Face to Face in a Fair Game

Pretty 24 is a new cream on the block. Its advertisement takes a potshot at various narratives associated with fairness advertising in India; however, its communication is silent on the benefits of the product. The angry (or upset) young women vent their ire as they feel betrayed by the hordes of Fairness creams in the market. The advertisement ends with a product shot, claiming it as a cream for every skin tone. The brand targets women between 20 and 35 years of age, as reported in livemint.Pretty good… The fairness cream market in India is fairly mature. From general purpose Fairness creams to Men’s Fairness creams to dark spots reduction fairness creams to winter fairness creams; every conceivable sub-category promise has been exploited to grow the market, which is reportedly around INR 4500 crore, and growing! In such a scenario, category creation by careful segmentation holds the key to success for a new entrant in a crowded shelf as the `Anti’ position puts the new entrant in direct competition vis-à-vis the rest. Also, the ability to leverage existing distribution network adds to the muscle mass so critical for success. On all these counts, Pretty 24 sits pretty.


The dark side… Is Pretty 24 a little late? Is it being built on a carefully chosen plank or hunch? Or, is it a manifestation of confusion at the Marketer’s end? Is it an idea whose time peaked some 10, 15, 20 years ago?In India, the pride factor in one’s `own’ complexion has already gained ground; especially with girls-next-door winning the titles such as Ms India, Supermodel, etc. And to the buyer of very premium international brands, complexion has never been an issue. Over the years, most of the fairness cream brands have formulations that offer benefits beyond mild-bleaching to include skin moisturization at the very least.For the Fair’y Tales inspired buyers in Tier II and III, semi-urban centres; it is still `Fairness’ all the way to success. So who is the brand Pretty 24 targeting? And what’s the `reason to buy’, it is offering to the consumers (unless subsequent campaign reveals it).The leader in the `Fairness’ category i.e. Fair & Lovely has long gone beyond `Fairness’ to `Confidence’ and `Success’. There is more to the Brand Fair & Lovely as evident in the tales chronicled in the Fair & Lovely Foundation brochure done by this author. The foundation is doing yeoman service to nurture aspiring, young talented women.


It remains to be seen how the new entrant will affect it. Is Pretty 24 an attempt to cut an instant slice of fairness cream market in India? At mere 1% share translates into INR 40-50 crore!In all fairness… Pretty 24 has to its credit of being not just another offering. It takes immense guts to experiment, to be different. The communication and the proposition make one take cognizance of the brand. But will it make a dent? For a brand’s salience eventually is connect with (benefit offered to) the consumers; and not mere attempts at evoking resentment against other brands.

Designing Fast Food Retail Interiors

There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a new enough concept and so convenient. So convenient in fact that fast food retailers built their entire outlet, buying experience, service levels and food standards to satisfy the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improved education about nutrition, the need to eat healthy meals and also the vast amount of competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century consumer.

The focus is now on delivering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to linger around and make the outlet part of their weekly or daily routine. So, what does the new brand focus require? Well it needs to demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, an improved buying experience, a nicer seating ambience, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas and improved conveniences.

While the ingredients and the quality of food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the outlet and how the various elements of the interior design impact the brand and therefore elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.

Before we consider the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached outlet or store design to deliver their brand. Luxury brands for example have always designed stores to captivate distinct segments of the market, yet maintained a sense of delivering individuality. Luxury stores almost distinctly appear to be lacking in the amount of merchandise that is displayed and in some cases maintain plain colours and simple soft furnishings to make customers feel at ease. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retailing as they have mastered the buying and ongoing servicing needs of customers in a single outlet. The way that showrooms are designed, allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment which allows them to manage the flow or ‘journey’ from buying a new car, arranging finance, servicing and shopping for parts, while having pleasant and well stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of building outlets that manage distinct needs, encourage loyalty and provide a smooth journey from the initial desire to purchase to sealing the deal.

For architects and interior retail designers, fast food retail design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to reinforce the new brand challenges that retailers are faced with.

The following provides a summary of some of those challenges:

Food Preparation – Providing more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant food area which is well lit, well organised and efficient. Specialist kitchen design that takes into account the food cooking and preparation process is called for, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen layout plans that allow the food preparation process to remain efficient while remaining visibly pleasing and pleasant for customer to see.

The Eating in Experience – The need to provide an efficient seating arrangement, with comfortable seats, while also paying close attention to retail lighting plans and retail flooring plans is so important as it allows customers to feel that they can stay for while, this is in sharp contrast to early fast food restaurants where seating was designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the outlet.

