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East In­dia’s mall de­vel­op­ers on the grow­ing cul­ture of shop­ping malls and lux­ury brand trends which are at­tract­ing con­sumers as well as for­eign in­vestors to the re­gion…

Re­tail is ris­ing in the East. What was un­think­able up un­til a decade ago has now be­come a re­al­ity. To­day, cus­tomers be­long­ing to a di­verse mi­lieu are mak­ing a beeline for malls – to look, touch, feel, buy, and revel in the ex­pe­ri­ence of a com­mu­nity hub. The avail­abil­ity of high-end na­tional and in­ter­na­tional prod­ucts is mak­ing the lure of the mall all the more ir­re­sistible for the Eastern pop­u­lace. The de­sire for shop­ping is not re­stricted only to the high and the elite group but has now fi­nally trick­led down to the as­pir­ing mid­dle class. The or­gan­ised sec­tor’s growth po­ten­tial has in­creased due to chang­ing life­styles of con­sumers, high con­sumer spend­ing ca­pac­ity of the young pop­u­la­tion, and sharp rise in dis­pos­able in­comes. Apart from metro cities there is a rad­i­cal shift wit­nessed in con­sump­tion pat­tern in smaller towns with peo­ple mov­ing be­yond ne­ces­si­ties and buy­ing prod­ucts tagged as life­style lux­ury item. The de­mand is shoot­ing up as for­eign brands are bet­ting on In­dia’s $600-bil­lion re­tail mar­ket.

The In­dian con­sumer mar­ket has seen a sig­nif­i­cant growth post-re­ces­sion era and as a re­sult, the en­tire coun­try – in­clud­ing the East – is wit­ness­ing huge num­ber of shop­ping malls and com­plexes com­ing up. The in­vestors and de­vel­op­ers are lin­ing up, and a huge amount of for­eign cap­i­tal is flow­ing into the re­gion, giv­ing off­line re­tail­ers a rea­son to come up with new stores and im­ple­ment new tech­nol­ogy. And malls are in­creas­ingly turn­ing to the so­cial me­dia to step up their game. Although tra­di­tion­al­ists may think the In­ter­net is the worst enemy of the mall – a brick-and-mor­tar bas­tion – this could not be far­ther than the truth. Malls are tak­ing the best of both worlds – off­line and on­line and blend­ing them into a win­ning propo­si­tion to en­hance the con­sumer’s shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.

Malls are us­ing so­cial me­dia to en­gage vis­i­tors when they are not in the mall – of­fers, pro­mo­tions, con­tests, polls, cus­tomised of­fers, gift ideas, tar­geted ad­ver­tise­ments based on real time in­tel­li­gence and lo­ca­tion-based mar­ket­ing and of course in­for­ma­tion, ev­ery­thing is avail­able to con­sumers, draw­ing them to the mall, mak­ing them want to visit again. Malls are also in­creas­ingly turn­ing Om­nichan­nel, mak­ing use of the con­sumer’s smart­phone to at­tract him/her in. In short, smart malls of the East are us­ing dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy to heighten their unique value propo­si­tions.

De­spite the up­swing in the mall sce­nario in the East, a lot still needs to be done to en­sure that shop­ping cen­tres pros­per in the re­gion. Good gov­ern­ment poli­cies, more in­no­va­tion in terms of in­cor­po­rat­ing value-added el­e­ments, meld­ing re­tail and en­ter­tain­ment in one gi­ant com­mu­nity hub, and us­ing the dig­i­tal me­dia to at­tract foot­falls – all need to be worked upon.

More plan­ning, bet­ter iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of needs, qual­ity prod­ucts at af­ford­able prices, a per­fect store mix – all these fac­tors still need re­fine­ment to en­sure the suc­cess of malls and the shop­ping cen­tre in­dus­try in East In­dia.

4. Ari­jit Chat­ter­jee, COO, Junc­tion Mall 4.

8. Sahil Sa­haria, CEO, Ben­gal Shristi In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Ltd. 8.

3. Priyank Sing­ha­nia, Di­rec­tor, Av­inash De­vel­op­ers Pvt Ltd. 3.

7. Bishnu Ku­mar Agar­wal, Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Adarsh Heights Pri­vate Ltd 7.

2. Su­nil Agrawal, CEO, Prakash Jha Pro­duc­tions 2.

6. Shan­tanu Lahiri, Chief Ad­vi­sor, JD Hi Street 6.

1. 1. Sanjeev Mehra, Vice Pres­i­dent, Quest Prop­er­ties In­dia Ltd.

5. 5. Amit Tekri­wal, Di­rec­tor, Amit Re­alty Pri­vate Ltd

9. 9. Pu­ru­raj Dutt, Vice Pres­i­dent- Re­alty Divi­sion, Pa­harpur Cool­ing Tow­ers Ltd.

IM­AGES Re­tail Bu­reau spoke to ma­jor mall de­vel­op­ers from the east to find out how the re­tail land­scape of the re­gion is chang­ing, why the grow­ing in­flu­ence of dig­i­tal me­dia in re­tail is not all bad news for malls and how they are trans­form­ing the con­sumer’s ex­pe­ri­ence by lever­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy and mul­ti­chan­nel strate­gies.

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