Ga­jen­dra Singh, Cen­tre Di­rec­tor of Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity, Bengaluru, talks about the strate­gies and plan­ning it has taken over the years to be­come one of the most sought-after shop­ping des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try.

De­vel­oped by Is­land Star Mall De­vel­op­ers, Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity is spread across a to­tal built up area of 1.4 mil­lion sq.ft. and has a gross leasable area of 9,70,000 sq.ft. It boasts of a nine-screen PVR mul­ti­plex spread across 85,000 sq.ft. and a 35,000 sq.ft­food court. The mall has four floors with 300 stores, a 40,000 sq.ft park­ing space and is by far the largest mall in Bengaluru…

In an ex­clu­sive con­ver­sa­tion with IMAGES Re­tail Bureau, Ga­jen­dra Singh, Cen­tre Di­rec­tor of Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity, Bengaluru, talks about the strate­gies and plan­ning it has taken over the years to be­come one of the most sought-after shop­ping des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try.

Tell us about the in­cep­tion of Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity?

Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity Bengaluru is a mar­quee devel­op­ment in Re­tail Real Es­tate space that opened in 2011 and has es­tab­lished it­self as a life­style and en­ter­tain­ment desti­na­tion, op­er­at­ing with full oc­cu­pancy. The mall has grown more than 15 to 20 per­cent in terms of sales and bot­tom line.

Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity Bengaluru rev­o­lu­tionised the cus­tomer shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence and has be­come a fully in­te­grated recre­ational Cen­tre in Bengaluru in a very short pe­riod of time. It has es­tab­lished it­self as an ur­ban life­style con­sump­tion desti­na­tion, which of­fers a holis­tic and pre­mium ex­pe­ri­ence for re­tail, en­ter­tain­ment and movies, food and bev­er­ages and many more.

With over 300 stores rep­re­sent­ing an ex­haus­tive mix of in­ter­na­tional, na­tional and re­gional pre­mium brands, Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity of­fers the most com­pre­hen­sive and com­pelling life­style shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence in Bengaluru. The mall hosts sev­eral theme based events, and large scale mu­si­cal con­certs where best in class mu­sic bands and pop­u­lar Bol­ly­wood singers per­form.

What, ac­cord­ing to you, are the key el­e­ments that de­ter­mine the suc­cess of a mall?

There is no one for­mu­lae for suc­cess of any mall. A right mix of re­search and plan­ning, lo­ca­tion, de­sign, brand and cat­e­gory mix, cus­tomer centricity, and con­stantly re­fresh­ing and up­dat­ing the mall to stay ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion. We fo­cus a lot in per­son­al­i­sa­tion of ser­vices of­fered to cus­tomers.

What has Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity done in terms of in­no­va­tion and cus­tomer centricity?

It is im­por­tant to have some sort of dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion so that we rise above com­pe­ti­tion. We have a court­yard where we host a plethora of events, such as live con­certs by ac­claimed artists, and shop­ping fes­ti­vals.

We have re­cently launched a Phoenix Gift Card which of­fers cus­tomer abun­dance of choice for gift­ing.

At our cen­tre, we have al­ways used tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion in fa­vor of cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. The touch screen floor plans used at the mall, in­no­va­tive di­rec­tion sig­nages, themed dé­cor, art and am­bi­ence upgra­da­tion to meet ex­pec­ta­tions of our cus­tomers and re­tail­ers, are few fac­tors that dif­fer­en­ti­ate our mall from oth­ers.

Tell us about the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence, per­son­al­i­sa­tion, and in­tel­li­gent tech­nolo­gies Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity of­fers con­sumers?

The mall has dig­i­tal direc­to­ries at mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions to help our pa­trons to nav­i­gate. Our web­site is in­ter­ac­tive, user friendly, filled with

ev­ery pos­si­ble in­for­ma­tion a con­sumer needs. We are also very ac­tive on so­cial me­dia plat­forms, mak­ing sure that we draw in huge traf­fic and en­gage con­sumers on­line real time. To en­sure more con­sumer loy­alty, we have in­tro­duced a Phoenix Gift Card.

