In an interview with IMAGES Business of Fashion, Vasanth Kumar, Executive Director, Lifestyle reveals, “Our pan-India presence allows us to reach out to our customers better. This enables us to build on our initiatives in providing a unique and memorable retail experience.”
“Apart from this, visual merchandising is a key differentiator in retail and especially in the fashion retail segment. When implemented keeping in mind the brand ethos, it creates awareness as well as brand loyalty. Visual merchandising has evolved as a strategic tool that Lifestyle uses to drive a seamless experience for customers,” he adds.
To add to the overall shopping experience of the consumers, the brand, which has a strong private label offering, has been introducing a lot of technological innovations.
Incorporating technology, that is both interactive and engaging, has changed the dynamics of retail. Today, technology in day-to-day operations is not just about enhancing business functions, it is about providing an incomparable shopping experience as well.
“With technological advancements, the shopping experience has evolved and Lifestyle, as a progressive retailer, has embraced many of these technological advancements to further enhance the shopping experience we offer our customers,” says Kumar.
The fashion retailer, which is known for offering men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel, footwear, handbags, fashion accessories, beauty products and much more, all under the same roof, has added features such as ‘Self-Checkout Kiosk’, ‘Mobile POS’, Fitting Room Assistance’, etc., to augment its in-store experience.
Explaining the innovations that the brand has introduced for billing, Kumar states, “The Self-Checkout kiosk is a facility that allows customers to bill their merchandise and complete the payment transaction in a few simple steps on their own. The Mobile POS which we have introduced for billing some of our products such as watches, fragrances or cosmetics.”
“The other innovations that we have introduced include our Fitting Room Assistance program that has emerged from our insights into our customer shopping behavior, allows for size retrieval with the help of technology. For our e-commerce business, which at present contributes sub 2 percent of the overall revenue, we have introduced visual search and enabled voice-based search on our apps which has helped creating a more personalized and convenient shopping experience.”
Innovation, today, is the tool that allows brands to ensure a frictionless journey from discovery to purchase for the customer. And Lifestyle is no far behind.
“We have introduced ‘Click & Collect’ – an Omnichannel initiative that allows customers to order online and collect merchandise from a Lifestyle store of their choice. Our in-store Endless-Aisle initiative helps a customer to find her missing size on our online channel,” he further elaborates.
Several of initiatives that the brand has taken are technological solutions to real customer problems which they discovered through their interaction with customers as well as staff. Using this feedback, they have created simple yet impactful solutions leveraging technology. These have led to positive impact on their overall customer experience and helped increase engagement with the brand.
“We are continuously evolving our stores with new technologies. To fully enable our customers to enjoy these new introductions, it is important for our sales personnel to understand, communicate and comfortably operate all new innovations. Before implementing any new technology or introducing product innovation, our entire store team goes through an extensive knowledge session, which enables them to understand the product/technology being introduced,” says Kumar.
Lifestyle regularly tracks consumer satisfaction through NPS (Net Promoter Score) in store, by the virtue of offering, staff interactions, store ambience and consistently deliver an overall delightful shopping experience thereby winning customer trust and loyalty.
“We have launched ‘Lifestyle Edge’, an exclusive program for our premium customers in Chennai and Pune and soon we will be expanding this to other cities,” says Kumar.
“Retail is moving towards a seamless world and going Omnichannel is the way forward – emphasis will be given to these two aspects,” Kumar states.
“Apart from this, a frictionless journey from discovery to purchase, rapid expansion across the country and enriching digital experiences are some of the changes that consumers can expect from Lifestyle going ahead,” he adds.
The brand, which is experiencing flat same store growth for the current year, is planning to launch one store in every 45 days for the next two years along with a steady growth in their online retail footprint. To aid the expansion plans, it is looking forward to spending Rs 10-12 crore of capital per store and the funds will be arranged through internal accruals.
“We plan to change the growth rate of the brand by enhancing our go-to-market strategy – we are working to bring in relevant and trending fashion faster to our stores. Also, by ensuring a seamless and a frictionless shopping experience we are confident of sustaining the growth for the brand,” concludes Kumar.