Sumit Kumar, Managing Partner, Catalyst Design Retail & OBS LLP, shares with Retail4Growth his thoughts on in-store lighting in our ‘Spotlight’series presented in association with retail lighting solutions company Gardler.
In your observation, are most retail brands convinced enough about investing in the right kind of lighting? How much of a challenge is it to convince them about the need to choose the right kind of lighting for their stores?
Yes I think so. In the current scenario of the growing experiential aspect of the retail industry, I think most retail brands today understand the importance of lighting in bringing around the brand image and customer experience to life. The opening of flagship stores and experience centers by brands have only added to the cause, although the awareness around the right kind of lighting still remains an area that needed to be worked upon. Once more awareness is created, convincing becomes a much simpler task.
What are some of the most common myths and misconceptions when it comes to retail lighting?
There are a few. For instance, doing a lighting revamp or upgrade of the store is an expensive process and does not add enough value. On the contrary, if we can specify the correct lighting for the correct areas and switch to the energy-conserving grade of lights, the change can be economical in the long run. On the other hand, upgrading store lighting can lift the level of consumer experience to a whole different level.
And, no. not every corner of the store needs to be well lit. Lighting up the right areas with the right kind of light lays emphasis back on the product and works a great deal in influencing consumer’s cognitive purchasing behaviour.
What has been your own approach to lighting when it comes to your store projects?
1. Set the mood of the store as demanded by the design
2. Decide on the layering of different kinds of lighting to create the cohesive lighting experience as per the design. Eg. Ambient, task,etc.
3. Decide on the luminosity and the tone of lighting.
4. Chose the correct fixture for the lights to achieve the effect.
5. Look for available options and execute
6. Suggesting right fit lightings for window display and focal point
What are the most critical parameters while deciding on the quality of lighting?
There can be a lot of technical parameters but I can sum it up to :
What are some of the common challenges faced in terms of getting the right lighting for a store?
How does the right lighting partner make a difference?
Actually, the right lighting partner can be a game-changer. The best of the designs are of no use if they are not met with the right solution. And if you have a technically sound lighting partner who exactly understands your requirement and matches it with the correct product then you are home. Besides being technically sound, it is also important that the lighting partner is efficient and has very good service standards after installation. Additionally, the right lighting partner is instrumental in getting innovative and sustainable lighting solutions to the table and keeps educating us on a regular basis. This can definitely give us better tools to achieve the correct fit in terms of design.
Can you share details of any store project you have worked on where lighting played a big role?
‘NEOS’ is a one of its kind running specialty multi-brand retail chain. The brief was to create a sports multi-brand store that offers premium products from different niche brands, all under one roof with an energetic and new age look and feel. To achieve this overall cool lighting was used across the space to give a more young and futuristic look and feel. Accent lighting was used at different locations to enhance the visibility of the product and create contrast. LED lights in the form of sharp triangular structures were used on the ceiling to re-emphasize the fast and energetic aspect of the brand. Lights were also used strategically to enhance product communication which plays a vital role when it comes to communicating active sportswear technology.
I would end by quoting something I read somewhere, “In the right light, at the right time, Everything looks extraordinary.”
11 June 2020
The experience centre for ILIFE’s robot vacuum cleaner brand EASINE, located in Bangalore and designed by Catalyst Design, is all about reinforcing what the product can do to keep homes clean.
Catalyst Design recently designed an experience centre for ILIFE, which manufactures the robot vacuum cleaner brand EASINE. The ILIFE group, which has expanded their business to over 30 countries, wanted to transform their experience center, which existed in a traditional lounge setup, into something that “more strongly represents the brand and accentuates brand identity more prominently”, as shared by Catalyst Design. The idea essentially was for the design to help in depicting and presenting the products in a more effective way.
Catalyst successfully created a space that reflects all that the brand stands for — cutting-edge technology to meet various cleaning needs and a product that offers versatility and convenience for everyday use. The 2000 sq ft store located in Bangalore is indeed a reinforcement of the brand values.
Catalyst Design shares that the main highlight of the design project, that was executed between December 2021 and January 2022, was the theme – movement and motile aspect of the product. Hence lines were used across the designs, depicting motion and flexibility. Lights have also been used to create a futuristic look resonating with the brand’s focus on cutting edge technologies.