Fixture and Fitting Selection – Interior retail designers also need to focus on other consumer needs such as power points, interactive devices for children and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the ‘fresh food element’ – all important elements that the brand is trying to deliver.

Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their layouts to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. This requires less staff of course but it also calls for the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks that are strategically located within the design of the outlet.

Improved Washroom Facilities – Retail designs and architects have to design washroom facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities that they specify have to reinforce the brand while maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. The retail design drawings that they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environmentally.

Back of House and Waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience that they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, their food storage and their waste, including the customer’s own packaging waste. A store design is not complete without attention to how these aspects are added to the design of the outlet and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and therefore they are also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities.

The designers challenge is therefore vast and rather than allowing for the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools such as Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so that they can create a design that is easily changeable and manageable. Retail BIM modelling also allows for the use and re-usability of Revit families and models that can be used for subsequent stores and therefore ensure some brand consistency as well as design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also allow the creation of 3d retail images and 3d rendered perspective for retail interiors as well as retail exteriors. These are an important and effective way of communicating the store or outlet design during the various design stages that a designer is responsible for.

Whilst the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food quicker and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to elevate the importance of the store design and how that will affect and ultimately promote the overall brand experience for fast food retail now and well into the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is one that is served by a designer that is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone for delivering a design solution that is easy to create, manage, share and communicate.

 

Trends That Set You Apart: SEO Techniques That Every Web Designer Should Know

If it was a decade back, then the term ‘SEO’ and web designing wouldn’t have gone parallel. But today the thing is something different. The web-smart world wants more from us and being exclusive is the first requirement of the customers. Webbing the business in a smart way along with decorating and designing the website for a fresh promotion is the new in nowadays.

Web designing incorporates a lot of strategical tasks and implementing them one by one enhances the front-end beauty of the website. It combines a lot of work with the frameworks, the programming languages, CMS or Content Management System, pre-decorated templates, web designing tools and hosting platform. On the other hand, it takes a lot of planning, sketch, graphical designing and strategy building for designing websites. A web design company deploys professional and experienced web designers who will perform all these tasks single-handedly.

The major job of a web designer is to produce the perfect UI & UX designs that will allure the viewers with its unique design. But, today, most of the web designers need to know about a little bit of SEO that will help them to understand its significance in terms of generating traffic to the website and allows them to comprehend its importance in the designing field.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization involves the process of optimizing the website by analyzing the site itself. This is connected to the designing and coding of the website for which the designers should be in the practice of these methods. So, that is why the designers should keep in mind certain things before designing the website.

Mobile Responsive Design
The demand for the mobile first designs has taken the interest of the consumers due to the major shift of searching methods from desktop to mobile. As the huge number of customers is using the smartphones nowadays and search almost everything from their smartphones instead of switching on their desktops and PCs, designing responsive websites has become a necessity for the entrepreneurs for increasing the visibility of their websites. The emergence of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm has also facilitated the mobile responsive search results, pushing backward the nonresponsive websites in terms of amenity.

This has invoked the designers to use the mobile responsive templates and tools. The designers should use coding & programming that is utterly suited for mobile. The contents should be fit in the screen resolution of the mobile and the layout should be mobile first for the smooth access from the smartphones or cross platform devices.

URL Orientation
Search engines can’t find ambiguous and vague URL identity. The clear format of the URL makes your website SEO-friendly. With a perfect URL, the chances of getting the visibility to the viewers are more. Moreover, incorporating keyword phrases with the URL allows your users to identify and find the URLs easily and quickly. A designer should know about this so that they can easily collaborate with the SEO team of their respected companies.

Enhancement of the Website Speed
Improving the site speed is the major part of the SEO. Google’s algorithm supports the websites that have a good loading speed and disapproves the sites whose loading speed are worst! This is because the users don’t like websites with low loading speed and chances of the increase in the bouncing rate also raises up. Thus, improving the speed of your site is a much-needed thing, which can’t be optimized without the help of the designers. The speed augmentation process lies within the back-end service provided by the designers which include optimizing the database, minimizing HTTP requests, compressing images, reducing server requests, minifying resources, enabling the browser caches and accessing a CDN or Content Delivery Network.

Without the perfect knowledge of SEO and without the comprehension of the importance of site loading speed on SEO, the designers won’t understand its significance. So, for a perfect collaboration, the knowledge of site loading speed is required for the designers.

Pertinent Title Tags
Exclusive & relevant title tags are important for phrasing up an online document and those title tags are only used in the rich snippets aftermath. These title tags are displayed in the SERPs, on the browser, and on the external websites and should be smaller in size so that Google can easily catch them up.