Apart from this, we of­fer per­son­alised ser­vices rang­ing from book­ing a cab, restau­rant reser­va­tion to bill pay­ments and a 24x7 ful­ly­loaded am­bu­lance. We are also equipped with high tech se­cu­rity sys­tems, night vi­sion IP based CCTV cam­eras, and of­fer con­sumers the fa­cil­ity to make park­ing pay­ments through dig­i­tal wal­let.

Let’s talk about your lo­ca­tion and zon­ing strate­gies…

When we were scout­ing for land to open Phoenix Mar­ketc­ity in Bengaluru, we looked for the fol­low­ing in the im­me­di­ate neigh­bor­hood – a com­mer­cial area sur­round­ing ma­jor IT Parks, high-end res­i­den­tial gated com­mu­ni­ties, ho­tels, and schools, so as to at­tract the de­sired pro­file of cus­tomers. Our devel­op­ment is now sur­rounded with pre­mium res­i­den­tial lay­outs and com­mer­cial of­fices, which forms a huge cap­tive catch­ment for the mall.

In as far as zon­ing goes, I feel it’s im­por­tant to de­velop cat­e­gory clus­ters that of­fer cus­tomers mul­ti­ple choices in the same prod­uct cat­e­gory. This not only helps in­crease rev­enues, but also helps in build­ing re­call value for a cus­tomer in a mall with over 300 stores. It at­tracts both fre­quent shop­pers and the oc­ca­sional im­pulse shop­pers and cre­ates a de­mand for the cat­e­gory lead­ers to be in the mall.

What are your views on Om­nichan­neli­sa­tion of malls in In­dia?

Om­nichan­nel re­quires a huge in­vest­ment, a well se­quenced road map of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and chan­nel in­te­gra­tion ini­tia­tives rooted in a deep un­der­stand­ing of cus­tomer be­hav­ior and re­lated eco­nom­ics. Cus­tomers don’t care about chan­nels of shop­ping, they are look­ing for shop­ping with ease and sim­plic­ity. We will cer­tainly go for it only once we are sure we want to walk this path.

Do you feel an F&B zone and hos­pi­tal­ity are im­por­tant in gen­er­at­ing foot­fall in malls?

A well-planned food court is like an an­chor that of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of din­ing op­tions in a ca­sual en­vi­ron­ment. Cat­e­gories like kids, en­ter­tain­ment and cin­ema, cou­pled with a food court makes for a very strong at­trac­tion point for con­sumers. Var­ied F&B for­mats in a mall re­sults in higher fre­quency of re­peat cus­tomer vis­its and longer time spent by them ev­ery visit. Cur­rently, food ser­vices take upto 15 per­cent of global re­tail space and could grow to 20 per­cent by 2025.

Then there is hos­pi­tal­ity, which is ever so im­por­tant as it makes con­sumers feel very cared for. From se­cu­rity guards greet­ing shop­pers with a smile, to ef­fi­cient and friendly house­keep­ers in rest rooms, ev­ery­one adds to the ex­pe­ri­ence. This is one of the main rea­sons we in­vest a lot in train­ing our staff.

Tell us about some other ini­tia­tives taken at your end to keep the foot­falls rolling?

Other than re­fresh­ing our brand mix, our key fo­cus area is to en­hance the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence for the en­tire fam­ily. As a re­sult, we are ex­pand­ing our en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas, adding var­ied food and bev­er­ages op­tions. We have re­cently in­vested to en­hance the sen­so­rial ex­pe­ri­ence by adding fra­grance ar­chi­tec­ture, have up­graded our mall in­te­ri­ors; we in­vest in dec­o­ra­tion and art. We also host a va­ri­ety of events like high-end fash­ion shows, mu­si­cal con­certs, shop­ping fes­ti­vals and much more. These ini­tia­tives have helped the cen­ter be­come a holis­tic ur­ban life­style con­sump­tion desti­na­tion.

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