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‘Post-pandemic Home Lifestyle & Design is about creating comfortable, personalised, inspiring spaces’: Dipali Patwa


Fabindia unveiled its first ever home & lifestyle concept store at Khan Market, New Delhi in the month of June. Spread across 1900 sq. ft., the store is created and curated with a vision to offer a holistic lifestyle experience. The store also provides a set up for the work from home concept, which is the need of the hour and is preferred by a majority of the consumers. Through its newly launched Interior Design Solutions (IDS) service, Fabindia is offering experts’ help on-ground to ensure that the visitor walk away having made the most informed purchases.

In an exclusive interaction with IMAGES Retail, Dipali Patwa, Group Head of Brand, Community & Digital, CMO Fabindia talks about the new trends of retail, changing consumer behaviour, challenges and roadmap for the industry ahead.

Tell us about the new ‘Concept store’ of the brand that was launched recently? Tell us about the idea, concept and strategy behind the launch?
Home is where the heart is, and creating flexibility and adaptability in one’s own home has now become the new norm. Fabindia’s rich heritage of textiles and traditions has always been at the forefront of this particular category. Embracing the work from home, schooling from home, shopping from home; to outdoors in, from green to clean and filling it with enjoyable experiences is how most of us are going to enhance our spaces that we inhabit.

Post-pandemic home lifestyle and design is all about creating comfortable, personalised, inspiring spaces and the desire to use every room in your house than ever before. To refresh and revaluate the way we live and cohabitate, here comes Fabindia’s first ‘Home Lifestyle Store’, to cater to the needs of the demanding consumer.

We are excited to embrace and redesign our homes to be spaces of living and learning, play and productivity. As we usher in the new era, where our homes will be relaxing retreats and functional productive workspaces at the same time, Fabindia has got you covered with the launch of this new home lifestyle concept store and all that it has to offer.

Concept stores are in trend now. What is unique about this store? Highlight key features about this store?
Fabindia has been on the forefront of experiential retail even before the pandemic. For 60 years and counting, Fabindia has been a thought leader in the space of social impact-led design, artisanal products, craft-led fashion, and sustainability and has been the leading voice. Trends come and go, but what continues to stay and evolve is a true long-term commitment and purposeled innovation towards understanding our community and their needs and solving them by offering beautiful product, services and experiences one step at a time. This particular store is your one stop shop for Home.

From Fab Essentials which are your everyday well-made products to FabNU which are your fun décor and giftables for the fab millennials looking for a quick refresh, to everything in between.

Have you introduced any new category amid the pandemic? Have you observed any changes in consumption pattern as well?

We are one of the most resilient brands in the industry and that is because the founding teams along with the new digital teams have been working together during the pandemic to ensure that we keep our original vision and mission always at the forefront of what we do. Ensuring the livelihoods of our artisans and community groups is why we initiated our Disposable PPE suits and Hope Masks initiatives. Post that the teams have been diligent in ensuring that even when retail stores were closed, accelerated efforts towards digital fabindia.com and social media led initiatives @fabindiaofficial and @fabindiahome were activated at speed.

Catering to our growing community of 35 years and younger, we initiated the development of 2 new brands- FabNU and Fabessentials which we will be launching in the next couple of weeks across the categories of apparel, home and personal care.

Last two years have been very tough for the retail industry. Tell us the brand growth in the last two financial cycles?
Both the waves of the pandemic has been devastating for retail and the economy overall. Fabindia is no different. However, with the management’s strong efforts and the teams’ dedication along with the undying support of our loyal customers and community, we are convinced that we will return to the required run-rate with all the initiatives in place across digital, social commerce, fabindia.com, shop at home service and experiential retail.

What must brands and retailers innovate to keep customers engaged in physical stores?
Fabindia was always at the forefront of changing consumer mindset. Our first pivot to become a lifestyle brand to give our customers an aspirational way of living through product and services that will meet these essential human needs so that while B2C grows, so will H2H – the human to human interaction that will be the core to our ECs (Experience Centres) post pandemic.

We plan to integrate our EC’s and franchise stores with the Omnichannel platform that is currently under development combined with our hyper-local area based deliveries through our 1800 number and white glove service will leverage the strengths of our 340 brick and mortar stores which are in some of the best locations. The ECs will meet an essential human need of our customers to connect, feel appreciated, be social and buy goods and find services that address their personalised  needs and be a part of our community.

Any special innovation and technology you want to highlight that makes your retail journey meaningful apart from this store?
We are working towards the launch of our Shared Values Digital Platform soon. With our growing community of 5 million+ Fabfamily & Social Media members, we will be offering experiences, benefits and partnerships underpinned by similar values and build around solving their pain points and inviting them to become a part of a movement that takes action to support their beliefs while having fun.

Tell us about your marketing  strategies across all formats of retail?
Integrated marketing has been the way to realise true customer potential towards retention. Discovery as we all know is happening online through various digital, social media, mobile platforms and apps. The conversion of a customer journey now needs to catch up with the discovery through seamless attribution.

For a brand like Fabindia our purpose and our community has led us towards this integration. We listen to our community, get feedback and use our data and insights to drive communication that are more meaningful towards a 360 degree connect online and offline. This has also driven our product curation now as we move forward.

Key collaboration across all internal teams like design, merchandising, supply chain, e-commerce, stores along with seamless communication across digital, social media, CRM, VM and instore communications using effective tech to enhance these efforts is the way to accelerate the execution and performance.

Are there any more new concept store launches in the pipeline? If yes, in which cities?
We will be opening about 30 more stores this year. Most of the projects are in the pipeline and we will be sharing more information about the latest development very soon.

How are you gearing up for the festive season and what steps are you taking to provide a safe shopping environment to the consumers?
Fabindia is committed to the health and safety of our customers, community and employees. We have also rolled out in-store safety protocols that are stringently followed to date. In addition to regular hygiene and housekeeping activities, the staff follows a detailed sanitising protocol to disinfect every area and item in the store with HOCL.

Constant temperature checks are maintained using a contact-less thermometer and all staff members are equipped with masks and gloves that they are required to wear at all times at work. Trial rooms are constantly disinfected and safety and care instructions have been placed at prominent spots in the stores.