Retailers await a revival in sentiment

After Zara, a well-known Spanish high street fashion retailer, launched its new store in south-central Mumbai’s top-end Palladium mall,it wore an empty with not many buyers around, mostly window-shoppers of them. Just a day later, hordes of eager customers were seen queuing up outside it, to make the most of an attractive discount offers on handbags, T-shirts, shoes, trousers etc. They all were fast grabbed in no time. This sums up the driving power of discounts for you; and also a lesson to be learnt for vendors – in a country that’s also obsessed with ‘mileage’, as a TV ad states.

This is reflective of a peculiar phenomenon associated with consumers in India, begging a question whether only discounts and offers get shoppers out on their toes. Maybe, it’s also that they await lower price-points. So to attract them, retailers have to try every trick in their books especially during the festive season. Probably, those in the industry of gifting  might have a thing or two to say about this..

Coming back to the topic, are the concerns over inflation and worries over faltering economy keeping consumers away, especially at mid and lower end of ‘discretionary’ goods? If a recent media report in The DNA publication is to be considered, even though footfalls have gone up, volumes in discount sales are rather suppressed. There has been a steady growth in value in segments like apparel. However, volumes have remained flat so most retailers are witnessing build-up of inventories, prompting them to advance discount ‘sale’ dates. They mostly launch these sales by January-end. This year though, the sales were launched as early as the first week of the new year.

According to market analysts, receding willingness or ability to purchase things causes a decrease in real spends, already down 7-10% from over 10% earlier. They point out the volume growth should be relatively better in the current quarter, albeit not up to expectations. Experts add that impulse shopping has been hit the most, with only end-of-season clearance sales providing some relief to retailers.

When will there be a revival in sentiment? Experts are banking on an improved global situation, having a spillover effect in India for a retail rebound. The key aspect to draw buyers for now is pricing as people indulge in ‘planned shopping’. Of course, establishing a strong brand identity is also very vital from the point of view of shoring up your sales.

Social sites that help you find last-minute gift ideas

It always feels so much better and nicer to give than to receive, if you are relish the act of giving yourself. But then there is nothing worse than that act of ripping off colorful fine wrapping paper to unveil some gym socks, a ubiquitous CD box set of any kind or that oh-so-obviously re-circulated scented candles. Well, it can be just enough to make you seek a lump of coal, know why!

Of course, an array of online tools have long been there to let you cobble together a quick list of things that you would love others to gift you.

Pinterest

  • As its name suggests, this service indeed acts as a virtual pinboard wherein users can save items that have caught their eye online.
  • The site is developed with the basic understanding that  surfers in their zigzag across the online realm are constantly stumbling across interesting books, cute trinkets, pieces of furniture, iPad cases and other objects. It lets them save all these items and organize them into specific sets, including holiday wish lists.The service allows users to follow others’ lists to come up with enhanced gift ideas.

Evernote

  • It’s a note-taking service that lets users add tags to the photos and notes they save. Adding a ‘holiday gift’ tag to those items will create a list of desirables.
  • It has teamed up with ShopAdvisor that analyzes gift ideas in your account and searches the Web to look for matching products. It sends information about where to find them – online as well as offline.

HavetoHave

  • HavetoHave allows people to clip and to save products from across the Web and then assemble them into handy shopping lists.
  • The website allows members to find and to follow their friends as well as browse through the items that they have saved, either as a way to get gift-giving ideas or as suggestions to add to their own wish lists.
  • As a bonus, it has put in place a built-in blue-light-special alert to tell people when an item they have flagged has actually gone on sale.

Food hampers

 An Image of a food hamper

 

In the west a food hamper is the most preferred gift and corporates choose their hampers with great care, it is usually a  and other accompaniments. Unfortunately this trend has not yet caught up in India given the fact that most stores such as Godrej – nature’s basket or RIL’s Fresh, shoppers stop and spencers do not cater to the corporate gifting market. There is an opportunity here for someone with an artistic ability to pack and put together a beautiful hamper that the receiver will cherish. What is important is the packing to give it the kind of panache it requires.

