In this fast-changing world, staying relevant in the retail sector is the formidable task. One company which has managed to stay abreast of the changes brewing in the sector while emerging as one of the fastest growing retail establishments is Tata Group’s retail arm, Infiniti Retail.
A Deloitte report titled ‘India Matters: Winning in Growth Markets’ highlights the datum that India is likely to emerge as the world’s largest middle-class consumer market with an aggregated consumer spend of nearly Rs 13 lakh crore by 2030. Infiniti Retail – which operates one of India’s most successful gadget stores, Croma – is thriving owning to this continuous inflow of disposable income.
Croma is the nation’s first large format specialist retail chain for consumer electronics and white goods and has successfully expanded into Croma Zip stores, Croma Kiosks as well as an online vertical, www.croma.com. The brand has also recently launched a first-of-its-kind premium format store, Gadgets of Desire in New Delhi. The brand has 27 Gadgets of Desire shop-in-shops all across India, but this is the first exclusive, standalone outlet.
Ritesh Ghosal, CMO, Croma says, “Croma has always been a customer-centric retail company and Gadgets of Desire is an attempt to bring Croma closer to the customer and make it a ‘go to destination’ for everything electronic. Designed to be compact as compared to regular Croma megastores, Gadgets of Desire offers customers the entire range and capabilities of a full-fledged Croma store through the ‘wider-than-store’ service.”
Croma Goes ‘Wider Than Store’
‘Wider-than-store’ is Croma’s Omnichannel capability that allows customers to browse, view and find those products which are not on display and also allows them to complete the purchase of the product on the spot.
Gadgets of Desire hosts a curated range of innovative and unique tech products that are a perfect fit for today’s digital savvy and gadget-loving customers. The store’s unique interactive touch-based sound experience zone lets customers experience over 70 speakers with just a touch.
“We provide the sound experience of playing over 70 products through audio kiosks at a finger touch. There are also endless aisle touchscreens for ‘wider than store’ capability to help customers get the entire range of Croma at their fingertips. Apart from this, we have an IoT zone for smart gadgets that allows customers to experience the entire IoT ecosystem,” says Ghosal.
According to Ghosal: “The new store format is that of a small neighborhood store, a totem of the full-fledged Croma store, which will be a gateway for customers to the entire range of Croma’s electronics.”
What the Store Looks Like
The interior of Gadgets of Desire exudes a certain premium-ness – then be it in the warm lighting of the store, or the specially designed fixtures for product display with floating table tops, or the sound zone, or even the endless aisle kiosks.
A special zone has been earmarked for IoT showcasing the ‘Life meets Tech’ proposition for Croma.
Ghosal says, “Another highlight of the store are the knowledgeable, well-informed advisors who patiently sieve through perceptions and misconceptions to help customers make informed buying decisions. Delightful deals on popular brands and products are also regularly offered.”
Who’s Designed the Store
The newly-opened outlet is a store-house of innovations. From touch-screens to unbeatable sound experience, the store has everything that a customer can dream of. Networkbay Retail, a unique curated retail platform, which combines the talents of the world’s leading retail design agencies, retail technologies and services to transform retail experiences has partnered Croma to develop Gadgets of Desire which is being touted as Croma’s tech-centric premium format.
Helping retailers develop the ‘store of the future’, Networkbay Retail took on Croma’s mandate to deliver a global standard premium format that showcases Croma’s Omnichannel capabilities and extends their ‘wider-than-store’ proposition.
On delivering Croma’s mandate, Hozefa Attari, Co-founder, Networkbay Retail says, “We are glad to partner Croma to showcase our capabilities of collaborating with best in class global agencies in design and technology to create retail experiences that are seamless. Our unconventional approach to delivery is what sets us apart from the otherwise traditional models.”
Attari further adds, “Befitting Croma’s requirement, we engaged two global retail specialists – a US-based global brand experience design company, Chute Gerdeman, to create the store experience and a UK-based agency, Scoop Retail to develop the in-store technology for the new small store format. Our focused cross-functional team of professionals worked seamlessly with Croma’s Operations, Store Design, Real Estate and the Project Management departments, all the way from concept up to the opening and post-inaugural phases.”
