What to & What not to change - Lessons in Retail

Charles Correa has the touch of genius in his architectural creations. I know so, 'cos I used to live in Kovalam at some time and every time I passed by the beach, and that was often, I would gaze at the Kovalam Beach Resort hotel and marvel at the way it blended into the sea facing Rock face, a picture of perfect harmony between what God made and what man did.

Charles Correa is at it again. His designs take care not to intrude and change the way we live our lives. Take the Salt Lake City center Mall in Kolkatta. Its design intends to recreate an Indian street in a manner that turns a shopping experience similar to ones we have on 'real open' Indian streets. Gone is the familiar suffocation that we feel in 'boxy' malls we go to.

That brings me to my question. Should shopping experiences necessarily recreate what we otherwise experience in our normal lives. If they did, are we happier? The answer is Yes and No. It does work when its a mall, when its Charles Correa and when it eliminates suffocation. It doesn't when it recreates the street that we may in the real world wanna avoid. Take Big Bazaar for example. The 'organised chaos' within is intended to recreate the bazaar experience. But then, when I did ever enjoy the Bazaar experience? Oh, I did bear it, not because I enjoyed it. Did I have choice?

Many others like me feel the same way. I agree this feeling may be restricted to a certain segment of consumers, and I may safely call that the present generation.

Marketers must be careful in choosing what to retain and what to change. Sure, the open street mall appeals. But, not the chaotic bazaarish experience in a retail store.

Pic: http://www.livemint.com


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