Your virtual personal shopper for gift items

Now there are a host of online platforms are perfect to make a last-minute holiday list. However, they will come in quite handy year-round especially as online registries for a number of special or generic gift-giving occasions. Prime among them Amazon.com, is one place to compile a list of DVDs, coveted books, and whatever else under the sky.

While Amazon.com is a great resource for the users who already are well aware of exactly what they want, it tends to fall short in terms of turning up interesting and unique items you perhaps not have thought of otherwise, like a military lace-up boots pair trimmed in fur, a vintage Polaroid camera or a high-tech juicer

Wantful is a site that serves just like a virtual personal shopper, which is assigned to skillfully pick a selection of items for each visitor on your exclusive holiday shopping list. Here’s how it works:

  • After signing up, shoppers will answer queries about the individual they are seeking a present for, describing the recipient’s gender, tastes as well preferences, like whether he or she enjoys cooking or reading. The relationship to a gift recipient is also considered.
  • The website generates 16 items in your specified price range it thinks might well be appropriate gifts; it will print a physical book listing the items and also mail it to recipient of the gift. (Those last-minute gift givers in a hurry can also send their catalogs by mail.)
  • The recipient then will choose a gift from the list; the giver is charged. Wantful has populated its lists by teaming up with various vendors and merchants. It offers hundreds of gift ideas; the lower-end ones starting around $30, whereas the most expensive topping out around $500.

Make calendars part of your gifting portfolio

As we enter another year, what invariably forms part of our buying list is a calendar. Why not also make it a part of your gifting portfolio?

The keenly awaited Kingfisher Calendar 2012 has just been unveiled. And as one would expect, some of the most beautiful and glamorous models grace it with their graceful poses and stylish persona. It’s the 10th edition of the captivating combination of truly mesmerizing beauties.

It has been shot at the most exotic locations in Sri Lanka. The beauties that adorn its passionate pages are models Angela Jonsson, Mimi Blix, Tena Desae, Maia Haydon, Saiyami Kher and Nathalia Pinheiro (the Kingfisher Calendar girl hunt 2012 winner)– making it a sensual collection that is bound to create waves. Renowned fashion Photographer and Kingfisher’s favorite lensman Atul Kasbekar has snapped these models against the most picturesque backdrops of the island country.

It indeed has emerged as a collector’s item; an irresistible page-turner,  a premium brand in the world of glamor biz and fashion and India’s own version of the Pirelli Calendar. The latest edition once again unveils some of the most promising faces of the fashion world.  The astounding almanac has launched several new faces, and explored beautiful uber-luxurious locales. Lovely ladies like Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Nargis Fakhri etc have featured on its glossy pages over the years.  View the Kingfisher Calendar 2012 here

Another must-have, must-gift calendar is one featuring vivacious, silken beauty Vidya Balan who features on celebrity photographer Dabboo Ratnani’s latest annual calendar, among other beauties. Ratnani has shot several beauties with his lens, including Aishwarya Rai, Sonakshi Sinha, and Priyanka Chopra for the annual calendar.

If one of your friends don’t relish Bolloywood and perhaps is a nature love, you can gift him the soothing calendar of The Bombay Natural History Society. The BNHS releases lovely calendars every year that sure are worth possessing. You can pick other themes and ideas on basis of what the person likes. And then gift it. That would be timely and perfect gesture…

Gifts that Deepika Padukone and Bipasha Basu cherish

As glam-girl of Bollywood, Deepika Padukone celebrated her birthday, journalists asked her about gifts and pleasant memories of the occasion. And here’s what the bold beauty had to say…

“The birthday parties that my mother used to organize for me were memorable. She would invite all of my friends, cut a cake, play games, and also give goodbye gifts.” Which is the first major gift she fondly remembers getting on her birthday? She got her first laptop on her 18th birthday from her parents. But she now doesn’t expect any gifts from anyone. Her rationale is: “I really work hard; treat myself to whatever I wish (to have)…”

Deepika recently got possession of a posh apartment in South Mumbai, and there were rumors, unconfirmed though she was gifted it. More than such grand statements, sometimes even small gifts or gestures, which make a relationship truly special, excite her. Deepika in fact, gave a romantic gift to her boyfriend on his birthday. What was it that she gifted Siddharth Mallya on his last birthday?

