01 August, 2018
03 March, 2013
After the successful launch of 137 stores across the country, Fastrack, the leading youth fashion accessories brand (a division of Titan Industries, part of the $85 billion Tata Group), today announced the launch of their flagship store at CMH Road, Bangalore. The success story of the Fastrack stores has been unprecedented. Since the launch of its first store in 2009, the retail channel has grown to 137 stores across 68 cities in all metros, mini metros and several smaller towns like Manipal and Nasik receiving tremendous response from its young consumers. The brand is looking at increasing the number to 250 by the end of 2014. Fastrack’s current stores occupy between 500 sq. ft and 800 sq. ft. The flagship store is spread across 1000 sq. ft. The space unfolds through a series of installations and events. A physical grid of white pipes forms the basis for a grid, from which various display systems are suspended. This meshwork of grids hides away services and lighting, and supports various display systems. The store also does not rely on conventional materials apart from a basic vitrified tiled floor, to address issues of uniformity during rollouts across various cities in India. Walls are plastered with a precise mix of cement and form a neutral backdrop to the installations.
Even though there is order in the apparent chaos, there is an underlying sense of exploring a bazaar. This format will be adapted to a multitude of retail formats, including stand alone stores and kiosks. At cursory glance this seems a daunting task, but the entire design is modular and flexible. On the launch, Ronnie Talati, Business Head & Vice President, Fastrack said, “Fastrack is an irreverent brand with in your face, tongue-in-cheek communication; always known to generate a stir, the brand has created a legion of dedicated followers and fans. Fastrack has now managed to translate the irreverence of the brand into a physical space with the launch of this new retail identity”.
Each category has a space of its own and is designed with installations unique to that category. The watches are displayed inside bird cages, the belts are casually worn around a mannequin and the theme is carried forward to poles covered in leather and studs. The bags are suspended in rope using carabiners. Wallets are meant to be pickpocketed from the back of denim jeans and lie hanging out halfway from the pockets, eye wear is displayed on bright yellow bananas. There are old beaten up trunks, floating tables, mirrors, reconditioned refrigerators, urinals and water closets used as display devices, and various objects strewn through the space. Even the transaction desk is centered in the middle of the store becoming an intrinsic part of the experience. Even the signage does not take itself too seriously, and is a riot of blinking color changing lights, set to a DMX controller, representative of lighting from the high streets of Broadway, NY. The small open space in front of the store houses a bike rack and a folding bench.
Fastrack is among those handful of brands to set-up a Flagship Store for themselves. Almost every Retail brand worth its pound would like to set-up its Flagship Store in a prime location in the region / country although only a few actually do so. And even more fewer maintain such stores well enough to call them their Flagship. Some of the other examples of Flagship Stores of iconic brands include;
160 New Bond Street
London, England, UK
- It features a two-story wall of trunks – to showcase the Louis Vuitton tradition of working in leather – and a glass and LED staircase.
- The 15,000 square-foot store is designed to reflect the 21st century mood of London and bring together innovation, heritage and fashion.
- Features a library which showcases the best of British contemporary Art Books and commissions.
- The store’s second floor is a luxurious private client suite, which can only be accessed by invitation.
1-4 King Street
London, England, UK
- 4,000 pairs of the legendary Frogskin sunglasses have been used to create a chandelier in the store.
- The store features a 12-foot tall, 800-pound metallic angel with a 25-foot carbon fiber wingspan.
- The Oakley Custom Lab, where customers can design their own sunglasses and goggles.
- An onsite etching machine is available for custom engraving.
- A 3D experience that showcases the company's innovation.
- The store includes a complete O Lab that utilizes lasers and impact rings to educate customers on Oakley sunglasses.
151 West. 34th St.
New York, NY
- World's largest department store
- 1,000,000 square-foot, nine-floor building
- A registered New York City landmark
- Shoe department occupies two entire floors
- Bridal suite with a walkway platform
- Owned and operated by Macy's since 1902
235 Regent Street
London, England, UK
- Apple's largest store with an estimated rent of £1.5 million a year.