Validated HTML5 And CSS3 Usage
HTML5 & CSS3 enables your website to fit in any resolution. HTML5 is advanced with much more features than the HTML and CSS3 enhance the downloading speed of the page. Authenticated HTML5 & CSS3 helps in implementing good coding that will optimize on-page SEO easily.

In most of the web design companies, the perfect collaboration of SEO and web designing teams is the major requirement because their harmony optimizes the entire website which results in bringing clarity on the front-end website with an aim of increasing more traffic and enhancement of conversion rate.

 

Retail Design for Vehicle Showrooms

Why the Right Retail Design is Important for Motor Showrooms

When vehicles undergo constant design upgrades and enhancements to make them more appealing and efficient, it stands to reason that the spaces that market them should do so too. Inspired by new ideas of efficiency and aesthetics that guide the designs of cars and other vehicles, the showroom environment can aspire to the same principles, powered by branding and relevant retail design drawings. In fact, the right retail store layouts can almost immediately and directly impact sales and productivity.

As the corporate branding world is trending in the direction of specific fixtures, fittings, furniture and other collaterals that showcase and reinforce corporate identities in car stores, the role of comprehensive retail store plans in transforming showrooms into bespoke retail spaces cannot be underestimated. This is where 3D architectural modelling and BIM modelling services become invaluable.

To further branding goals, the structure and circulation of the retail space is critical. Once this is decided, ambience can be developed through lighting, sound, materials and branded touchpoints. Brand graphics and their positioning build the confidence of potential customers. Motor showrooms display their products in vast open spaces. Exact positions of each vehicle at the showroom layout is dimensionally represented by accurate retail drawing sets. While preparing the layout plan, the length and breadth of any display systems or racks are shown.

Within the branding purview of structure and circulation, consistency is important. Exterior branding, structural features and signage should follow inside and entice, interest and fortify the product. To ensure this consistency, a dedicated team is essential. Each client employs individual corporate branding, communication, style guidelines and standards. A dedicated team assigned to a client can be trained to deliver each client requirement. These can include:

  • Space planning design
  • Interior design
  • Elevations – exterior and interior
  • Store refurbishment drawings
  • Updating existing designs
  • Detailing of store features, such as signage, mannequin locations and light fixtures

Typically, a project manager is identified, who then undergoes training with a client representative. This training is passed on to a dedicated team of engineers and architects, who study design guidelines and deliver high quality drawings to the client and receive regular feedback. Communication is accurate and issues are resolved quickly.

Motor Retail Design Elements

Standards for each aspect of the showroom experience are planned and designed, from internal and external spaces to entrances to circulation systems. Retail space must allow for both permanent and non-permanent features, such as features that may change when new models arrive. Structural constraints affect overall design; columns, stairways, ceiling height, windows and emergency exists are all factors. In motor showrooms, all available space must be utilised. Floor plans guide circulation, which then inclines the consumer to travel to important displays and, ultimately, to the sales associate. Car showrooms can be quite grand, displaying double-height glazing, bright lights and expensive stone/ceramic floors, but customers require clear routes to the service area/workshop. Also, showrooms must be large enough for the number of cars that need to be displayed. Even service bays in the body shop and the number of technicians must be considered. The use of detailed retail design drawings and BIM technology ensure that the required parameters for all these features are adhered to.

Vehicular display is prime, but there is also a high standard for building services that must be maintained. Effective cooling in customer areas must counteract heat absorbed in highly glazed areas. Sustainable properties could lead to lower energy bills, lowering overheads. With effective MEP coordination, the features to alleviate loads, energy use and carbon emissions that could be planned are:

  • Extended eaves, brise-soleil and canopies, which reduce solar gain, especially on the main façade
  • Roof lights to provide basic lighting needs
  • Enhanced insulation for cladding and roofs
  • Motion-detecting lighting for bathrooms and other areas not always in use
  • Double-glazed glass insulated compact sectional access doors that allow maximum natural light, while being useful for vehicular movement. They conserve air conditioning and insulate the building.

A soothing yet impressive ambience adds extra edge to the showroom experience, and this is a zone where MEP drawings, models and coordination play a major role. Primarily, this is achieved by lighting and materials, but sound and audio also play a key role, providing it appeals to the target market. But to get back to lighting, the right lighting may perhaps cause the greatest dramatic effect in a motor showroom. Functionality and the ability to showcase display vehicles are vital. This involves layered lighting, with a choice of intensities and fixtures. The lighting of the ceiling and roof should cover structural features and direct customers to key areas.

