Unkrate Exclusive: 'The Change in the Retail Industry will Only be Towards Betterment' - Sundar Subramaniam, Co-founder & MD, Dovetail

Suman Prasad

The retail market in India is estimated to reach USD 1.1 trillion by 2020 from USD 672 billion at present, with modern trade expected to grow at 20 percent per annum. This boom in the retail industry has accelerated the growth of retail fixture market in India.

However, back in the days, retail design in India was at a nascent stage, highly unorganized and there were very few workshops that manufactured designs as per specifications. That is when S. Sundar, a NID graduate, along with his friends decided to set up their own facility which would translate their designs into actual forms as desired.

It was a chance meeting with a client, none other than the erstwhile popular clothing brand Weekender that set the start-up on a growth trajectory from where there was no looking back. The Weekender representative wanted to roll out a series of stores in India in 1986 for which they selected Studioline (now Dovetail), and asked them to set up 50 single-brand stores for the clothing brand between 1000-2000 feet for a few lakhs.

Dovetail started with an objective to design and manufacture furniture and fixtures. Today, they have their registered office and manufacturing facility at Bangalore which is spread across two acres and is equipped with the latest technology for wood, board, and metal working. Their 'Experience Centre' houses spacious design studios which showcase our latest products. The combination of skilled work force, latest technology and decades of industry experience enables Dovetail to take on large design-build furniture & fixture projects in retail and institutional domains.

Sundar Subramaniam, Co-founder and Managing Director, Dovetail in Exclusive Interview with Unkrate spoke at length about Dovetail's clientele, retail scene in India, what do the future hold for this industry and other important things which you wouldn't want to miss.

Sundar Subramaniam
Co-founder & Managing Director, Dovetail

Excerpt from the interview:

Local and global retail brands Dovetail have worked with 

We have worked with many leading local and global retail brands. In fact, we are championed to be their preferred choice for their ongoing projects. To name a few, we have worked with Nautica, Unlimited, Saravana stores, Megamart, Peter England, Puma, Nike, Fastrack, mom & me, Marks & Spencer, fcuk, Aaddons, Motorola, Mom & Me, William Penn, Brand Factory, Hometown, Tata teleservices, Bangalore Central, Food Bazaar, Big Bazaar, Asian paints, Kodak, Pantaloons, Levis, weekender, etc.

Retail boom in India 

The Indian retail industry is ripe for opportunities. The retail sector in India is fast emerging as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries today. Many global brands are entering the country directly or through acquisition, mergers or tie-ups. Indian consumers, especially the younger population now have higher expectations and their taste have evolved accordingly. Lately, the inclination of the Indian consumers towards international brands has become quite apparent. The sector growth is also fuelled by online E-retailers strengthening their offerings and opting for offline presence too. Another key factor for this retail boom is growing consumer base. The retail boom has been happening for decades and is only getting more and more stronger.

The change in the retail industry will only be towards betterment. There will be increased competition among existing players and this will also pave the way for new players. With innumerable players in the market and too many options to choose, consumers may get exhausted and may find it difficult in decision making. However, they tend to settle with brands that offers  a consistent product quality, choice and service. Hence, some players may succeed while some may find it difficult to withstand the competition.

The retail boom will generate more business and will also drive up the quality levels. It will also create more employment opportunity for skilled labours.

Shop-fit changing the Indian Retail experience

The quality of shop-fit will get better and better and will be of the same quality as anywhere in the world. It will enhance the in-house shopping experience and in turn, play a vital role in retaining customers. It’s very important to attract and engage young consumers of the country and  this is only possible when we provide them with better shopping experiences. This has prompted  retail brands to invest on customer shopping experience . So retail brands are now more conscious about shop interiors, ambience, fixtures and shop fits.

Retail industry over the years

In 1985, the focus was on small individual brand stores on main streets. Then a decade later, brands like Pantaloons started large format stores with totally modular arrangements, and at the same time global brands came in with their brand stores. Another decade later, malls were in full bloom and brands morphed into different store formats. In this decade, we are seeing attempts to integrate digital technology into stores as well as offering the customers with both online and offline options.
                                                                       
Are the furniture manufacturers in India future ready?

Yes, of course. Both the established and promising players in this category are investing in enhanced technology, logistics and production methods to prepare for the demand and competition. At Dovetail itself, we are already future ready as we have invested in product innovation, design engineering and additional manufacturing capabilities. We are also embracing the change by adopting and as well as adapting to newer technologies.



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