Retailers bet on entertainment activities to lure customers.

 NEW DELHI: 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.

 

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