Van Heusen: Transforming Indian apparel retailing

By Aditi Srivastava , afaqs!, New Delhi | In OOH News | December 25, 2015
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The brand unveiled its first flagship experience store Style Studio in Bengaluru on December 19, which promises a futuristic retail concept through its innovative features.

Attire is often considered an important part of one's personality. In fact, it is your sartorial preferences that leave a long-lasting first impression on people more than anything else. Van Heusen, the clothing brand from Madura Fashion and Lifestyle portfolio, understands that. It has been known to introduce innovative features in its fashion line since its arrival on the Indian landscape in 1990 through its positioning 'Power Dressing'.

Keeping with its usual trend, the brand came up with a unique, first-of-its-kind flagship store called Style Studio that was launched in Bengaluru's Indira Nagar on December 19. To develop this store, the brand has partnered with FITCH Singapore and Experiential Design Lab, Delhi.

Vinay Bhopatkar

Upon entering the Van Heusen Style Studio, a customer can register and create a customer ID that would allow him/her to record all purchases and selections made during visits to the store.

Van Heusen's Style Studio, an ultra-modern store, comes equipped with cutting-edge technology that is aimed at transforming apparel retailing with features like Fit Suite, Style Pro, Virtual Trail, and Style Bar. While Fit Suite helps customers know their measurements and get the perfect fit for themselves, Style Pro offers fashion tips based on the customer's style and personality from Van Heusen's in-store experts. Virtual Trail offers a preview of multiple outfits on a futuristic mirror without letting the customer set foot inside a physical trial room, and Style Bar lets you create your own look at Van Heusen's in-store kiosk.

If customers don't find the right fit or size, they can place an order and have it delivered at their door step. Another unique feature that makes the store worth a visit is the Virtual Mirror, which facilitates customers choose the style by category, colour, patterns, and the fabric of the clothes they wish to buy.

Commenting on the studio, Vinay Bhopatkar, chief operating officer (COO), Van Heusen and People, says, "By bringing in cutting-edge technologies combined with personalised interactions in this store, we have transformed apparel shopping in a brick-and-mortar store into a whole new personalised shopping experience. The store focusses on elevating the shopping experience for our consumers and at the same time simplifies the shopping process through the use of various digital experiences."

Bhopatkar continues, "The aim of Style Studio is to tap the change in consumer shopping behaviour which has undergone a change. Today, technology has become integral to decision-making as consumers are more comfortable with it. They want more variety in their buying decisions and seamlessness across platforms for it. We decided to, therefore, launch Style Studio for digital-savvy consumers who do not want to stand in long queues outside trial rooms any longer, yet want to know how to put a look together."

Commenting about the target group (TG), Bhopatkar opines, "We have targeted people in the 25-45 years age group, who are looking for distinctiveness while they shop for apparels. Hence, we have tried to target the experiential consumer who prefers buying looks, not just apparels."

When asked about the marketing challenges associated with the innovation, Bhopatkar says, "To create integrated content and seamlessness for merchandise across platforms has been our biggest challenge so far. Through Style Studio, we want to create a desirable experience which can be scaled up outside the store as well. We also want to be prepared for the futuristic model of retail shopping by means of this brand-building exercise."

The brand took to outdoor advertising in Indira Nagar through a fashion show which announced the opening of the studio.

Commenting about the opening of the store, Darren Watson, executive creative director, FITCH Singapore, says, "Our aim was to create an aspirational new way to shop for apparel which provides inspiration and empowers consumers with style and knowledge. The experience is backed with a new fit system which makes it easy for consumers to personalise their style and fit, and shop seamlessly across all touch points. Working with the Van Heusen team to create this new Van Heusen Style Studio experience was a great collaboration, and we hope its consumers enjoy creating their styles in-store."

Anurag Sehgal, managing director and principal interaction designer, Experiential Design Lab, adds, "Our effort for Van Heusen includes bridging the online and offline retail paradigms in the fashion segment. Creating a seamless omni-channel retail solution gets the best of both the universes - convenience and variety of virtual, and online retail with the touch and feel; it is the try-and-decide experience of physical and offline retail."

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