FITCH: Designing The Future With Transformational Consumer Experiences

CIO Vendor What can I buy from y o u ? ’ is old. W h a t ’ s new is ‘What can you help me achieve?’ Retail has simply gone from transactional to experiential. And at the cusp of it, is FITCH. A member of the WPP Network, FITCH is one of world’s leading retail and brand consultancies that, through its integrated offering of strategy, design and implementation, has been reshaping Indian retail for the past 11 years. Leveraging its 45+ years of global cross category expertise, FITCH has been availing its services to brands across the spectrum, including the likes of Domino’s, ZEE, Nestlé, Aditya Birla Group, Hindware, Asian Paints, H&M, TATA Motors, Westside, Shoppers Stop, Big Bazaar, P&G and Coca Cola. Interestingly, in the last five years, FITCH has worked for more than half of the Forbes Top 100 most valuable brands. In India, FITCH boasts of a team of 75 people, comprising of strategists, designers (experience + branding), UI/UX designers and architects. This diverse team thrives to deliver all online, offline and inperson needs whenever and wherever a client’s customer meets the client’s brand. “Everything we do is a product of bold thinking, an ability to read, write and speak the language of both brands and consumers”, states David Blair, Global CEO, FITCH.

Storytelling is a buzzworthy term these days. More so, telling a story of the brand and connecting with the customers at the lifestyle level is what businesses seek with their communication partner. FITCH is always striving to understand and serve people’s best needs and wants right from the Physical elements of the experience felt though touch, smell and hear; the Human gestures, rituals and service elements that are delivered by people; to the Digital technology, equipment and platforms that connect to the customer's digital world. To further this drive of understanding people, they conducted an extensive global study covering more than 7,000 participants, to understand how people actually buy. Based on this intensive research, FITCH identified four universal Shopper Mindstates – Dreaming, Exploring, Locating, and Achieving, that succinctly capture the buying behaviour of shoppers. FITCH harnesses these findings to develop the right interventions across physical, human and digital touchpoints for every partner and to create their brand’s unique Experience Signature. With this propriety process, the firm is enabling customers to see brands differently i.e. as a means to achieve their own goals better.

Few Instances that Simply Prove FITCH’S Prowess
David explains how the problem is not the experience alone, it is giving people something to do beyond just buying. The FITCH team identified the experience expected by 650,000 consumers of 23,000 brands in 31 countries and harnessed this information through 12 different Experience Themes to assist retailers to differentiate themselves in category and stay ahead of the curve. FITCH has taken this approach with a plethora of clients. In a recent venture, after the FITCH team had profiled shopper missions for M&Ms in Shanghai, the team created a strategy to capture tourists looking for a spectacle, photo opportunities and personalized gifts. Resultantly, the average trip spend per trip per person is USD 42 with an
average dwell time of over 25 minutes. In a similar astonishing encounter, for Asian Paints, FITCH created ‘Colour’, an interactive playground centre that allows consumers to experience what colour can do for their home through the help of many tactile digital aids. More recently, Hindware’s premium designer flagship store, Lacasa was designed by FITCH. Unlike a generic retail outlet, Lacasa utilizes digital platforms to enhance service, the experience and shorten the customer journey. The store acts as inspiration and guide, assisting customers at every stage of their decision-making process. “We’re not just helping people style their bathroom, but helping them create their own uniquely private haven”, explains Mark D’Costa, Managing Director, FITCH India. In Singapore, the firm developed Singapore’s first 24 hour unmanned telco store for Singtel, a telecom giant, that uses facial recognition, cameras, motion sensors, video assisted kiosks as well as real-time video chat to give customers a revolutionary, personalized and guided shopping experience.

A Miracle in the Indian F&B Space
There are numerous other instances where FITCH has testified its sheer expertise and ingenuity in truly smart business transformations. FITCH is currently involved in an ongoing collaboration with the ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited’s digital entertainment destination, ZEE5. Looking to expand their audience base, ZEE approached FITCH to create a new experience to attract the Millennial demographic. FITCH, driven by their zeal to always do the unique, conceptualized and designed an experiential café to help ZEE5 proactively reach out directly to its young audience. A hub for the swarming youth population, Bengaluru was selected as the ideal place to launch the brand. Named ‘LOFT’, the space works as a ‘community studio’ a ‘living portal to the digital ecosystem’ of the new platform. It plays a dual role of providing multi-sensory localized entertainment and food with theatre, while also creating live content by hosting talent auditions and events. “In a heavily saturated, homogenous market like cafes, FITCH has created a clutter-breaking, collaborative community DIY space where the local customer fan base can personalize their café to their culture.”, says Mark.

Leveraging its 45+ years of global cross category expertise, FITCH has been availing its services to brands across the spectrum

“At FITCH, we Design the Future by transforming consumer experiences and accelerating business success”, he adds. With the foreseen future of retailers being driven by customers’ achievement and not simply their purchase, FITCH is encouraging brands to reassess their human side and focus more on service.