Sunday, May 19, 2024

“Our future investments are aimed at integrating technology, along with store design elements”

By N Jayalakshmi | December 29, 2023

Sudhanshu Pokhriyal, Chief Executive Officer - Bath & Tiles, Hindware, shares with Retail4Growth, the brand’s retail journey and how it has helped meet its business objectives. 

Sudhanshu Pokhriyal

Hindware recently launched its experiential store Lacasa in Chennai.  What was the concept that defined the store experience? Could you take us through some of the experiential elements in the store?

The recently launched Hindware Lacasa store in Chennai has been designed to offer an immersive and opulent bathroom experience to customers. Located in T-Nagar, the store spans around 2600 square feet and seamlessly integrates cutting-edge technology with elegant design. The store houses an extensive selection of sanitaryware, faucets, wellness, and shower enclosures by Queo- the luxury brand, Hindware Italian Collection- the premium brand, and Hindware- the iconic brand. To ensure exceptional customer services for our new and existing customers, the Lacasa store houses a knowledgeable team of experts to provide personalised assistance to help customers make informed choices based on their requirements and preferences.

Recognizing the significance of Tamil Nadu as a priority market, Hindware is strategically expanding its presence by opening more stores in Chennai and other cities within the state. The emphasis on this expansion is rooted in the growing demand for bathware solutions we have witnessed in the state. 

Hindware Lacasa

We currently operate 40 brand stores in Tamil Nadu, with 11 of those located in Chennai.  We are committed to grow and invest in Tamil Nadu, with plans to further expand and augment our footprint in the state by adding additional stores in the near future.

How do you think offline retail with the front-end store elements help in meeting the brand’s business targets?

An offline presence complements online channels, creating a seamless and integrated shopping experience. Customers can research products online and make purchases in-store or vice versa, contributing to a more comprehensive customer journey.

Physical retail spaces featuring front-end store elements offer a tangible platform for brands to establish direct connections with customers, build trust, and create memorable experiences. These elements collectively contribute to realising business targets, cultivating enduring success over the long term.

When it comes to the front-end store solutions or elements, where do you see your focus and investments going up in the near future? Would it be technology and omnichannel tools or store design, manpower and staff training, signage and branding, lighting, fitouts? Or any other?

In response to the evolving retail landscape, businesses and brands must integrate technology at every stage to guarantee a seamless and engaging interface for customers. The blend of offline and online presence allows customers convenient access to information, enabling them to research products online and make purchases in-store or vice versa. This approach contributes to a more holistic and enriching customer journey.

At Hindware, we pride ourselves on being pioneers in adapting to these emerging customer and technology trends. We have consistently invested and will continue to do so to ensure that our stores are not only aesthetically designed but also incorporate technology seamlessly into the purchasing process for our customers. For Example, our Lacasa stores offer a unique and interactive experience to the customers by providing a virtual bathroom design tool. This tool allows customers to design and visualize their bathrooms before making a purchase. Customers can experiment with various combinations of Hindware products to see how they fit and complement each other in their specific space. Moreover, at Hindware stores each product in the store is equipped with QR codes, allowing customers to access detailed information about the product instantly. By scanning the QR code with their smartphones, customers can retrieve information such as specifications, features, pricing, and customer reviews. This empowers customers with comprehensive product knowledge, aiding them in making informed decisions.

Our future investments are aimed at integrating technology such as push notifications, augmented reality, and smart digital solutions to enhance the retail experience, along with a strong focus on store design elements, signage, and branding to create an immersive and unforgettable customer experience.

How do you find and partner the right suppliers for your store elements like fitouts, lighting, or tech solutions? Do you have some defined criteria or parameters in place?

Selecting the right suppliers for store elements such as fitouts, lighting, and tech solutions is a critical aspect of our procurement strategy. At Hindware, we adhere to defined criteria and parameters to ensure we form partnerships that align with our brand values and business objectives.

Today as a retailer, what are your top challenges?

The Bathware industry like any other industry faces several challenges in the retail industry, like: 

Evolving Customer Demands: The retail landscape is constantly evolving, and customer demands are becoming more complex and diverse. Consumers now seek the best shopping experiences and expect seamless, personalised interactions across various channels. Adapting to these evolving demands and providing exceptional customer experiences is a top priority for us.

Maintaining Brand Loyalty: With increased competition and a wealth of options available to consumers, maintaining brand loyalty has become a major challenge. We are focused on implementing strategies to retain our existing customer base while also attracting new customers through innovative and personalised experiences.

Optimising Omnichannel Experience: The shift towards multichannel buying experiences has created the need to optimise omnichannel presence. We have a seamless and integrated experience across all touchpoints, including online, mobile, and in-store, to meet the demands of modern consumers.

How’s 2024 looking? Any new retail plans for the year?

In the fiscal year 2022-23, the Indian sanitaryware market reached approximately INR 6,000+ crore, showing a steady 15% growth in recent years. Simultaneously, the faucet market in India achieved a valuation of around INR 12,000+ crore during the same fiscal year, experiencing a robust growth rate of 18-19% over the past few years. 

An upsurge in the demand for ceramic bathware and faucets from a variety of commercial establishments will be the major driving factor for the sanitaryware market. And the government’s push for infrastructural growth, schemes toward smart cities, and rising private & public investment in residential construction are further propelling the market. The rising number of bathrooms remodelling in residential projects is creating value opportunities for bathware brands. 

Certainly, Hindware Limited has strategic retail plans for the upcoming year. We aim to expand our retail footprint to 40,000+ retail touchpoints along with 800+ Brand stores, reaching new markets, and ensuring our products are easily accessible to a wider audience. 



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