The store’s window display sets the main brand narrative, the idea being to establish the ILife robotic vacuum cleaner as the premium cleaning technology. The design team carved out a larger than life ILife robotic vacuum cleaner shape with a CNC cut MDF base. The unit was then painted in black glossy plastic finish and embedded with programmed LED chip lights. The LED chip light’s programmed movement emulates the real robotic vacuum cleaner. “We have created four monolith like structures to showcase the robotic vacuum cleaner range. The monolith was cladded with different surface types like wood, tile, marble, and concrete to resonate with the product category. The spotlights highlight the robotic vacuum cleaner,” informs Catalyst Design.
The Diamond mesh metal frame at the back holds and houses the entire structure.
The lounge space, aimed at making customers comfortable enough to try on the products, also carries forward the product imagery and houses and showcases different variants of the robotic vacuum cleaner products, providing a tactical experience to the customer. And as Catalyst informs, the profile light with strip led accentuates the lighter environment where customers can relax and try on the products at the same time. The backlit ILife brand identity on the orange brand color surface completes the look.
Three different levels of surfaces have been created at the try-on zone with wood, tiles, and carpet to give customers a practical understanding of the product functionality. The column adjacent to the try-on zone is adorned with backlit fabric graphics to create buzz the product while also serving as an information interface for the customers. Further, a miniature living room has been created on the pedestal to simulate the actual home setting and demonstrate how the products flawlessly navigate through the furniture.
Overall the space reiterates what a product experience centre aims to do.
11 June 2020
Executed by Catalyst Design in the South and West, innerwear brand Zivame’s new window campaign, which was rolled out across 88 stores pan India, is based on the theme ‘Dekho Maine Kya Kiya’ and encourages women to push their boundaries.
nnerwear brand Zivame has executed a window campaign around the theme, ‘Dekho Maine Kya Kiya’. The idea was to encourage women to push their boundaries and live out their desire to be comfortable with themselves in new and exciting ways. Executed by Catalyst Design, the window campaign aimed at inspiring women to break out of the question, “Can I pull it off?” which holds them back as the right The right intimate wear, made for her body type, is an enabler of personal style and body flair.
As the Catalyst teams informs, talking about the VM concept and execution as part of the campaign, “The right intimate wear supports a woman to confidently push forward. Zivame’s ‘Dekho Maine Kya Kiya’ campaign captures this confidence and freedom. The window itself consisted of a central circular MDF structure that mimicked a bioscope. The internal 4 circles revolved around the centre of the reel. This movement impersonated a running showreel, showcasing captured stills from the brand campaign.”
Total Number of Stores – 88 ( Pan India)
Vendor Involved – Catalyst Design – West & South / North – KVC Retail Solutions
Courtesy – Divya Vandal
11 June 2020
With an objective to rejoice auspicious times, the window has been executed across pan India Taneira stores.
Taneira – the youngest brand from Titan Company, has a uniquely experiential display of sarees, lehengas, fabrics and ready-to-wear blouses. The brand recently executed a splendid window design across its stores.
Speaking about the window’s objective, Diptendu Shekhar Saha, VM Head of Taneira shared, “For retail shoppers, the air is buzzing with festivity and auspiciousness due to the onset of many Spring & Summer festivals as well as the summer wedding season. And so we decided to celebrate and rejoice this auspicious time with the “SHUBH MUHRAT” callout. This display window has been implemented across pan India Taneira stores and will help customers connect to the wedding merchandise available in the store.
When asked about the innovative design elements used, VM head explained, “The window has a very bright look so any visitor can not miss to spot the window. Lights have been used effectively to depict celebrations of life/moment & lotus to signify Indian ethnicity. Moreover, the Lotus is a key Taneira brand motif”
South – Shristi Creations
North – Nancy Digital
West – Catalyst Design
11 June 2020
Biggest takeaways from 2020
With reduced business and budget cuts, I think ‘less is more’ sums up perfectly the concepts and executions that happened in 2020. We have learned how to ideate and execute with limited means and this learning goes a long way to create a sustainable world. Also the
‘safety rst’ approach is going to go a long way.
What retail design means in 2021
We were anyway stepping into the experience age and the COVID scenario has created the need to ramp that up in the coming year. While online retail o ers convenience, o ine must focus on creating experiences to engage customers and generate more footprints and this is where the e orts around retail design must also be. Also, creating a safe environment for shoppers through e ective communication and strategies will become key attributes while designing retail spaces. Sustainability will also nd its strong
footprints as far as retail design is concerned in the coming year
Also I believe most of the brands will go with omni channel strategies in a bigger way to bridge the gap between online and o ine platforms and AR is going to be an important tool to achieve this.
