June 2007


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Swati Bhalla

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A workshop on Interactive Retail Experiences
by Experiential Design Lab (www.experiential-lab.com)

NIFT, New Delhi organized a 3-day workshop on Interactive Retail Experiences on 17-19 May’07 within NIFT Campus. The workshop was presented by Anurag Sehgal, Giovanni Cannata & Mustafa Siddiqui of Experiential Design Lab-xdlab. Xdlab designs experiences. Their design process is people-centered and their tools focus on targeting the various senses in rhythm to achieve the wholesome result.

They work anywhere people, design and technology cross-merge. The things, places and services they design focus on the active participation of people and thus their designs incorporate an intuitive understanding of the design solutions by the users. Starting from a person’s or group’s needs, perceptions and desires they move towards their whole reference worlds for extracting the right contexts.

Something about Experiential Technologies
Experiential Technologies help tell people stories. Out of the vast gamut of technologies, those used to create experiences in products, spaces or services enter the category of experiential technologies. These technologies mainly help to target the various senses. Various output technologies are used to target sight, hearing, touch, smell & taste and various input technologies target speech & touch. The main process involves the understanding our bodily actions and translating them into a language that the synthetic environment understands. The reverse process involves creating and translating the response fom the synthetic environment for us. This set of action and reaction participated in the experience.

Experimental Technologies

What are Interactive Retail Experiences?
The two parallel emerging interesting developments in the world of fashion are in the product segment and in the retail segment which could be referred to as 'electronic fashion' and 'interactive retail experiences' respectively. We mention two relevant examples that are famous amongst these categories.

'New Nomads' by Philips Design and Levi's: This project explored the world of 'gizmo garments'.Soft buttons sown in the garment to control personal devices, electrical patterns on jacket center-backs to give soothing massage and children garments embedded with tracking circuits were just few of the various experiments.
(Http://www.design.philips.com/about/design/section-13526/index.html)

'Prada Retail Experience' by Rem Koolhas for Prada: This project, where many more participants like IDEO, Reed Kram etc participated was one of the first major projects to explore the world of retail experiences. Hanger displays hanging with garments showing stories about them, RFID closet in changing room to show story of garments being tried on, magic mirror that shows reflection of front and back and controllable changing room lights to test garment in actual lighting conditions & just few of the elements of this store. (Http://www.ideo.com/case_studies/prada.asp?x=1)

Experimental Technologies

Outcome
The workshop began with a comprehensive introduction to this new 'smart' (referring to use of microcontrollers) retail design and visual merchandising with a general picture on electronic fashion. Followed by introduction to/hands on familiar -isation of experiential technologies by building of small working hand crafted prototypes. The 3 days ended with group efforts full of fun and excitement, to construct working retail experience ideas and prototypes along with a presentation. The workshop aimed to get the participant acquainted in a practical way to the various tricks, insights and possibilities of these new and upcoming changes in retail design and visual merchandising.

Outcome Outcome

Pick of the Month
June

A chance to get noticed in the industry. A chance to show your creativity. A chance to participate and win display awards every month.
(submit your entries at thinktank@studioatomium.com)
Zara Kids Diesel
 
Any Questions?

If you have any display or store planning/layout related questions, send it to us!
Mr. Surender Gnanaolivu, Concept Head - Lifestyle Dept. Store, Reliance Retail, will answer your questions... (Mr. Surender Gnanaolivu has a rich experience of 14yrs in Store Planning, Retail Planning, VM, Presentation & teaching Retail Management.)

(submit your questions at thinktank@studioatomium.com)

Q: Ours is a value format store (BIG BAZAAR). Whatever display I done in-store, is damaged within few days as because of heavy crowd and there is hardly any space to display properly as because of shortage of space & every corner of our carpet area are captured by merchandise. So, is space a great factor that hinder display?
-Ramen

The way to go about it is as follows:
1. Observe and study the assortment and merchandising presentation principles of the store.
2. Map the above and then list down the communication that is required and planned for promoting the merchandise through visual communication and display.
3. Map locations in areas for the above that does not interfere with the merchandise assortment and density presentation. You may need to look for space in between the merchandise presentation line on the perimeter/floor fixtures and the ceiling.
4. The above is likely to give you space for ceiling suspended, column mounted , fixture topper platforms and information holders as a scope for use.
5. Categorize the above based on the priority of need for communication / display across the store and allocate the same for implementation.
Remember that as you are planning this in a running store it need a lot of opportunistic innovation in ‘finding spots’ in the store that could many times depend on the store configuration that is likely to be different for different stores. For a new store this must be planned at the stage of the store design conceptualization.