The company’s team of 50+ top industry pros imagine and bring to life experiences that connect people to brands and deliver true business transformation. Through their innovative designs, Chute Gerdeman has helped reshape customer experience for brands like Verizon, Wendy’s, Dominos, Best Buy among a plethora of top brands.
Ghosal explains that the company designed Gadgets of Desire with the core attributes of Croma at its heart. The store lives and breathes the brand essence of ‘Helping you Live Smarter’.
At the heart of the store is its Visual Merchandising (VM) policy. VM plays a huge role in driving the overall experience for customers at Gadgets of Desire. The store fixtures have been designed and displayed in a way to give consumers that unique shopping experience. Case in point are Feature Tables with floating table tops, which have been designed for highlighting unique or hard to find products complete with special display fixtures to accentuate these products.
Some of the highlights at the store include:
– Feature Tables: These uniquely designed tables – that accentuate new and unique products – are designed in a way to showcase customer usage of the product with some interesting images and a short snippet of ‘life-meets-tech’ stories helping the customer resonate with the products on display, thereby understanding how the products will make his/her life better.
– Sound Wall: A specially-designed sound section also takes the user experience a notch higher. This is a specially designed interactive sound zone that boasts of over 70+ unique speakers. Customers can experience these products at a touch of a button. The tablet pods also allow for customers to compare the different products on the wall. “This sound section has speakers that can be demo’d with just a touch,” says Ghosal.
– Overhead Projector: The store also has an overhead projector that runs interesting videos about product usages, unique offers that can be viewed from both inside and outside the store.
– Backlit Wall Fixtures: Backlit fixtures placed in the category adds to the vibrancy of the entire store with interesting life-meets-tech visuals.
The Lighting Effect
In today’s technology-driven age, brick-and-mortar retailers are striving hard to stay in the game as e-retail becomes more omnipresent with each passing day. A pertinent way they are employing of increasing in-store sales is the use of intelligent lighting.
Efficient in-store lighting not only enhances the shopping experience but can also be a vital tool to boost in-store sales. Effective retail store lighting solutions reflect brand identity and attract new customers, which ultimately results in improved sales.
Croma determinedly believes in the power of efficient lighting and to that effect, has got the in-store lights also designed by Chute Gerdeman. The store is filled with warm colors for an ambient atmosphere that makes customers feel happy and completely at ease.
“Accent lightings have been used to highlight special products for effective customer engagement,” says Ghosal.
Croma has always been a customer-centric retail company, with a key focus on customer satisfaction across all stores. With Gadgets of Desire, the idea is to bring experiential retail to the consumer, helping them touch, feel and experience products, personally, in an attempt to strengthen customer trust while constantly upgrading the delight quotient.
Tracing Croma’s History
Croma entered the modern retail market with sourcing and a backend tie-up with Australian retailer, Woolworths. Subsequently, Croma bought the India wholesale arm of Woolworths. This partnership gave Croma a strong footing in sourcing, offering a wide variety of products and price advantage vis-à-vis others, and also helped them in private label development.
Croma, which launched its first store in October 2006 in Mumbai, now has a customer base of over 6 million and almost 100 outlets across 20 major cities of India. With strong relationships across the entire eco-system of brands, financiers, insurers and other partners, Croma serves over 50,000 customers every day and ranges over 6,000 unique products in the stores from 6 lead categories namely Home Appliances, Audio & Video, Photography, Computing, Kitchen & Wellness, Mobiles & more.
Reiterating the same commitment to delight customers all along, Croma launched its own label products ‘Croma Life Accessories’ in 2008 – with over 200 products in its portfolio that have a share in Croma of over 20 percent in select categories.
With its own e-commerce website – www.croma.com – Croma is able to achieve online-offline synergies to bring seamless shopping experience to customers.