Sunday, 14 February 2010

Bridging The Gap Between Bazaars and Supermarkets

The Big Bazaar Family Center, Malleshwaram

An Introduction to Big Bazaar:

    The concept of shopping at a supermarket is relatively new in India. Until a few years back, there weren't any Supermarket Chains in the country. So, when the Future group brought forth the concept of Big Bazaar, they took India by storm. Big Bazaar is now a chain of hypermarkets with more than 100 stores across India. It is a subsidiary of the Future group. It is a unique hybrid, modeled by combining the conventional international supermarket with the traditional Indian bazaar concept. It is the Brainchild of  Idiom Design and Consulting and the Future Group . Idiom has been involved with the Future group in the conceptualization of Big Bazaar right from its inception. As you know, the Big bazaar franchise has been tremendously successful. Big Bazaar has brought the concept of 'Hypermarket' stores to India. Right from the concept, to the design of this project, both parties have worked collaboratively to create something new and unique to the other Big Bazaar Centers.

The Family Center Concept:

 The core thought was to create a Big Bazaar that plays a much larger role in people's lives, more than just transactional shopping. It should be a 'must-visit' destination for a larger group of people. The rationale was to create a destination that celebrates togetherness and joy while offering the virtues of saving thereby maximizing the value of every Rupee/ moment spent here. To make the place a pivotal point for the Indian family, more ' Theatre/ Discovery' was added so that families felt the need to spend more time here and enjoy every moment that they spend at the BBFC. The idea was to create a shopping experience that was interactive with the customer, a 'Destination Store' , a place where people could go not only to shop, but also to spend their entire day there.

Designing for the local community:

  The aim was to design a space that the people of the community could connect to. Our market research showed that Malleshwaram was predominantly a Family community. The people living in this area are very conservative and traditional. All these elements had to be taken into consideration while the design was being planned. Therefore, the space and graphic designs were all themed around this concept.

   Live sections, rice and banana mandis, sampling and tasting, fresh flowers, lots of areas to snack, recreational areas (Ice-hockey, foos-ball and pool tables), a salon for men and women etc were all embedded into the design. There are demo zones called the 'Try- Me' zones where the customer can sample sweets, papads etc which are heated or cooked right in front of them. There is a grinding area where you can get your rice or wheat ground immediately after purchase, free of cost. There is also a customer advisory board consisting of a few eminent customers from the Malleshwaram locality, so they could connect with Big Bazaar directly. Our market research revealed that Malleshwaram consisted of various communities and each with different food habits. To strike a connection with these communities and to give a taste of modern retail, it was imperative to include something for every community (ex: a pudi and powder section for the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada communities). Since it is a family center, there was something included for every member of the family. All age groups were also taken into consideration. There is a cafe, a recreational area and loads of food stalls where the youth can relax and spend their time. There are also benches on all floors so that the tired and the elderly can rest when they feel like sitting down.

Navigation was made easy by placing signage at every strategic point and displaying what each section housed with descriptive text and images. People seemed happy that their shopping experience was made easier (by housing various products under one roof). They were happy that now they could get whatever they wanted, from flowers to jeans, from pastas to murukkus, all under one roof. The concept of a family center was well appreciated by the customers. The Family Center houses a lot of ethnic merchandise to cater to the needs of the community.

 Our team took into consideration and included the following features into our design:

Designing the Space:
  •  Facade: A landmark space, a grand entrance, with temple like cues that make the store visible and prominent from a distance
  • Stambha: A large structure which becomes the signature element of every Family Center
  • Ample aisle space
  • Seating arrangements for the elderly
  • Big lifts to accommodate a larger number of people
  • Partnering with local vendors (ex: Bhagyalaxmi Gulkand, Gayathri Coffee etc) to bring the local flavor of the catchment
  • Separate floors for men, women and children fashion, giving more space to show case the depth and width of the products
  • Since the catchment houses a more conservative section of society, and keeping the idea of making the BBFC a landmark, community center, we tried to embed Templesque designs 

 Designing the Graphics:
  • The theme 'Family spirit' was reflected by the graphics on the facade and the internal communication
  • The communication and visual vocabulary captured the heterogeneity from community to locality to celebration, gifting, saving, merchandise etc
  • Bold and bright colors that serve the purpose of clear visibility and easy navigation for customers around the store
Value Shopping for Local Communities:

 The Family Center houses loads of products and brands, all under one roof. These products are very aptly prices. For instance, a customer can choose from close to 50 varieties of rice, neatly arranged and packaged, and end up paying less than what they would pay outside. The 'Local connect factor' was well received by everyone. For example. the banana mandi stall is actually run by a local vendor who is well known in Malleshwaram. He sells his fruits for Rs. 4 lesser than what he sells at his stall. Shoppers can avail of a number of discounts and offers that Big Bazaar has to offer. For example, the 'BUY 2, get 1 FREE' concept is applied to many products. The Family center is the ultimate shopping destination for those who believe in Value Shopping.

The Launch:

The Big Bazaar family center in Malleshwaram, Bangalore was launched on the 6th of February, 2010. The launch was a grand event. The launch started out with performances by folk artists and a Dollu Kunitha performance followed by the customary 'Cutting of the ribbon' and a traditional pooja to bless the new family center. There were folk dancers, performers, caricature artists, musicians, a DJ and loads of fun activities for the customers. Popular Kannada movie star, Mr. Ramesh Aravind visited the family center later in the evening to have and interactive session with the customers.

  The launch was a big success and the BBFC was flooded with people from all over, most of whom were excited that Malleshwaram now housed a Big Bazaar. Our design was unique and different from all the other existing Big Bazaars. Our intention was to merge Big Bazaar with the community. We wanted to transform shopping from just being an errand into becoming an enjoyable experience.
Record Success:

  The Big Bazaar Family center is doing extremely well. Sales on weekdays touch around Rs. 20 lakhs, while sales on a Saturday or Sunday could easily net Rs. 40 to 80 lakhs. The Family center has blended in to the otherwise conservative and traditional locality of Malleshwaram. The Big Bazaar Family Center is something to look forward to. It is different from the other Big Bazaars in terms of its local connect. We are now in the conceptualizing phase, with the Future group, in launching a Family Center along the lines of the one in Malleshwaram, in Rajajinagar (another traditional south indian, conservative section of Bangalore). So drop by the Big Bazaar Family Center in Malleshwaram and see Value shopping at its best.

Posted By Rahul

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