Q: What are the things to be kept in mind before a store design and fixture design. And what is the role of VM at the time of designing a store and its implementation. -Harshzad K (SAIRA HARSHZAD ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN ELEMENT STUDIO)

Some key elements for store design are;
1. Understanding customer: The needs the store is going to satisfy, their shopping behavior, their convenience perception,
their lifestyle –psychographic and demographic information’s.
2. Understanding the Store offering: The type of merchandise (Fashion, consumer goods, electronic goods etc.) , the assortment and the density of presentation, specific needs for selling them , the back storage needs, the security needs etc.
3. The Communication needs: The store positioning , the marketing aspects of the store, loyalty plan etc.
4. The Place: The location of the store (A store in a Mall would be different in interpretation of the same design in the execution from a stand alone store) , the property configuration (mono or multi level) , the market where it would be located (metros or towns ) etc.
5. The culture: The culture of the market that the store is likely to be located in. Remember the saying ‘in Rome do as Romans do’. Always interpret the store design in the local cultural context so that the shopper can relate to it. Fixture design is a sub set of store design and the same needs to meet the merchandising needs (display the required ass- ortment and density, flexibility to take changes in merchandising strategies, durability, user friendliness etc.) of the offering and the aesthetic needs of the store design.

The role of VM at the time of designing a store are as follows:
1. Planning the Visual Merchandising Strategy for the store integrating store design, merchandising and communication strategies of the store.
2. Planning locations for implementation of the same across the store for different communication and display priorities.
3. Planning the content/ design of each of the above locations to satisfy the overall VM strategy of the store. The scope would be Displays, Decoration, graphics, temporary communication signage’s and the store music.
4. Detailing, costing , procurement and installation with clear accountability for quality control of all the VM elements in the store at the time of the store set-up.
Remember the Visual Merchandiser is part of the store design team and needs to be involved at the time of the conceptualization of the store and not brought in when everything is decided and be asked to “do up” spaces that have been ear marked for VM.

Tip of the Month WhizBang! Training, Phone: 616-842-4237, Fax: 616-842-2977,
E-mail: bob@whizbangtraining.com

Last year Susan got a cool new bicycle for her birthday. Dark ocean blue, shock absorbing front fork, and 24 speeds. Very cool. We bought the bike at our favorite local bike shop, Rock and Road Cycle. When you buy your bike from Tim, you get a free tune up on the anniversary of your purchase. Nice touch. And simple, too. At the point of purchase they ask you to write your name and address on a postcard which they keep and send you one year later. Bring in your postcard for the tune-up. Well, Susan's postcard came the first week of May and last week we took her bike in for the tune up.

As we were loading the bike into our van, Susan decided she wanted to add a speedometer and a water bottle to her bike. On the way to the shop I realized I need a couple of saddlebags so I could ride my bike to work. (Have you CHECKED the gas prices?!) While I was there I remembered we needed a new pump the old one broke last fall.

The tune up may have been free, but at the end of the day we spent over $150 and we were happy about it! It's amazing and wonderful how great service turns into more sales. We've said it many times before, but it bears repeating---Givers Get!

Share Display Snaps
(submit your entries at thinktank@studioatomium.com)

Display Snaps
1 2 3
Camera
A simple display of glasses, on a ‘thaila gaadi’, parked on a footpath. The cups are placed in the first row, the taller glasses in second row.
Under every glass/cup, the respective box-set of the same design is kept, for easy access and delivery.
A very common way to display ‘Specs’. Due to high frequency of customer interaction, the price is mentioned on left lense (upper corner) with a marker which is easily wiped off with glass cleanser once it’s sold.
An acrylic sign holder is put on the shelf edge with signage/poster (A5 size; 250-300 gsm), to get the attention of the customer walking on the aisle of a Supermarket or departmental store.
 
VM Training

NOTES:

1 The window back and base are ‘Backlit’. Base is of milky white acrylic.
2 Clearly it’s a sports shoes and apparel shop window.
3 The props used are:
a. Simple metal stands (see illustration)
b. Orange color tray; 2 nos.
4 The mannequin is headless & showing back to display the features of the ‘Bag’

Display Errors

Many errors made in display can be easily avoided. Some of the most common errors include:

Too Much Merchandise
There is no rule that specifically states how much merchandise should appear in a display area. One consideration is the price of the merchandise. The more expensive the item, the fewer displayed. Caution must be exercised so that a display area does not (a) appear crammed with many similar items, (b) have so many different items that any selling message is lost and (c) appear aesthetically offensive to the viewer. It’s very commonly observed that most of the stores are overly stocked. They don’t really realize or care about the visual appeal or the display standards. However, a small exercise was carried by myself and the respective operations team at one of the major retail chain, in their ‘Casual/Denims’ section. We reduced the merchandise to 40% (in that particular section/level), and surprisingly, the sale went up by 33%.

Too Little Merchandise
A window display or display area with too little merchandise makes a store appear to be going out of business, or indicates to the customer that the establishment is less than prosperous. Generally, the reason for lack of merchandise in a display is that the merchandise has been sold out of the display and has not been replaced.
If the items needed for the display are unavailable, the dimensions of the display area need to be reduced to make it appear in proportion with the available merchandise. Poor planning of what merchandise is to be placed in a display may also cause a display to appear empty.


Apart from above, the following
errors are commonly made in a
display:

a) Too many props.
b) Poorly selected props.
c) Displays changed too seldom.
d) Length of time necessary to
change a display is too long.
e) Limited or no display budget.
f) Lack of attention to detail.
g) Mistakes in applying the princi
-ples of display.
Send us your comments and feedback on thinktank@studioatomium.com Your valuable suggestions can only let us improve this newsletter. For contribution of articles, snaps, information, do mail us. Hope you enjoyed this issue!! Happy displaying...