Retailigence

“Club of Knowledge Hunters”

Retailers bet on entertainment activities to lure customers

Posted by retailigence on August 30, 2008

As spiralling inflation dents buyer sentiment, leisure and entertainment forays seem to be big retailers’ weapons to fight flagging sales.Leading the way is Kishore Biyani-led Future Group that is opening unisex salons, gaming centres and family entertainment centres at its nine Big Bazaar Supercentres. Similarly, Vishal Retail is planning to start salons within the premises of its 120-odd outlets.

Shoppers Stop has introduced its brand of cafes, bookstores and spas within its stores to make consumers spend more time and entice them to buy more. Shoppers Stop vice-president (marketing) Vinay Bhatia feels such options are important to retain customers. “A customer now looks for more than just shopping. We realise that convergence of retail and entertainment is the way to enhance a shopper’s experience. We are constantly trying to get things that are ‘shopping plus’. So we have Crossword, our bookstore, Cafe Brio & DesiCafe and other such specialty stores within Shoppers Stop stores to enrich consumer experience.”

The Raheja Group-promoted Shoppers Stop is putting its best foot forward to attract shoppers. The company has added small spa centres, allowing consumers a quick foot massage. Then there are bookstores and cafes along with several other initiatives to attract customers and make them spend more time inside the store. It has also introduced a ‘Monsoon Makeover’ offering that promises free makeover for people who walk in.
Following suit is Vishal Retail that will begin by opening salons within the premises of its stores. Says Vishal Retail chairman RC Agarwal, “The initiative is in the planning stage. There is a definite market for these services.”

Spencer’s Retail is also going the extra mile to ensure visitors stay longer and are entertained well. Across the stores, there are live kitchens on weekends that have Japanese, Thai and Italian chefs.
Then there is Books & Beyond, Spencer’s brand of bookstores that has periodic book reading sessions and launches. Stores are also lined with interactive LCD screens that have both original and borrowed content entertaining people.

“We do a business of Rs 100 crore every month. This is 5% of our revenues. Today, consumers expect to feel relaxed and entertained. This is important for a chain like ours that wants to be differentiated. This concept, however, may not have much potential with discount chains,” says Spencer’s Retail marketing V-P Samar Singh Sheikhawat.

There are still others like Subhiksha Retail MD R Subramaniam who think it wise to continue retailing what they currently do. “We are staying focused on what we sell, groceries, mobile phones and medicines. There will be a foray into consumer durables and IT products soon.”
Gaining Share
•    Future Group is opening unisex salons, gaming centres and family entertainment centres at its nine Big Bazaar Supercentres.
•    Vishal Retail is planning to start salons within premises of its 120-odd outlets.
•    Shoppers Stop has introduced its own brand of cafes, bookstores and spas within its stores to make consumers spend more time at the store and entice them to buy more.
•    Spencer’s Retail has set up live kitchens and book stores to ensure customers spend more time.
•    Smaller players like Subhiksha Retail think it wise to continue retailing what they presently do.

Source: Economic Times

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