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Store facade – Making the touchpoint count

By Satarupa Chakraborty | December 28, 2018

VM&RD chooses three brands for their façade designs – Puma, for tweaking their international facade design guideline to suit the Indian market, Tanishq, for pronouncing a larger-than-life, serve-to-all brand legacy, and Kaya Clinic, for their considerable focus on façade design as an integral part of their retail ID.

 

Typically, store facades in India are a combination of three elements –signage, primary window and the secondary window. Interestingly, depending on the store location and brand positioning, brands are innovating more than ever on design and materials where their store façade is concerned. VM&RD chooses three brands for their façade designs – Puma, for tweaking their international façade design guideline to suit the Indian market, Tanishq, for pronouncing a larger-than-life, serve-to-all brand legacy, and Kaya Clinic, for their considerable focus on façade design as an integral part of their retail ID. 

Puma – Eco friendly aesthetics

Thanks to its long running brand history since mid-nineties, this German athletic and casual footwear, apparels and accessories brand has become a global name. More importantly, Puma has been re-inventing itself all along – be it through designer collaborations, product line innovations or by evolving its store design ID consistently.

The sportswear brand has also diligently maintained its sustainability standards, whether it terms of the manufacturing process or the use of environment-friendly materials in the store design executions.

The latest store design ID of Puma, which is available in India, is ‘Forever Faster’ and the façade is a reflection of this. Interestingly, Puma’s mall stores and the outdoor stores are very different from each other in terms of their facade design. While aluminium composite panels are used for the outdoor stores, lacquire glass and black façade with red lit panels are used for the mall stores of Puma. The latter is used only in India, given the association of glass with the premium look here.

The primary window uses backlit visual boxes featuring latest brand campaigns, while aluminium extrusion channels sit on the sides. For the interface printing, Puma ensures that only fabric is used and not hazardous materials such as vinyl or flex.

The signages are generally PU LED for mall locations, while acrylic box letters are used for the outdoor locations. Where mannequins are concerned, the Indian design is different from the global look. Puma sources the signage, fabrications and mannequins from Indian vendors.

Tanishq: When less is more

Though founded in 1992, Tanishq’s first store opened its door in 1996 in India. In early 2000, Tanishq began opening stores in the international markets. Today, Tanishq has more than 250 stores across the lengths and breadth of the country. The brand is another classic example of constantly re-inventing its ‘Indianess’ and also innovating in order to keep pace with its evolving customers.

The current Tanishq store ID was designed 7-8 years back and has remained unchanged since then, although minimal design and VM changes continue to happen. As for the store façades, the sizes vary depending upon the market, the store type (flagship or otherwise) and the available property, although the basic look and feel is consistent across all stores.

The jaali work is a pre-dominant feature of Tanishq’s store facades and the branding is showcased around it. The material palette is largely granite marble along with teakwood. Also, unlike all major jewellery brands, Tanshq’s façade design stays away from promoting any product visuals. Following the dictum, “Less is More”, the façade is typically minimalist, with only the illuminated signage of the brand name being displayed.

Talking on the property challenges in relation to facade design, Rajan Amba, General Manager & Head – Retail, Tanishq, shared, “At about 70-80% of the stores, we get the ideal façade space, either breadth-wise or vertically.However, there are some smaller markets where we have to depend on high-street locations and often times, these properties are unstructured. There have been cases where we had to bring down the property and restructure it in order to ensure uniformity of façade design. Another challenge is to get proper execution from the vendor, especially when they are not aware of the location type or market. Most of the time, our store set-up turnaround is as short as 30-60 days, but in some cases, the logistics issues result in delays.”

Kaya Clinic: Saying it in black & white

Kaya Skin Clinic was incorporated in 2003 and later in 2013. Today, Kaya has moved beyond just skin care and has created a successful chain of clinics for skin, hair and body care. Rebranded as Kaya Clinic, it is now present through 99 clinics across 26 Indian cities and 25 outlets in the Middle East.

It’s only a few years back, post their rebranding exercise that Kaya began revamping their outlets and it was primarily for two reasons – a new brand identity demanded that dark colours were eliminated and in their place, more of blacks and whites be included to align with its an international persona. Most of the outlets, which were 12-13 years old, demanded this much-needed refurbishment. The result was rather stunning, particularly visible in the facades, some of which were as high as between 50 ft and 70 ft.

More recently, Kaya took the retail design ID a notch higher in consultation with ad veteran and space designer Elsie Nanji. Rajiv Nair, CEO, Kaya Clinic, said in this regard, “Ideally, a skin clinic is expected to use various tones of skin colour, while we are moving more towards exploring the black and white palette. The grid-pattern façade was already part of our new ID, however, the element we have now added is the black and white visuals of models of crossover identities.”

The grid, while seemingly wooden in appearance, is actually made of metal which is treated to achieve the wooden look. The brand invests nearly Rs 1.5 crore to revamp an existing high street outlet and spends about 15-16% of the budget on façades.

However there is the challenge of achieving uniformity in design, especially when the property market in India is so fragmented. Rajiv Nair shared in this regard, “We take reasonable sizes and long-term lease, thereby giving confidence to our landlords to in turn give us access for a lot of break-and-make work.”

Kaya also has a stringent vendor choosing process through reverse auctioning. They work with 5-6 vendors all across the country. Well, these examples only go to show the need to focus on store facade as an independent but integral aspect of store design and brand identity, with its own aesthetic and functional requirements.

 

A simple Google image search on “retail store façade design” will land you on a gamut of store fronts. There is tech behemoth Apple, which innovates anything starting from composite glass and stone to heavy-duty digital screens. Then there are the iconic stores of designer Paul Smith, where brand signage is impactful in a minimalist way. A look any of these reiterates the fact that store façade is the most critical touchpoint, the stage where the customer journey begins.

Typically, store facades in India are a combination of three elements –signage, primary window and the secondary window. Interestingly, depending on the store location and brand positioning, brands are innovating more than ever on design and materials where their store façade is concerned. VM&RD chooses three brands for their façade designs – Puma, for tweaking their international façade design guideline to suit the Indian market, Tanishq, for pronouncing a larger-than-life, serve-to-all brand legacy, and Kaya Clinic, for their considerable focus on façade design as an integral part of their retail ID.

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