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‘Retail design delivers when it is in tune with changing shopper behaviour’

By Niranjan Talekar | May 17, 2024

Jasleen Manrao, Studio Head at Figments Experience Lab, delves into the challenges and opportunities shaping the Indian retail industry in this conversation as part of our series ‘The Business of Design’.

Jasleen Manrao, Studio Head at Figments Experience Lab

In the ever-evolving Indian retail space, store design has become a critical factor in driving success and profitability. As the industry faces increasing pressure to deliver tangible results, retail designers are tasked with creating experiences that not only captivate customers but also contribute to the bottom line. Jasleen Manrao, Studio Head at Figments Experience Lab, shares with Retail4Growth, her insights on the current state of the Indian retail design industry and the challenges it faces.

Jasleen emphasises that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to retail design. "It depends on the budgets and the experience being delivered in the retail store," 

Balancing Cost and Experience Optimization

The pressure to deliver ROI is palpable, with clients increasingly focused on cost optimisation and experience optimisation. "People who are into expansion are not looking at spends at all," Jasleen notes. "Those who are looking at two to 20 stores are still into this whole bubble of differentiated designs and are going heavier on spends."

Navigating Front-end Technology Integration

One of the biggest challenges facing retail designers today is the integration of front-end technology while crafting the retail experience and design. While it presents an opportunity to enhance the customer experience, it also requires a delicate balance. As Jasleen points out, there brands who have focused mostly on digital and were moving completely away from it have come back to it now. So the trick is to find the middle ground that offers a seamless experience.

Adapting to Changing Shopping Patterns

There is also a bigger need for the Indian retail design industry to constantly evolve, with brands adapting to rapidly changing shopping patterns and buying behaviours. As Jasleen observes, "The patterns of impulse buying are different and the categories of impulse buying are becoming different," Jasleen observes and adds, “Brands that are successfully navigating the changing landscape are those that are constantly adapting and responding to their customers' needs. " This means curating retail experiences that are in pace with this changing landscape. 

After all, as Jasleen points out, “You are not designing for a brand, but for the brand’s end consumer, and if you have a pulse of what is happening over there, then that change is worth expressing." This is also the reason why Jasleen thinks there is great potential in the retail design industry despite the apparent challenges.  So the role of retail designers, as Jasleen sums up, will increasingly grow bigger and will help brands thrive in an increasingly competitive market when they are ahead of trends, can help integrate technology seamlessly, and deliver ROI-focused experiences.   

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