A rich person like him has almost all material things So she was in a fix as to what to give her beau. Of course, she didn’t wish to get something glossy for him. She rather wished to give a personal touch to it. Guess what special she got for him? She compiled a dazzling digital album of all the special moments the two had shared together so far and presented it to him.

He was indeed touched by the gesture, particularly since she had given it a personal touch more so because she had taken the efforts to customize it carefully. There’s a lesson to be learnt; a personal touch and an element of customization makes a gift truly special…     Interestingly, another glam-girl of Bollywood Bipasha Basu celebrated her birthday on January 7. She has decided to celebrate the occasion for 11 long days in a grand way. She was quoted as saying that the ‘Players’ (her new movie) promotion crew would to have to celebrate her birthday during the tour.

Gift ideas for new born babies from Archies

Archies offers some of the most special ways to say you care. Archies is a gift’s portal (www.archiesonline.com) that provides services to send greetings and gifts to your family and friends all over India.

It is a unique and secured online shopping experience from any part of the world. Your most important milestones and occasions, when you want to share a smile and when you seek to offer comfort. At Archies Online, the effort is always to deliver the customers online order of gifts quickly and even on the preferred day.

You will come across a vast list of categories on our website for sending gifts. These categories have been defined on basis of products, occasions, relationships, prices etc. To start shopping, you need to register online by providing with necessary information. Your information is secured with us and will be used to contact people regarding their orders and transactions.

‘My account’ section option will approach you to your own private account; you can manage your account details, track your orders and manage your reward points through the section.

Here are some gift ideas for new born babies from Archies:

Soft Toy – Musical Star (Price: 450.00  |  $ : 8.82): This adorable musical soft toy makes kids smile with its vibrant colors as well as makes them sleep with its serene musical tone.

Baby Train Photo Frame in Pink (Price: 1,399.00  |  $ : 27.43): Make a line-up of your child’s adorable pictures in this pink colored train-shaped ‘three picture’ photo frame, to add more life to their precious expressions.

Baby Record book (Blue – Price: 425.00  |  $ : 8.33): Record all the activities of your new born right from baby’s booties to boots.
Being this Cute – Romper with BIB (Price: 475.00   380.00  |   $ : 7.45): If you have or you are planning a baby than this is a must buy. Make your precious little one wear this attractive and stylish quote dress with matching BIB to enhance his/her cute looks.

Painterly gifts that blend aesthetic and value

It may be that one of your friends or family members have burnt their fingers in the stock market meltdown. Can you provide them with some succor? Do you want to suggest them an alternative avenue to park their hard-earned money to safeguard and grow it? Is there a way to assured wealth building in these uncertain times? Well, you need not harangue them on risk-free investing.

What you need do is just buy a nice piece of art, and gift it to them. It’s bound to fascinate them. Then draw their attention to the fact that many high net worth individuals and non resident Indians are putting their money in art! Here are some artists to consider:

Chintan Upadhyay: He often explores the iconography of Pop to convey his subject matter. His paintings carry references from media, advertisements, Bollywood and even the traditional miniature paintings.

Baiju Parthan: His fascination for technology, blended with his passion for mythology is palpable in his practice. The artist views them as symbiotic, as he thinks both mythology and technology feed off each other.

Riyas Komu: His oeuvre refers to the paradoxes of the urban situation that he paints with cynicism and compassion. The artist strives to archive the times, as well as reflect our immediate concerns – both localized and globalized.

Jagannath Panda: In his Panda’s work, a routine event or any commonplace object gets imparted with symbolic stature that is oriented to represent collective aspirations or sometimes rigid dogmas.

