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Reliance Trends – Ambience Mall (Vasant Kunj)

Every day, our unconscious mind dictates our action. As customers, we make unconscious
purchase decisions guided by emotion, intuition and gut feeling. In marketing, these
purchase decisions and choices can be influenced in order to control the sacred first
impression. Marketing stimuli manipulates our senses pushing and pulling us to certain
products or brands. Needless to say, businesses which take advantage of marketing stimuli
increase sales opportunities.
Brands like Central, Lifestyle and Reliance are in a single mall competing against each other
to give their customers the best of buying experience. Brands have to always work on their
marketing mix stimuli and visual merchandising in order to attract consumers. There is a
neck to neck among brands to generate maximum footfalls and eventually sales.
In order to fully understand, whether Reliance Trends have actually been able to cover the 7
Elements of retail we have covered each of them individually and pin-pointed the
improvement area in brief. Also, Central has been taken the benchmark for Reliance Trends
with the most engaging stimulus-marketing plan in the segment.

Excitement – Excitement, Enthusiasm, or the sense of Surprise gives consumer a feeling


of something unexpected or something which is yet to happen in the future. This
‘Exhilaration Factor’ helps in actually getting new customers to the door steps of retail
stores. At the ambient mall, there was no ‘technology’ or ‘human driven’ touchpoints to
infuse the sense of Excitement in customers. Thus, very less or no footfalls at Trends store.

Environment - Store environment is a critical aspect of marketing and refers to the


physical environment of a store, such as the music, lighting, store layout and arrangement
of merchandise. The store environment can elicit a wide range of behaviours from people
within the store, where certain elements can influence customers to stay in the store
longer, increasing the probability that they may buy an item. Conversely, store elements can
also have a negative effect on consumer’s behaviour by influencing them to leave the
premises prematurely.

Ambient Factors: As we talk about the ambient factors of Trends, Lighting being
one of the most important aspect in this category. During our store visit, we found out that
the store was not even properly lit. When we compared the store with Central, we realised
that central had used bright lighting and different colour temperature and rendering were
used to lead customers to certain part of the store or even products. The entire lighting of
Reliance trends felt very dull and boring. On the other hand, we felt like spending more and
more time at the Central store.
The other aspects of ambient factors like Music, Smell and temperature were satisfactory
but can be improved especially the smell by considering a feel-good fragrance or earthy
smell.

Design Factors: A well designed store layout can contribute to a positive shopping
atmosphere, which results in the kind of shopping behaviour a retailer wants to achieve.
When we talk about store design and layout, the first thing which catches a customer’s
attention in a store is its decompression zone. The decompression zone of Central were
spacious and with calm spaces at the entrance to give a sense of luxury and relaxation.
However, Reliance trends entrance were just following the outdated and traditional store
design which has a small boring decoration for Diwali and later filled with clothing.
Also, the aisle and shelf design of the Reliance trends felt very cluttered and claustrophobic
when compared to Central. So, in terms of store design Reliance should work on their store
aesthetics and make it look less cluttered, more spacious and should have been more well
thought out in terms of the layout of clothing railings, such as colour matching and outfit
suggestions.

Social Factors: Social factors affect consumer behaviour significantly. Every


individual has someone around influencing their buying decisions. In the case of retails like
Central and Reliance Trends, it should be through different marketing communication in the
visual form and employee engagement.

Engagement- When it comes to engagement the two aspect where customer come in
contact with the brand is through the:
1. Customer-Merchandise Engagement: Merchandising include all the activities a
retailer performs in and around the shop to create an attractive shop environment
that has the potential of attracting customer to buy a particular product in the mist
of its competitors. In Reliance Trends, we noticed that that it has varieties of
offerings for its customers but still it lacked a sense of feel-good factor. Absence of
visually interactive promotions, sign boards, and the atmosphere itself would make
any customer disinterested and demotivate the purchase intention. On the other
hand, Central has visually satisfying colours in its store, promotions in the form
display motion and uber cool mannequins adorned with beautiful and interesting
clothes would tempt customers to try new clothes.
2. Customer-Employee Engagement: During our visit, we noticed that the employees
were chatting among themselves rather than taking an initiative to engage the
customers and help them through the buying process. The entire time we spent
there was a really boring experience and this should be kept in check through proper
training and engagement processes of employees.

