Monday, September 25, 2006

Home Stop opens in Inorbit Mall

Last week we visited the new Home Stop store that has opened in Inorbit Mall in Malad, Mumbai. I was very excited to finally visit a Home Stop store, since I had heard good things about it, especially the Bangalore store. The store is located inside Shoppers' Stop and Crossword, without any direct access from the mall, so if people don't know that Home Stop is owned by the K Raheja Group, the same company as Shoppers' Stop and Crossword, they might not know where to look.

Besides Home Stop, there is also a MotherCare outlet in the same location, so it just feels like an extension of the Shoppers' Stop downstairs. A regular department store with different departments spread out across the floor. Frankly, I feel that Home Stop did not effectively use its area, over 30,000 sq ft. The visual merchandising is pretty much non-existant for a specialty home furninshings focus store. The furniture and home furninishing products are displayed as they might be used at home, with beds made along the central aisle but the effort is half-hearted and it's rather obvious.

As one the the first home furnishing specialty stores in the area, Home Stop could have capitalized on its first mover advantage by really creating believable and exciting rooms within the store. I found the displays boring and bland. This month's issue of Elle has a spread of items that are also available at Home Stop with a radically different effect. It's exciting, interesting and different, something that makes you immediately look to the bottom of the page to see where you can buy it. Home Stop uses the same merchandise but the display looks flat and uninviting.

The other thing I did not like in the store was the layout, which was organized by brand rather than type of merchandise. I, for example, went there looking for bed sheets and had to walk to three different sections of the store to have a look at sheets from Bombay Dyeing, Portico, Maspar and a couple of generic brands. By the time I got to through all sections, I wasn't too sure of what I saw initially but wasn't interested in zig-zaging through the store again. So I left and the store lost a sure customer, one who came in with something specific to buy, not just browse.

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