11 June 2020
11 June 2020
The window is exhibited in 27 OnePlus exclusive stores and partner stores (Reliance and Croma) across India.
Conceptualised, designed and installed by VM agency, Catalyst Design; the OnePlus 8T window attracts eyeballs as its exhibited in 27 OnePlus exclusive stores and partner stores (Reliance and Croma) across India. The brand aspires to highlight the product USP, keeping in mind the tech leading brand sentiment for community and consumer experience through the minimalistic yet unique design.
Darshana Bala, Offline marketing Head, OnePlus, exclaims, “OnePlus aims to communicate the distinctive features like “Ultra-Fast charging” and “Ultra Smooth scrolling” through the Visual merchandising.”
The design is mainly based on the circular-shaped ultra-clear glass that accentuates more than half of the look and feel of the window. The infusion of blue & white LED strip lights in the circular structure elevates the merchandise and its features that are sand blasted on the glass. The use of white colour in the entire unit makes it look pristine and futuristic. To additionally augment consumer experience, there has been an installation of engage pedestal at the landing zone of the stores. The pedestal consists of 4 layers of ultra-clear glass with product features. The perfect amalgamation of white LED light around it shift focus on the product. The merchandise is mounted on a SS stand in the topmost layer to gain maximum attention.
Speaking of innovation, Tim Peng, offline Sales Head, OnePlus, stated, “OnePlus is a tech leading brand and synonymous with innovation. The brand also installed engage pedestals to attain maximum engagement with consumers without losing too much on the design language. Different product features are etched on different layers of glass with illumination to lightly imitate a holographic projection.”
The design firm took inspiration from the Futuristic laboratory and Science-Fiction films; combating the biggest impediment of bringing the OnePlus 8T product features into light in a stark and lucid way without overdoing it.
11 June 2020
The decorative window, executed at brand’s pan-India stores, epitomizes the diverse flowering landscapes and leaves a stupendous mark with its design
Taneira – the youngest brand from Titan Company Limited, offers close to 3000 unique pieces across sarees and lehengas made only from pure and natural fabrics from over 65 regions in India, celebrating the diverse textiles and craftsmanship. The brand recently executed a nature-inspired window display that combines eco-friendliness and wondrous colours.
Diptendu Shekhar Saha, VM Head of Taneira said, “The window concept is based on the new collection. ‘Florelle’ is beautiful linen and silk based sarees with floral pattern. The collection is inspired by the aura of flowering landscapes which represents newness and freshness which has been launched in all Taneira stores across the nation.”
Speaking further about the uniqueness of the window, Diptendu adds, “As the name suggest ‘Florelle’ the main element of the window is Flower with pastel shades which gives a spring feel across the Store. The entire window is designed using Vinyl & Sun Board as the primary material.”
As per Diptendu the window was carried out on a very tight budget due to the current pandemic situation. “During this tough time for retail brands, the main intention was to launch the window with minimal cost. With low material cost, the design team ensured the window looks attractive and represents premiumness of the brand which carries the perfect story for Taneira.”
He further adds, “Making the window look premium using basic material and the minimum cost was our biggest challenge. It can only be possible when the execution gets done neatly with expert hands. The credit goes to professional vendors entirely who executed it with precision & flawless work”, Diptendu concludes.
Launched in 2017, Taneira is now in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune.
North: Nancy Advertising
South: Print Colours
West: Catalyst Design & Lotus Eventz
11 June 2020
Here are few tips on how to create an effective window display to increase more footfalls and generate more sales.
Creating an impeccable window display to make the brand stand out from its competitors can sometime be a daunting task for the visual merchandisers. When done right, it triggers an innate response that often result in higher sales result. Currently VM has a very strong role to play to not only enhance store presence but also to transform the whole space and ensure that key products are presented in a best way. Retail4Growth spoke with few industry professional who shared few tips for an effective window display which will help in more footfalls and generate more sales.
1. Narrate a brand story
Every brand holds a unique story. An effective window display is not only about showcasing the products that a store sells, it is also about weaving together various elements from props to lights, fixtures and colour to create and narrate a brand story to compel the shoppers to enter into the store. As Jagmohan Rawat, Partner, Catalyst Design points out, “VM is equal to storytelling. The window display needs to tell a story, and it should be consistent throughout all the touchpoints. And it need to be engaging at the same time.”
