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  Chief Editor Anuraag S | Editor Swati Bhalla | Powered by GigaSoft™ Issue 6, 2010


Name: Vishal Kapoor
Present designation: Head | Experience Design
Company: Future Group
Location: Mumbai

“He is a NIFT Delhi graduate with 15 years of fine experience in Visual Merchandising. Being a Himachali, his love for nature has been an inherent trait – one that he would not bargain for anything in the world. His philosophy in life is to ‘flow’ with the times and circumstances, and, like ‘water’, simply seep through and move ahead.”

What led you to pursue a career in visual merchandising?

Vishal: A perfect mix of business and design was a tempting enough proposition for me to take this career. A profile, which encapsulates the key creative ingredients for enhancing customer experience and brand building while providing both strategic and tactical support to the business, is an ever exciting challenge. The key thought of developing a business strategy not based on rudimentary management techniques, but on aspects more humane and emotional was an interesting proposition to make this a career choice.

What is the typical process you go through for implementing a display?

Vishal: The design process is simple: Discovery, Ideation, Design, Building and Adaptation… the stress and the criticality of the steps of process are case-specific. The idea is to take inferences and references from larger aspects of business and environment and finally converge it into a design solution which attracts /invites/communicates and sells.

Where does India stand today when one talks of retail and where do you see the future of visual merchandising going?

Vishal: India has just seen an introduction of modern retail. A country where the trade has been primarily dominated by the middlemen – stockists, baniyas and dukandaars – modern retail is bringing about a slow but a steady change in the shopping behaviour of the Indian consumer. As organised retail grows and number of players increases, the pressure on bottom lines and throughputs in stores increasing the role of visual merchandisers would become more and more crucial. Higher conversions would be the key business accountability for all visual merchandisers. Even as of today the key metros have already seen a boom in terms of malls, hypermarkets/supermarkets, fashion and department stores and multiplexes and initiatives like ‘adhaar’ and ‘choupaal’ and efforts being made by corporates to percolate into the smaller towns and even villages.

Visual merchandising would have to find its own path of growth in these evolving markets. I see the future of visual merchandising evolving into more as a tool for management of customer experience making sure that the brand ethos touches not just a customer’s mind but also her heart. This is from the fact that visual merchandising in India has to find its own unique and more wholesome way of identifying its contribution to the business and create its own USP in the retail industry which is not just limited to peripheral value addition but find its place in evolving the core business decisions. It needs to be growing as a complete design solution resource which affects the strategic intent of the organisation and caters to the overall experience of the customer redefining the customer behaviour.

Hence, I would always propagate the terminology as Experience Designer rather that only a ‘visual’ merchandiser a theoretical term defined by the western norms not necessarily applicable to Indian Scenario.

Source: Visual Merchandising by McGraw Hill Education

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