Nirzar Jain, Oberoi Mall

Point of Purchase - - CONTENTS - As told to Fairy Dharawat

There are malls and there are more malls. In­deed, if there’s one thing that de­fines the chang­ing In­dian re­tail-scape and shop­ping sce­nario in the coun­try then it has to be the mall, a near ubiq­ui­tous for­mat to­day cater­ing to the dis­cern­ing In­dian shop­per who seeks newer and more unique shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences. For a mall thus, the con­stant en­deav­our is to ex­plore newer ways of en­gag­ing the con­sumers/shop­pers and of­fer a pack­aged ex­pe­ri­ence com­bin­ing brand con­sump­tion with en­ter­tain­ment. In a chat with Point of Pur­chase, Nirzar Jain, VP-Oberoi Mall, Mum­bai, shares his thoughts on what makes them tick in this chal­leng­ing and highly com­pet­i­tive re­tail en­vi­ron­ment. Can you share some of your ex­pe­ri­ences in build­ing brand sat­is­fac­tion and in­creas­ing foot­falls?

The cus­tomer’s ex­pec­ta­tions from a brand change, es­pe­cially for a mall which is also viewed as community space. Oberoi Mall has been suc­cess­ful, pri­mar­ily be­cause of cater­ing to the shop­pers’ need and chang­ing as­pi­ra­tions, re­spond­ing to their need for in­ter­ac­tion and also lis­ten­ing to ev­ery­thing they have to say about the mall and its brands. Oberoi Mall was the first in the coun­try in terms of ini­tia­tives such as the 5050 – flash sale, Women’s Wed­nes­day, “As­sured prizes” on shop­ping, “Per­sonal shop­per” all which have made im­pres­sions that have not only gen­er­ated sat­is­fied cus­tomers but have also shown a healthy growth in foot­falls.

What does it take to re­tain and cap­ture shop­pers? Could you elab­o­rate based on your ex­pe­ri­ence?

In­dian shop­pers are very de­mand­ing, once the ba­sic hy­giene and am­bi­ence is in place they chal­lenge us to cre­ate events which are WOW and also ex­pect us to ex­e­cute the same ev­ery time. Other than the big events what the cus­tomer ac­tu­ally takes back home are smaller things like a po­lite se­cu­rity guard at the en­trance, the quick re­sponse and first aid given at the time of emer­gency, the wash­room for the hand­i­capped, and prompt wheel­chair fa­cil­ity for the dis­abled, spe­cial wash­room or feed­ing room for the Child or find­ing in­stant re­sponse to feed­back / griev­ance etc. In or­der to re­tain the cus­tomers and gain their loy­alty, they have to be made to feel spe­cial.

From your vast ex­pe­ri­ence in real es­tate and re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence what can you share about the shop­per of to­day? Can you pro­vide some de­tails on the chang­ing face of the shop­per and the types?

The typ­i­cal In­dian Shop­per is now younger and very as­pir­ing. They want the best of the brands and ser­vices at com­pet­i­tive price points. Al­though some shop­pers still pre­fer go­ing to their neigh­bour­hood store since they have been vis­it­ing the place for ages and the shop­keeper is more of a friend, many have made the tran­si­tion to malls and are now hooked onto the ‘cool’ mall cul­ture. They love the con­ve­nience, air­con­di­tioned com­fort, ex­cel­lent cus­tomer care, and, of course, the ever-present deals and pres­ence of all brands at one lo­ca­tion. Cus­tomer’s mind set with re­spect to malls has changed from it be­ing a place for shop­ping, to a provider of vi­brant community space, where they in­ter­act with friends and fam­ily. There is a gain­ing sense of own­er­ship about malls be­ing their space, with ev­ery­one hav­ing their list of favourite malls and things to do.

Could you tell us more about some of your in store ini­tia­tives such as ac­ti­va­tions, pro­mos etc. How have you seen this influence the shop­per? Any in­ter­est­ing case study you would like to share?

We give a lot of thought to not only at­tract­ing more foot­falls but also on the qual­ity of foot­falls. We closely mea­sure if the mall ac­ti­va­tions and pro­mo­tions have gen­er­ated more sales for our re­tail­ers. We have seen that our fo­cused ap­proach and an­nual cal­en­dar of ac­tiv­i­ties have dou­bled the re­tail turnover in the last 3-4 years. Our ini­tia­tive of “50-50”- sin­gle day flash sale, a first in the coun­try, now gen­er­ates al­most 12- 16% of the an­nual turnover of our re­tail­ers.

Oberoi mall has been known to house mul­ti­ple brands, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional, can you give some point­ers to shop­pers’ take on in­ter­na­tional brands. How are shop­pers re­spond­ing to mul­ti­ple in­ter­na­tional re­tail out­lets in In­dian space? Can you elab­o­rate on the same?

Con­sumers seem to value and ad­mire global brands and re­gard such brands as a sta­tus sym­bol. Con­sumers are likely to at­tribute a su­pe­rior qual­ity to the brand, since such qual­ity is thought of as a pre­req­ui­site for in­ter­na­tional ac­cep­tance. How­ever the In­dian Brands such as “Nalli Next”, “Cream Cen­tre”, “Jashn” etc continue to do ex­ceed­ingly well.

What is the kind of re­la­tion­ship you share with the brands who have the prod­ucts in your store? What is the syn­ergy you have with them and what are the chal­lenges you face from them?

We try and cre­ate a win-win sit­u­a­tion for the re­tail­ers as well as the mall, by in­volv­ing the re­tail­ers in most of the plans; in fact some of the ac­ti­va­tions like 50-50 flash sale are planned in com­plete co­or­di­na­tion with them. How­ever, the re­tail store / area man­agers are not em­pow­ered enough to take floor level de­ci­sions or de­cide on lo­cal store mar­ket­ing, which some­times cre­ates de­lays in ex­e­cu­tion and af­fects the ul­ti­mate de­liv­ery of ex­pe­ri­ence to shop­pers

Nirzar Jain VP - Oberoi Mall

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