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Article on our retail division

Feb 21, Times Of India

Cuppa Coffee Cup

An era when retail therapy is seen as an antidote to everything from plain boredom to the failing economy, the shopping experience isn't what it used to be. To ensure footfalls and their subsequent conversion into actual billing, retailers are innovating on multiple fronts. Store design, especially in terms of the material and communication used, has had the biggest make-over in a bid to connect customers with brands as cost effectively as possible.

Expect catchy names, cardboard pillars, torchlight chandeliers, twisted-steel mannequins, ropes in ladders... the works, actually. At 'Rattrap' it is the half bitten 'p' that baits you into checking out the apparel shop located at The Forum mall in Koramangala.

Almost everything here traps your attention; right from the logo to the huge rat trap hung at the entrance and the colours used within. These are supported by the cardboard structures. Nearly 2,040 sq ft of cardboard has been used in the store. The highlight is a huge cardboard pillar support right in the centre of the store. This pillar can withstand a 1,000 kg load. The kids' wall is fitted with just cardboard boxes and rope ladders. Even the trial rooms, cash counters, baskets and ceiling lamps have the cardboard touch. The store got street artistes from the slums in Domlur to frame the innovative twisted-steel mannequins.

There are similar such innovations in the retail space in the city. The small yet compelling 'Stone Art' off Cunningham Road, for example. Wooden kiosks function as the little Brazilian 'Crepe Connection' outlets. Colorfully smart 'Imprints' outlets designed for the shoppers' residual memory. The 'Cuppa' outlets supported by a wall of tea chests.

The list can go on and on. Many still fondly remember the old Levi's showroom at the Leela Palace for its innovative use of rivets.

The whole idea behind this is to build better brand identities in smaller spaces through creative thinking than spending more money and using a bigger space.

For a growing city like Bangalore with its space constraints, it seems a great fit.

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