A Fabulous Experience

Amrita Prasad
Sunday, 28 April 2019

Fabindia launched a four-storeyed Experience Centre in the city, to engage customers through their signature products, new services and a cool cafe

We certainly love shopping from the comfort of our homes, at the click of a button. However, the convenience of online shopping could never eclipse the charm of visiting a physical store, selecting an outfit among a hundred others displayed, trying it on, and then finally buying it. To make shopping more fun and engaging, and to bring the whole family together under one roof, Fabindia has launched Experience Centres in different parts of the country. The chain store selling handmade garments, furnishings, fabrics and ethnic, with much fanfare launched its first ever Experience Centre in Aundh on Saturday. 

Spread across approximately 10,500 sq ft, this store is aimed at providing an alternative shopping experience by shifting from transactional exchanges to a more experiential and interactive experience. The building located on ITI Main Road, has four-storeys, each offering a different segment. While the first floor has a wellness centre, and is dedicated to interiors and furnishing, a level above features the women’s section and the third floor offers everything for men and kids. The fourth floor has a kids zone and Fabcafe.
 
The interiors on each floor consist of greenery, art deco style flooring and bright floral wall murals. The space is done up entirely with decor and furniture from Fabindia’s inventory. The walls near the staircases on every level have huge frames with details of Indian weaves, prints and embroideries. 
Ajay Kapoor, president, retail, Fabindia who inaugurated the centre in the city, says that the Fabindia Experience Centres in other parts of the country have received great response. “The Experience Centre is a new concept under which we are expanding our retail. Until now, we have had shops which were only focused on retail where people came, shopped and left. Imagine you are going to a shopping mall — you have various options like a food court, entertainment, shopping, kids play zone etc. Similarly, we are making a shift from retail to experience. The idea is to create a neighbourhood store to make shop convenience and everything available under one roof,” says Kapoor, adding that they launched their first Experience Centre in Delhi in 2017.
 
This store isn’t just about an opulent multi-storeyed building showcasing their products. What makes it unique is the services that it offers. Their Interior Design Studio (IDS) provides a range of services such as consultancy on layouts, mapping spaces, product customisation and colour scheme coordination. “At any regular Fabindia store, you just go shop for a bedcover or a pillowcase, but at the Experience Centre, an interior designer will guide and help you to select the right furniture, furnishing and decor items for your house and also provide you with various options and colour schemes that will work for your interiors,” adds Kapoor.
 
The Experience Centre also has an alteration studio where you can get outfits altered and adjusted for free for the right fit which wasn’t a service the brand offered earlier at their traditional stores. 
The Fabcafe offers healthy snacks and beverages. Kapoor says that one wouldn’t find burgers, pizzas, or noodles at the cafe, instead customers will be inspired to eat healthy there. “Baked Samosas, Golgappas with a sprout filling in them instead of mashed potatoes, Quinoa Biryani, roti made with jackfruit flour or quinoa are some of the healthy food items that are served at the cafe,” says Kapoor.
 
The Experience Centre has designated space for Organic India’s Wellness Store. Kapoor says that the focus is to encourage a healthy lifestyle, hence apart from the green tea, the section also offers various health and skincare products, detox and cleansing kits. “What is interesting about this section is that it also offers consultation by a nutritionist who tells you the right remedy for your ailment and suggests the right product. You can also seek help from the nutritionist online and share your health issues,” he adds.
 
If shopping with kids has been a challenge for you, the Experience Centre will solve your worry. Fabindia is the first retail brand to introduce a Kids Zone with Tugbug. It serves as an exclusive recreational area for children to relax, play, discover and create. “Kids are glued the smartphones and videogames and their screen time is increasing day by day. Tugbugg is an effort to divert kids from the digital space and give them the kind of childhood that we had back in the day. Kids can play with clay, blocks, paint, learn block printing, do gardening, engage in storytelling etc which are creative and encourage them to think and wonder about world, planet and environment. Children love this section of the centre and they seem to enjoy spending time here,” says Kapoor.
 
Kapoor says that through this new avatar of Fabinida, they are making shopping at stores more user friendly unlike in the traditional stores. “At traditional Fabindia stores, you would see stacks of clothes kept on the racks. But here, even the display of the products and the way outfits are hung, makes it interesting and easier for customers to browse through and pick up what they like,” says Kapoor. 

He further informs that the Experience Centres are growing very rapidly. “Between 2018-19, we launched eight Experience Centres across India. We are planning to launch 30 more across the world. Another Experience Centre is underway in Baner in the city,” he concludes. 

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