With valuable display vehicles, security is important. Ideally, motor showrooms have access control, alarms and sophisticated internal and external CCTV, with movement tracking and links to remote monitoring centres, yet another feature to benefit from relevant MEP coordination.

Perspective

In the end, a well-executed retail space must be viewed from the consumer’s perspective. Retail design should control the customer’s view of the retail space. All of these crucial factors would be difficult to plan without the necessary elevations and walk-throughs provided by advanced architectural designs, specifically retail store CAD drawings and 3D models by Revit.

Retail Design Drawings for Motor Showrooms

Effective planning for motor showrooms call for exceptional design models and drawings. Preferred drafting stages and services for retail spaces include:

  • Store Concept
  • Floor Design & Fixtures
  • Electrical and Lighting
  • Customized Colour and Material Matching

Designers and drafting service personnel with relevant inter-domain expertise can utilise their experience to coordinate business and retail for a brand. Services on offer are:

  • Zoning, layout design
  • Interior design, graphics and visual branding
  • POS displays and locations
  • Design detailing and seasonal roll-outs

These can be customized with integrated 2D retail drafting for specific client requirements. With BIM modelling solutions, these can also be turned into detailed 3D space rendering, where the entire retail space plan can be visualised by the client. Textures of walls, colour schemes and other details can be viewed in realistic conditions with the use of 3D space renders. This allows modifications before the design is approved for production drawings. A major advantage is that scale modelling costs can be saved.

Seamless project execution can occur using AutoCAD and Revit software. This means project steps can be monitored in real time, projects can be completed and moved to the quality check stage, which can be performed thoroughly based on project scope. The retail drawing sets can be reviewed in its final form by the client and valuable feedback can be implemented. In the final design stages, a final quality check can be conducted. Skilled drafting services by retail space planners are updated with global retail trends, some still in a process of evolution. These services can greatly contribute to maximising potential in a motor showroom and provide customers with the best planned retail environment.

Since retail design drafting services are inevitable in the process, it seems logical to consider how cost-effective and quality-efficient they can be. Global trends lean toward the growing popularity of outsourcing these tasks. The reasons are compelling.

Advantages of Outsourcing Retail Design

Less Costly – Outsourced retail design drawings are competitively priced compared to the same quality and quantity of work executed locally, and since many outsourced firms employ work shifts, drawings or 3D architectural models are delivered faster.

Global Exposure – Outsourcing firms are exposed to retail establishments across the globe. Thus, the technical personnel are well qualified, well trained and well acquainted with international building codes and brand guidelines.

Flexibility – Outsourced firms can generally operate either as a small dedicated team or as a large team of 40 draftsmen or more to execute projects of larger volume or those with quick turnaround times, so work can be scaled to perfectly meet requirements.

Updated Expertise – Outsourced firms employ technical personnel who excel at BIM and are generally well updated on other software, including AutoCAD, Revit, etc.

Extensive Experience – Trusted outsourced firms have been designing and drafting retail spaces for years for clients in Europe and the UK.

Quality outsourcing services provided for retail design include:

Production Drawings Sets

Besides providing complete construction drawing sets from Autodesk (Revit or AutoCAD) to the retail industry, SolidWorks has been used to create engineering drawings. All key drawings, including floor plans, internal elevations, external elevations, construction plans, setting-out drawings, composite plans, finishing plans, lighting and ceiling plans, comprehensive equipment schedules and material and component take-off data are included.

Retail Design

Retail design, documentation, and project management, concept design and layouts are provided.

3D/4D Models

Using Revit Architecture and Revit MEP tools, 3D models and scan-to-BIM services, using point cloud data, are provided, with 4D scheduling added for new site construction.

Retail BIM Data

BIM services provide automated schedules to ensure, accuracy, speed of design output, rendering and visualisation tools to create realistic views.

Manufacturing/Assembly Drawings

Manufacturing and assembly drawings for bespoke retail furniture, fixtures and fittings, using AutoCAD detailing software is provided.

Floor Plans

Colour-coded floor plans and 3D plans.

Computer Generated Images

Computer-generated images for external and internal views are generated, showing images with artistic and watercolour effects.

In conclusion, for the detailed demands of retail design in motor showrooms, the ideal option seems to be the way of outsourced firms, as they offer one-stop shops for creating initial 2D drawings from rough sketches and photos to delivering 3D models for space design and final production drawings. They offer services tailor-made for specific business needs that are easy to execute and flexible to modifications. They employ highly qualified staff with experience, knowhow and talent for retail design drawings and the expertise to use the latest software in the retail design industry. Most importantly, this ultimately helps save time and cost.