What do you get when you cross a Fortune Global 500 company with the numero uno blogging platform? An interactive consumer experience, that’s what! And so it came to be when Indiblogger announced the Reliance Digital Experience. So what was the catch? Nothing really, except, that I hate following instructions.

As kids, whenever we were expecting guests, mom made a special point to mention (to me most of the times) to be on our best behaviour. How I behaved makes for another post altogether, highly avoidable right now. But it made me realize, wouldn’t the staff be well prepared to meet and greet us? Will that give me an unbiased view of the store? Nope, I didn’t think so. And my devilish mind set to work. I took the print out of the invite I was supposed to carry. 15th June, 2013, 10 am is what it showed on my laptop. Venue headed to, Infinity Mall, Malad.

“Hi, I am BlogwatiG and here is my invite.” 

As if on cue, the staff in blue appeared, verified some details and with utmost respect, ushered her and the child towards the informal presentation. Once they were in, my phone rang. I was ten steps behind them.  

“Mom, we are in and we told them we want to browse around. They said to ask for help if we need anything.”

“Good girl. Now call me if you get stuck anywhere and behave as if you want to buy something. OK?” And with that I hung up on my daughter who was accompanying my mom, the ‘BlogwatiG’ for the day! Thus, leaving me free to explore the store, incognito. Yes, I have all the makings of a criminal. 

As I walked in, I did get a few eager faces who tried to help. I told them, I was good and went on to explore the store. The red, blue and white ambiance of the store was broken by  orange shelf headers. Nice. Products were categorized and neatly stacked on eye level facilitating easy viewing. The display range was inviting and the staff were forthcoming with assistance. In house branding was evident with a series of panels advertising Reliance benefits and educating customers on buying smart. Plus One.

A group of bloggers were being briefed by the store manager. I casually walked across to the next row from them, glancing at the products and challenging my hearing abilities. I am happy to report, the transmission was clear, also because Vishal (learnt his name later) had a very commanding voice. He was giving the group a walk-through about the ideals, goals and customer service levels of brand Reliance Digital. Well, actions speak louder than words, I said to myself. I was about to get into Test Drive Mode. Oops, someone recognized me and almost waved. I aborted eye contact and went asking for DSLR Cameras. Phew!

Now my unsuspecting victim was walking in from the Reliance TimeOut Corner, which BTW can do with some serious up haul. Two rows of shelves had absolutely no books. Minus one. 

I asked the executive about the Nikon D3100 as I had recently purchased one and was equipped with information. He went on to compare the Canon 600D, Nikon D3100 and D5100. He left them on par and let me be the judge as to what would be suitable to my needs. Very nicely done. Plus One. However their DSLR range was very limited. I could say the same for quite a few products. Minus One.

I turned my attention to the air coolers. A slow moving product generally does not feature on the staff roll call. This should be good. I was right. There were only two models on display. However the executive at the section managed to give me a full fledged demo with a faulty piece which was not in stock. He even offered to take down my number and get back to me with my requirements. I had a hard time not volunteering my details. Plus One.

While browsing I came across the in-house brand Reconnect. Apt name choice. Immediate brand recall value. This desktop that I set my heart on looked pretty sleek to match the competition too. Plus One. 

Most stores offer extended warranty. At Reliance it comes with a name that rescues you from your misery with after sales service. ResQ, once again, great brand recall value and value for money with their add on coupons. Plus One.

If I have to summarize The Reliance Digital Experience in 5, I’d say

a) Staff product knowledge is A1. Keep it up. Overall look is A-Okay too. Yes, I would be inclined to visit again. Brand Reconnect looks promising. 

b) Increase the product range if you are planning on becoming the one stop digital shop. I can’t choose from 2 camera brands, if you know what I mean.

c) Give me reasons to not shop abroad. If I am looking for a pedometer or a digital  dictionary bookmark, a karaoke machine or hi-tech camera lens, give me that option to buy it here. 

d) Schemes way beyond market standards is what I call a bargain. Make me an offer I can’t refuse.

e) Every store space needs to generate revenue. If a particular section is not, for e.g., the books section, do away with it and add something that will. 

In short, go the length and breadth to provide that Happiness in Store

Well, I was almost done being a detective when I bumped into two gorgeous hunks who went on to have a very animated conversation about hair care. Who ever said men are all about gadgets? I am the one without the beard, BTW. And thank God for that!

Oh yes, almost forgot. Mom and the princess were rewarded with lunch for their subtle efforts. The princess toh went one step ahead and refused to acknowledge me when we crossed paths in the store. Yup, she is gonna be an actress or a politician maybe? Their take, it was nice. Staff was sweet. Wish they had a coffee shop too!



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