Experiment-

Entertainment- The consumer increasingly expects entertainment and/or


experiential dimensions from a retail environment and not simply as a passive
recipient but an active co-creator of the experience. Entertainment can be in the
form of anything. It can be experiential or just a beautiful bright RED piano at the
Central store. It intrigued me so much that I was looking at the piano for quite a
sometime. I just felt like not living that place because it great feeling of comfort and
luxury. It’s very sad to say that I didn’t feel anything like this at the Reliance Trends
store.

Energy- There was an Ajio Digital booth to check the available products of choice
at the store or online which could be used to make the purchase process easy and
seamless.

Encouragement- Reliance Trends should encourage customers to shop more


and more (For example: ‘Buy more and save more’ campaign) in order to create
repeat purchases, top of mind recall value, loyalty among consumers which would
eventually lead brand advocacy and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Pine and Gilmore Model

Pine and Gilmore (1999) introduced the concept of Experience Economy where a
business' goods and services should be accompanied by consumer experiences, such
as educational and entertainment experiences, to help differentiate their offerings
from competitors and increase performance and profitability.
These domains are placed on a matrix divided by an active-passive involvement axis
and absorption-immersion dimensions axis that together produce quadrants. Active-
passive involvement entails the level of participation by consumers in creation of the
experience-generating offering. Those who passively participate do not directly
affect or influence the offering, whereas active participants directly affect the
offering that yields the experience. Absorption is "occupying a person's attention by
bringing the experience into the mind" and immersion is "becoming physically (or
virtually) a part of the experience itself" (Pine & Gilmore 1999, p. 31).

According to Pine and Gilmore, including all four types of experiences is optimal.
However, resource-strapped small rural businesses should initially focus on one or
two of the 4Es and then augment their experiential offerings over time. The four
domains are:

 Entertainment: The consumer passively observes activities performed by others. The


consumer absorbs and is therefore not part of the activities. Example- concerts

 Educational: The consumer actively participates through interactive engagement of


one’s mind or body. The consumer absorbs and by doing so increases skills and
knowledge. Example- salad making classes in a restaurant.

 Environment/Aesthetic: The consumer passively appreciates and does not alter the
nature of the environment. The consumer is immersed in or surrounded by the
environment. Example- style shows which update the customers with latest trends.
 Escapist: The consumer actively participates in events or activities. He is immersed
in an actual or virtual environment. The consumer is an active actor or participant in
events or activities. Example: a café enables local residents to be a guest chef for an
evening

Incorporating Pine and Gilmore Model in Trends store

As per our visit to the store and casual chat with the Manager, we found the Reliance
Trends (Ambience mall, Vasant Kunj) is not active in any of the four domains and is
not offering any of the four experiences currently. With economy moving towards
the fourth offering of “staged experiences” to differentiate products and establish a
place in customers mind, Trends (Vasant Kunj) should incorporate these changes to
give their customers long lasting experiences which help in brand recall.

According to the four quadrants of Pine and Gilmore model, below is a table of few
more activities that Reliance Trend can incorporate:

Product Promotional
Experience Properties Presentation Applications People
Entertainment Interactive Visual display of promotional a workshop
store sign, pictures events in mall can be set
motion showing like awarding up for
enabled. celebritry the best dressed customers
inspired clothes person. to DIY their
present at the jeans and
store. denim
Educational Installation an informative Advertisements style
art should be placard focussing on consultants
set up in containing new and best can engage
order to fabric collection of the customers
bring description season. with
awareness along with personalised
among apparel journey fashion tips
customers from fibre to at the store.
towards garment.
climate
cahnge.
Environment/aesthtic Fresh styles Free coffee Style show Good color
and new helps the allows sense of
collection customer linger customers to sales staff
should be put as they shop see opulent results in
on products on colorful
mannequins elegant models ensemble
for display to options for
allure the the
customers. customer
Escapist Augmented A mini ramp Spin for discount Popular
reality walk in trial for purcahsers influencer
experience room for at the billing walk-in
for customers customers to counter. scheduled
to try clothes click pictures to give the
without customers a
actually chance to
having to meet and
change them greet them.
which is fun
and time
saving at the
same time.