to sofa sets would have made more relative sense, perhaps?
#5 The customers come ingroups Single shoppers were rare and everyone was in groups. The only exception was the grocery stores where those on a mission to buy something were alone. Clothing stores had families come in while digital stores predominantly had male shoppers. Amazingly at 3pm the digital area had many male shoppers. Was that not office time?
#6 Lighting, Scent and Music:Ambience sets the Mood The lighting in all places is just right. Practical tube lights bring the digital area to life. Mood lights and fancy lamps are in the lifestyle store and clothes stores. Music is prominent by its absence. I would love to spend more time in a store where music plays. Except CMR, no other store is into „scent marketing‟. At CMR thought I get a mild whiff of Jasmine as soon as I walk in. Ambience plays a role in the lifestyle and women‟s store. However it is downplayed at the digital and totally missing at the grocery store. The NGO has a natural ambience, smells of fresh grass and has practical lighting.
Thumbs down to
No Place to Sit My legs ache and after a while I look for a place to sit, but there‟s nothing. Stores in India do not encourage sitting as they would prefer customers to be on the move…ah painful! That!
Too slippery a floor The slippery floor could really be dangerous, I could barely walk without slipping and the uncomfortable balance in turn caused my legs to pain.
We lack individual identity Keeping with the international trend, floors and walls are off-white, lights are white and people are in uniform. Even the uniform is of trousers and shirt. Are we trying to go global and be local at the same time? We seem to follow a „me-too‟ trend without stopping to think what individualistic changes each store could do.
So What Did I learn New?I‟ve made thousands of trips to these stores, but never observed That all had off-white vitrified floors and glass doors, a common trend, a common reason. That they all want to look large and impressive, even if it means that they look like the others. That they welcome me to their store to browse, touch everything, ask questions and buy. That they do not care enough to give me a chair or keep their tiles anti-slip.
An interesting learningexperience… For is it not true….
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be thosewho cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn- Alvin Toffler Thanks!