T.V. Santhosh: Drawing on images and news reports from the media, he combines pointed text and repetitive sculptural forms to make a statement on both the persistent nature of violence and the way it gradually becomes the norm, through recurrence.

Sunil Gawde: His tools often include sophisticated paint materials and implements like trowels and scrapers for achieving a layered depth in his pigments. This results in textured surfaces – dynamic and dramatic in nature.

D Ebenezer Sunder Singh: The paintings of Paul Cézanne and his principles of Art influenced me immensely. The human figures (the central element of his pictures) shift time and space to locate the psychological characteristics and the principles of life.

Relevance of gifting in the corporate spheres

In today’s competitive market a corporate relationship is the most important thing to make a business thrive and expand even while keeping the goodwill intact. In this context, gifting plays a major role. Corporate relationships can be formed and maintained by appropriate corporate gifting practices and strengthening personal relationships.

An apt corporate gift speaks a million words and expresses a million feelings. A gift given to a client on him birthday lets him know the company treats him as family and thus remembers every important day of his life. This builds a better rapport with the person and makes him or her feel important.

A gift given to a major business stakeholder/ partner is a display of joy and also shows a feeling closeness. It should have a personal touch to it. For example, if a card is added or any such small thing makes a big difference. When gifting a logo plays a major role if it’s properly positioned and displayed.

It should be remembered that the gift your company representative offer should not be tacky. They should be wrapped properly and should look elegant. Another important thing to remember is the position or status of the client, if he or she is a senior person in the client firm, a gift should be so selected and presented that it suits the person’s standing.

Obviously, there are specific reasons that you have in mind for gifting. In other words, you would want to pick a gift that amply reflects your mindset or one that goes with the occasion on which it is being sent. Your gift should ideally reflect that feeling of ‘satisfaction’ and ‘joy’ while presenting it to make the recipient pleased so that the latter truly likes it. He would appreciate your thoughtful gesture and be inclined to continue doing business with you.

It can be a real challenge, rather a test of your business skills to be able to find, wrap and present the perfect gift for a corporate client or colleague. Remember, corporate gift giving etiquette is a crucial aspect that you can leave in the hands of inexperienced people. Only specialists or skilled branding experts should deal with it. You cannot afford to take any chances with your process of selecting and presenting a good gift for clients.

Five factors essential to chart out a corporate gift program

Below are the vital factors that are extremely essential for chalking out a corporate gift program:

  1. Determine your budget first to get a clear understanding of your corporate gift program. Once you set your budget and scope, next you should define the exact purpose of giveaways.  This will depend on what domain you are and your end user.  Your budget will though, will largely dictate how much you should allocate for the gifting program.
  2. When deciding how much to spend, key thing to take into account is the intrinsic value of your business relationship. Based on it, you should make sure you give an ‘appropriate’ gift. Also, consider specific guidelines of that corporate entity and industry. You would never want it to appear as a favor.
  3. Just reverse the roles. What if you receive an over-expensive gift? Talk to the giver in person if you think that the gift is too costly, too personal or not really suitable to the occasion or the relationship you share with the person. However, never discuss these things in public with the person concerned.
  4. Corporate gifts can serve various roles like Thank You gifts for clients and colleagues; motivational gifts; recognition gifts for employees; new client acquisition; retention of business clients; building brand awareness; promotional products; holiday gifts for clients; trade show giveaways; premiums incentives and incentive programs; award programs; advertising specialties; service and safety awards; and general purpose business gifts and awards.
  5. One discreet way to place your logo is leather portfolios. It is normally de-bossed on the cover. Some people prefer to customize with the recipients initials. If you believe you have selected a gift that will make a lasting impression on the recipient, there is absolutely no need to place your logo on the gift. The person will remember you by the gorgeous gift itself.  Also work out how you will distribute it – in person or by courier mail.

In other words, sourcing, packaging and dispatching the gifts demand an on-time and high quality solution providers to manage the specialized gifting related tasks on continual basis.