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‘Understanding Gen Z will be crucial for retail designers’

By Retail4Growth Bureau | June 03, 2024

While it is an exciting era for the Indian retail design industry, it also faces some challenges, says Rishu Anand, Creative Director at Twenty North & Chairman - Delhi Regional Chapter at the Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID), in this exclusive column as part of the ‘Business of Design’ series.

<b>Rishu Anand, Creative Director at Twenty North & Chairman - Delhi Regional Chapter at IIID</b>

As the Indian retail industry is a significant contributor to the country's GDP and a major employment provider, it will continue to grow at a significant rate, riding on factors like a vast population base, increasing urbanization, and a surge in consumer spending  

With all these factors in place it is an exciting era for the retail design industry.

Factors driving growth

Digital Transformation and Technology Integration

Retail design in India is being transformed through the integration of technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mobile apps which enhance the shopping experience by providing immersive environments and streamlined services. 

These technologies are reshaping everything from sourcing and supply chain management to customer service and in-store experiences, allowing retailers to offer personalized and efficient service 

Evolution of Retail Formats

The retail landscape has evolved significantly from local markets to sophisticated multi-brand malls, introducing a variety of shopping experiences including the concept of open-to-sky High-street 'haat' which combines multiple retail advantages in a safe, communal space 

Also Rise of Concept Stores: These stores provide curated, thematic experiences that are visually engaging and tailored to reflect the brand’s personality, making shopping a memorable event 

Seamless Online-Offline Integration: The blending of physical and digital retail through technologies like QR codes and AR mirrors for virtual try-ons is becoming commonplace, providing a cohesive shopping experience 

Focus on Investment in Design: Recognizing the importance of store design in attracting customers, there is a significant uptrend in investing in innovative and high-quality fit-outs 

Challenges in Future of Retail Design Industry

Sustainability: Going forward there will be evolving demand to make sustainable designs. I feel more than the need of environment, it has become a marketing tool for brands helping them to position better.

Luxury Market Development: Luxury shopping will continue to expand, with leading business houses and brands from around the world driving the market, so there is little to involve Indian designers in this segment. 

The Rise of Gen Z: Understanding and engaging Gen Z consumers will be crucial as their preferences and priorities continue to shape retail strategies.

Focus on Tier 2 and 3 Towns: There will be a strategic shift towards understanding and tapping into the potential of smaller towns, which present unique challenges and opportunities for retailers. 

Growing Demand for Wellness: There is a paradigm shift in the industry in terms of wellness as a growing category, driven by consumer demands. This also means a growing need for store design and brand positioning reflect wellness. So there is greater need for the retail design industry to keep on identifying new ways to express this evolving demand in their designs.  

FROM BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE

Transition from Unorganized to Organized Retail

The Indian retail landscape is undergoing a significant transformation as it shifts from an unorganized to a more organized structure. This transition is crucial for small enterprises aiming to formalize and enhance their growth prospects. However, this process presents numerous challenges, including the need for substantial investments in technology and training to meet the standards of organized retail 

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