“Focus on every elements of the store design on telling a brand story and highlighting product and visual merchandising is a crucial component of the story telling,” Federico Fraternal, Head of Design, Restore Design explained.
2. Simple and consistent
According to a report, ideally a customer spends 3-7 seconds at the retail entrance while deciding whether to enter the shop or not. Within that fractional second you have to capture the attention and make an impact on their subconscious mind that changes their buying behaviour and pattern. In such case, clutter and chaos in displays should be avoid. It needs to be simple and consistent. “Don’t make it too messy by trying to get too many messages. A window needs to have a clear focal point where the eye can stay,” says Jagmohan Rawat.
Sharing a similar view, Saurabh Mehdiratta, Director, Ozeca, explains, “There must be focus on spotlighting a single item or a few related items to create a coherent them/story.
3. Less is more approach
Sometimes, less is more. A lot of visual merchandisers tend to add a lot of elements and colors to their work, but that tends to mislead the shoppers and confuse them about the brands image. “Less is more approach helps deliver maximum impact by showing less,” says Nuno Rosa, Head of Visual Merchandising & E-commerce Styling Manager at VERO MODA India. “It’s not about dressing stores; it’s about sales getting translated.”
“If a VM uses the concept of ‘less is more’, they can achieve the defined sales targets,” Arden D’Souza, Founder & CEO of Sheriden SA adds.
4. Product should be the hero
An effective window display should include unique and memorable product presentation. Many brands tend to overboard the displays with too many props. As Rawat highlights, “Prop cannot become the hero. In the end you are not selling a prop, you are selling products and props are like ‘supporting cast’, which needs to compliment the products and make the product hero.”
Jenny Andrews, Founder and Chief Creative Lead, Studio J, adds, “Product should be the hero, and a good VM should be functional, communicative and easy to manage for the store staff.”
Props should tell the brand or product story. The aim of the props is to highlight saleable items in order to increase profit “It should be interactive and serve a functional purpose apart from thematic,” Anuraag S said.
Arden D’Souza, Founder & CEO of Sheriden SA, shares on a similar vein, “Props and products need to speak to each other and complement each other, not overpower or jostle for space.”
5. Proper lighting
Another important aspect of an effective window display is proper lighting. Lighting is often an overlooked element of great window display. The right lighting will illuminate the display, drawing shoppers’ attention to it and product. “Lighting plays an important role which can create good drama inside the window,” says Sumit Kumar, Partner, Catalyst Design.
“For an effective window display, proper lighting is very important. Lot of people fail to understand the importance of lighting, be they retailers or visual merchandisers, Dhurgha Shankar, Co-Founder, Design Palette adds.
6. Prototyping is the key
To create a window display within a budget and to save on time and cost, a brand should test in at one store before rolling out across other stores. “Right prototyping is the key,” says Anuraag S, Founder, Creativist & Visual Merchandiser – PENCILBOX. “Prototyping is as good as a 5-year business plan on papers, because it can save cost and time and you can test it at one of your store. Here again, you can be innovative or creative within a budget.”
He further adds, “Have a pre-plan for the disposal of displays and props.”
7. Upcycle props and products
Upcycling of props and products is a growing trend in VM props and also a better way to promote your brand CSR drives. “It highlights unique props that customers can relate to. I’ve found that reusing broken or scrapped mannequins, or toys or scrapped vehicles or even newspaper is very interesting. These have caused signature statements and are remembered for a long while,” Arden D’Souza, Founder & CEO of Sheriden SA said.
11 June 2020
Executed at around 350 stores pan India, Van Heusen’s Wedding Window depicted the card game concept while the kingly avatar of suited men was embodied by “king of cards”.
Menswear brand from Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd (ABFRL), Van Heusen, has recently executed its wedding window to showcase their collection of men’s suits. Defying the regular pattern of wedding window in India, the menswear major has depicted the imagery of “king of cards” to denote the kingly look of a man.
Elaborating further on the narratives and execution to Retail4growth, Diptendu Saha, Head –VM, Van Heusen, explained, “We wanted to break away from how wedding windows are perceived in India through elaborate floral representations etc. Though the idea was to promote the suit collection for wedding, the theme of card and king brought the idea out well with more premium look.”
The window, using two mannequins each, used materials like MDF for main structure and gold foil vinyl for printing along with golden mirror acrylic.
The window was executed pan India by Brand Connexion, Catalyst Design and Megha Digital for southern, western and northern parts of the country respectively.
11 June 2020