- Events and workshops are held daily in the two-story shop.
- Second of 18 flagship locations planned for global expansion
- High-tech decor, and cutting edge product demos and kiosks
- Completely interactive, with an exhaustive range of products, accessories, 3rd party devices, and mobile technology
- Fully functional multimedia environments for testing all products
- Staff members are all graduates of Nokia Academy
Fifth Avenue and 57th Street
- 124,000 square-foot legendary retail location since 1940
- U.S. National Register of Historic Places
- Made famous in the film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
- Polished granite exterior, doormen, Alpine marble, and breathtaking chandeliers
- Private selling salons with platinum ceilings
- Fifth floor entertaining and exhibition area
- Houses Tiffany & Co. Archives
Flagship Stores add a strategic advantage to the Brand as compared to normal stores. Potential customers visit these locations to know and explore the brand in detail, to appreciate the beauty and background of the brand and most importantly, to also buy – conversions are usually higher at these stores than the usual retail lot. In some cases, the Brand showcases certain products exclusively in the store after which they are sent to the rest of the Retail network. This practice is usually condemned by the trade, especially when Franchises are involved although the gap between the time to launch at the Flagship Store and other stores is too narrow these days, usually under a fortnight. Overall, it is extremely important for Brands to have a Flagship Store. Usually, it is quite easy to put up one, the challenge is to showcase and maintain them in the long term.
25 December, 2012
It’s been around a hundred days that I wrote a column on this blog, by far the longest gap I have ever taken since I started writing since 2008. As I grew in my professional life over the years, the number of posts have certainly come down, hopefully a clear indication that I am busier than before! And the last five months have been one of the fastest and most exciting, although I believe 2013 is when the action would lay. As mentioned earlier in one of my posts, I now work for Royal Enfield, the oldest surviving automobile brand in the world. With a fantastic British legacy, having participated in both the World Wars and some stunning innovations in the motor cycling arena, the Brand was bought out by an Indian company in the middle of the last century. After being almost shut down due to poor product innovation and therefore Sales, the Brand has survived a tumultuous past with an imminent takeover that didn’t go through (probably for good) at the last minute. The company is now ably managed as a unit of Eicher Motors which has a commendable past in the Indian Automobile history.
So what do I do – I am responsible for expansion of the retail foot print of Royal Enfield across the country and also to establish Royal Enfield stores in international markets. I look after Dealer Development (most of the Royal Enfield outlets are operated by Dealers), identification of suitable sites for the business, designing the store including layouts, fixtures, branding etc. and finally up to handing over the store to commence operations to the respective Dealer / Regional Teams. I am also responsible for converting the visual identity of existing stores with that of our new brand identity – a mammoth effort that covers over 200 outlets and is expected to span over 24 months starting early 2013.
To be honest, I have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome of what I am doing. My job compels me to travel 3-4 days a week, across the country and soon to a couple of international destinations. Just a few days ago, I was at a town called Motihari, about 140 kms from Patna which is the capital city of the state of Bihar, the most talked about state in terms of CAGR over the past decade. And met half a dozen prospective dealers – and all of them seem to be gung-ho about the impending opportunity to sell our bikes along with various other things that consumers are grabbing in. I was shown acres of land available for putting up a Royal Enfield store, spread over 4,000 sq ft. in what is now seemingly good agricultural land – a move that is happening across rural India.
Store Openings have never been like this for me – most exciting to say the least. The sheer opportunity to establish over 60 new outlets over the next year is appalling yet an adrenalin run for the Retailer in me. I have the chance to make a difference to the Retail experience of Brand Royal Enfield, a task that has been awarded to me by the Management & Board. I hope I will be able to atleast live up to their expectations, if not exceed… And also hope I would sincerely be able to find time to keep writing…
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