Rajagopalan Venkataraman of ToI has a nice article on fast disappearing of glitzy shopping landmarks of the 1990s. This disappearing act shows how shopping patterns are changing. One cannot take brand loyality for granted and these things keep changing. The article is on Bangalore but applies to most other cities if not all:
Gone are the days when shoppers could be lured by men in Mickey Mouse suits and stacks of CDs.`Here today, gone tomorrow’ might describe a poorly made Sandalwood flick’s fortunes, but the phrase would be an apt description of how Bengaluru’s shopaholics have been transacting over the years.
Bengaluru has taken to ordering practically everything online like fish to water. Who would have thought that the city of Avenue Road, Chickpet, Balepet and Mamulpet -localities that specialize in bargain shopping -would serve base to a homegrown e-commerce giant? All of a sudden, customers who’d drool at the prospect of bargains and returns have been reined in with a little help from on line banking. As a result, many a shopping place that also served as a landmark has either been relegated to the pages of history or is in the process of becoming a memory . Change brings with it that wistful emotion, nostalgia. And where else to begin than Big Kids Kemp?
Think shopping in Bengaluru, think Kids Kemp, was how the famed clothing store’s link with the city went. A decade ago, people in Mickey Mouse suits would stroll around outside the Big Kids Kemp store on MG Road, greeting visitors. The near-absence of such persons today should serve as an indicator of how preferences have changed.Chances are, the city’s millenials might not know much about a store that was an Indian approximation to Disneyland, drawing crowds by the dozen.
Though, some of these were actually pioneers in some things. But they lost out eventually to competition which showed a better or a more acceptable way:
Targeted advertising for kids may be a recent phenomenon, but the Kemp stores on MG Road and KG Road, which were vast, seemed to revel in it. Back then, the men in cartoon suits were a big draw, a piece of marketing genius. Remember, this was around the early ’90s when children were drawn to Disney cartoons on Doordarshan. Practically, every family had a kid who would throw a tantrum into asking to be taken to the store, just to catch a glimpse of the “Mickey people”. I was no exception, although I could not persuade my parents to make purchases there (products were at a premium). In fact, such was the fame of the store that Kids Kemp was on the itinerary of tourists visiting Bengaluru.
However, as newer stores and malls came up, it seemed that the Kemp had lost its novelty factor. The grand opening and drastic shutting of Kemp Fort on Old Airport Road, too, did not help.Today , the Kemp is an edifice signifying Bengaluru’s glorious shopping history .
Same is the fate of Music World, Planet MT the iconic music stores as well.
The lesson – well change is the only constant:
The stores may or may not exist, but the stories will. For, as the cliche goes, the only constant in Bengaluru is change. Who knows, we may be writing the epitaph of e-commerce a few decades from now.
Nice bit. Many nice economics lessons here..