This morning, I read a very interesting article about ‘Olfactory Branding’ and I tried to think hard if I have any memory, besides of course the overwhelming cocktail of perfume of the ground floor section at Shopper Stop and obviously the Coffeee beans at Barista, CCD etc…nothing came to mind except the smell of Sambhar at Sagar Ratna, which I am sure is quite accidental, considering the volume of agarbattis being used to kill the sambhar’s scent !
It really set me thinking, why cant my favorite stores smell like my favorite things ?
Some months ago I got excited about this japanese Retailer UNIQLO who do things pretty differently including a Robot shop assistant called Wakamuru and some of the whackiest, zanniest ideas in Retailing.
Well, those guys are back in the news again. UNIQLO now have a tie up with China’s largest online shopping portal taobao.com who reportedly have some 100 million online shoppers registered with them. The portal is owned by a the Alibaba Group ( !!) . I did not realise Alibaba was such popular metaphor across that part of Asia as well. Hmmm…
UNIQLO will open their Flagship click and mortar store on Taobao and will get hugely promoted by Alibaba!
Incidentally UNIQLO is the largest fashion retail chain in japan with 800 stores ( there are about as many Coffee Days in India, isnt it ?) and its owned by Fast Retailing co. who also own the European Lingerie brand ‘Princesse Tam Tam’ amongst others.
Its interesting to know that Fast Retailing had unsuccessfully offered a bid of $900 million for Barneys New York department store in 2007.
Amongst their many creative ideas in Fashion Retail, I found a very interesting UNIQLO concept of Container Stores. I like it since it is so relevant for Indian Retail with our street markets, Diwali melas and crazy real estate prices ! The UNIQLO container is hardworking store with strip windows and an external generator for lights and POS. The door and ramp fold on hydraulic struts. The designers for the UNIQLO Containers are LOT-EK
Sharing pic of a UNIQLO ‘Container’ store in New York :
Pic source : http://www.psfk.com/2006/10/uniqlo_containe.html
I read in the TOI that some chaps just rented out a 133 sq. ft. shop near Safdarjung Road, New Delhi for an astounding Rs 12,09,000 per month. That is a rental of Rs 9,022 per sq ft per month.
This patch of bricks would have costed Rs 10,15,000 in the Fifth Avenue, New York, Rs 9,80,00 per month in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, Rs. 6,25,000 in Champs Elysees, Paris, Rs. 5,40,000 in Via Montena Pleone, Milan and Between Rs 4,00,000 to Rs 4,50,000 in Grafton Street, Dublin, New Bond Street, London, Ginza in Japan, and Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.
Just to put things in micro perspective, if the same guys went shopping elsewhere in New Delhi they would have found a nook in natty Khan market at Rs 1,100 per sq ft per month, Rs 800 per sq ft per month in Posh South Ex, and Rs 675 per sq ft per month in Connaught Place.
Whoa ! I love these guys. Whoever they are !
Found this while backing up some old pictures on my laptop! I spotted ‘Gandhi Ji’ a couple of years ago on the fancy Rue La Fayette in Paris.
Imagine a Gandhi Ji’s tandoori chicken happening on an Indian highstreet. God (all of them) forbid !!!
I have been snowed under millions of little things that if added together do not unfortunately add up to ‘work’. But the fact remains that I have been snowed under. For a morose period of time I have wondered if I will ever get this blog to life again. That’s funny since I have got a total of 1.25 readers on the blog anyway ! But that at-least is a Sign of life !
What got me stirring again was something I read today about the Jap fashion retailer Uniqlo. At times when the Japanese economy is bracing recession, Uniqlo it seems is cruising along. What they do well and differently from the rest is stick to a strong and clear cut positioning – simple, modern, cool clothes sold in a minimalist setting with the trademark japanese style service.
Keeping with the ‘modernity’ promise they keep the brand renewed by innovation. The latest are ‘Heat Tech’ range of clothes including thermal underpants that converts moisture to heat ! I bet we could do with those in Delhi this winter !
To launch the Heat Tech range the store had a ‘human’ vending machine distribute free products to visitors – basically a big transparent box with a girl miming robotic vending machine actions. It looks funny but I guess it got them the required attention.
More in store is a cute little Robot store assistant called Wakamuru who blogs and some crazy, quirky Advertising. Check out !