A nostalgic walk down Shoppers Stop's memory lane

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | August 18, 2010
The departmental store chain gave customers a chance to experience the brand's communication over the last 19 years

Who doesn't love flipping through a photo album? Going through old pictures and memorabilia always brings up warm memories. However, can the same be felt about a brand? Apparently yes! Departmental store Shoppers Stop gave its customers a chance to walk down memory lane recently at the re-launch of its first ever store that was set up in Andheri, Mumbai in 1991.

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Shoppers Stop is, as the brand calls itself, 'the first store in the history of modern retailing in India' and is positioned as a premium to bridge-to-luxury brand. It is present in 14 cities in India with multiple stores in the big metros. Over the years, the brand has mostly stuck with advertising via the print medium and more recently, outdoor. Stark black and white advertising has also been a key strategy to create a brand differentiator.

The refurbished store in Andheri put up its print campaign pictures from 1991 and across the years, till its most recent campaign this year, allowing people to take a walk through the brand's journey and evolution in India.

Vinay Bhatia, customer care associate and vice-president, marketing and loyalty, Shoppers Stop, says, "The history of Shoppers Stop ad is not only the brand's journey through the years but also a reflection of the changing consumer aspirations and outlook. The store's baseline has been changed over the years and is a direct indication of the changing attitudes of the consumers towards shopping."

From 'The Ultimate Shopping Experience' in 1992 to 'Shopping. And Beyond' in 2005, these reflect a paradigm shift of people enjoying the international shopping experience to shopping for emotional fulfilment - like purchasing a diamond ring to express love or even flaunt one's status. This later changed to 'Start Something New' in 2008 as a part of the brand's makeover strategy, connecting to the current mindset of customers to constantly upgrade and experiment.

The 13 creatives displayed were of brand campaigns and some key festivals that Shoppers Stop has carried out over the years.

"This idea came across to take our esteemed customers of the Andheri store down the memory lane as they walked towards the newly renovated store to take the first look at it," says Bhatia. It also stemmed from the fact that this store enjoys a lot of emotional attachment with its customers, with a loyalty member base of over one lakh customers. The walk-through saw attendance by many of its loyalty programme members, the fancy named 'First Citizen Members'.

"We saw many of our First Citizen members having discussions over the ads and remembering instances from the festivals. Some of them even brought along old shopping bags of Shoppers Stop as memorabilia that they had maintained from their shopping experiences over the years," shares Bhatia.

While this may be the first time that an Indian brand has showcased its communication journey, internationally, many brands have done the same with brand museums and archives being created. These include Mustang Jeans, which has a private museum displaying old merchandise and communication materials in the city of its origin.

Similarly, the colourful button shaped candies brand, M&M, has a museum-cum-store in Las Vegas that consists of four floors of clothes and collectables with M&M characters from across the years on them. Czechoslovakia-born shoe brand Bata runs the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada that houses more than 4,500 years of history and a collection of 20th century celebrity shoes.

Cola giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, too, have dedicated museums in the cities of their respective origins, North Carolina and Atlanta, while lager brand Heineken has a brewery museum in Amsterdam that gives tourists a dive into the world of the famous Dutch beer.

Going forward, Shoppers Stop will keep adding campaigns to its growing archives. It also plans to release the 'Start Something New Today' campaign of small ads in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, which appear every Thursday to give fashion/style tips to customers, which are also highlighted in stores through visual merchandising.

The store chain has also currently launched its 'End of Season Sale' that kicked off on August 14.

For a virtual walk down the brand journey, click here.

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