Top ten malls with the best non-profit cam­paigns in In­dia

Touted as In­dia’s largest des­ti­na­tion in Home & In­te­ri­ors today and now get­ting big on food and en­ter­tain­ment too, Ishanya is home to more than 80 na­tional and in­ter­na­tional brands in var­i­ous for­mats spread across nearly 4 lakh square feet of space.

Shopping Center News - - CONTENTS - By Namita Bha­gat

A look at the top top 10 malls that im­pressed with their Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity ac­tiv­i­ties in 2016-17

Pune’s Ishanya Mall is a pi­o­neer­ing and oneof-its-kind con­cept mall for Home In­te­ri­ors and De­sign in In­dia. A ven­ture of Deepak Fer­tilis­ers and Petro­chem­i­cals Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (DFPCL), Ishanya was es­tab­lished some 10 years ago with an ob­jec­tive of mak­ing the joy of home­mak­ing come alive. Over time, the shop­ping cen­tre has ex­panded to in­clude food & bev­er­age and en­ter­tain­ment cat­e­gories as well, be­sides home life­style – of­fer­ing a dif­fer­en­ti­ated cat­e­gory mix that is atyp­i­cal to a con­ven­tional mall.

Touted as In­dia’s largest des­ti­na­tion in home and in­te­ri­ors today and now get­ting big on food and en­ter­tain­ment too, Ishanya is a home to more than 80 na­tional and in­ter­na­tional brands in var­i­ous for­mats spread across nearly 4 lakh square feet of space.

In a can­did con­ver­sa­tion with Shop­ping Cen­tre News, Ma­hesh M,CEO of Ishanya, Mall, spoke on the post GST sce­nario, evolv­ing In­dian re­tail land­scape, chal­lenges in brick-and-mor­tar re­tail, and the way ahead. Excerpts from the con­ver­sa­tion…

The GST 2017 has been wel­comed by (al­most) all sec­tions of the In­dian busi­ness fra­ter­nity. Please share your over­view of GST and its im­pact on the coun­try’s re­tail sec­tor.

For quite a while now, mul­ti­ple in­di­rect tax leg­is­la­tions have been in vogue and led to sig­nif­i­cant com­pli­ance and ad­min­is­tra­tive costs, clas­si­fi­ca­tion and val­u­a­tion dis­putes and more of­ten than not im­paired the ease of do­ing the busi­ness. The afore­said is­sues seem to have been ad­dressed to a large ex­tent with the in­tro­duc­tion of Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST). As one can ob­serve, it tries to mit­i­gate cas­cad­ing or dou­ble tax­a­tion is­sues, elim­i­nate state bound­aries, and con­se­quently, bring down the over­all cost of pro­duc­tion of goods.

With re­gard to re­tail, space rentals are one of the main costs of re­tail stores and at­tracts ser­vice tax at 15 per­cent. Cur­rently, the re­tail­ers can­not set off these costs like the other in­dus­tries. Now they also prob­a­bly will be able to claim In­put Tax Credit (ITC) un­der GST.

On another com­pletely dif­fer­ent an­gle, se­lec­tion of man­u­fac­tur­ing lo­ca­tion, ware­hous­ing lo­ca­tion and its size, ven­dor part­ner, etc, which were hither to largely as­sessed con­sid­er­ing levy of State Taxes more minutely while com­pared to as­pects such as op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies or the like, a relook is prompted thanks to GST.

The re­tail sec­tor will have its post-natal pangs, given the na­ture of trans­ac­tions and the length of the sup­ply chain. For con­sumers, trans­parency and con­sis­tency will be long-term ben­e­fits while short­term pains could ex­ist.

Can you tell us about any spe­cific chal­lenges that you have en­coun­tered with the new tax sys­tem?

There are ini­tial bot­tle­necks in data map­ping, sys­tem con­fig­u­ra­tion, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of in­voices for set-off GST readi­ness of our sup­pli­ers, in­crease in the num­ber of re­turns to be filed, etc. These could well be teething is­sues or deeper – we will be able to com­ment once we go through two quar­ters of trans­ac­tions and re­turns fil­ing.

What is your ob­ser­va­tion on the cus­tomer pay­ments sce­nario – is dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions in­creas­ingly be­com­ing a pre­ferred mode of pay­ment nowa­days?

We haven’t ac­tu­ally seen a sig­nif­i­cant change or shift in mode of pay­ments. This is prob­a­bly be­cause, be­ing an or­gan­ised re­tailer and deal­ing with dis­cre­tionary pur­chases, we have al­ways had a huge chunk of credit and debit card pay­ments. There has been a mar­ginal in­crease though.

The In­dian re­tail sce­nario is trans­form­ing dras­ti­cally on all counts: faster pace, con­sumer de­mand and habits, brand avail­abil­ity, prod­uct as­sort­ments and of­fer­ings, tech­nol­ogy-driven sell­ing and buy­ing process, in­ten­si­fied com­pe­ti­tion, reg­u­la­tory and pol­icy changes, etc. What are your views on the cur­rent phase?

While we would all like to em­brace change, and talk about the pace of change, the role of tech­nol­ogy, chang­ing con­sumer be­hav­iour and mar­ket forces at work, I think the fun­da­men­tals of re­tail re­main quite rooted in seek­ing more value and sat­is­fac­tion. The shift has hap­pened in terms of prox­im­ity to in­for­ma­tion, peer-to-peer re­views and the ris­ing om­nichan­nel trend.

Re­tail­ers may need to have a rel­e­vant and sus­tain­able om­nichan­nel strat­egy rather than be one more rat in the race, due to mar­ket pres­sures. Even the reg­u­la­tory frame­work should match the pace of change and dura­bil­ity in our con­text in­stead of aim­ing to be pre­scrip­tive or con­tend­ing with west­ern and much more de­vel­oped mar­kets.

So, how can the brick-and-mor­tar re­tail­ers keep up with the chang­ing re­tail­ing land­scape and find room for fur­ther growth?

Mov­ing up the learn­ing curve of Om­nichan­nel re­tail­ing, phys­i­cal re­tail­ers need to fo­cus a lot more on the in-store ex­pe­ri­ence given to cus­tomers. Noth­ing else will help them dif­fer­en­ti­ate with their on­line coun­ter­parts or their own on­line chan­nel. Tech­nol­ogy is an en­abler that needs to be har­nessed in­side the store quite ex­ten­sively and in­tel­li­gently for a su­pe­rior ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fun­da­men­tal con­sumer ex­pec­ta­tions haven’t changed, only their buy­ing process is a lit­tle more com­plex than ear­lier, so phys­i­cal re­tail­ers need to stay fo­cused on the ex­pe­ri­ence quo­tient and drive their growth.

In the US, many ma­jor re­tail­ers and malls are strug­gling on ac­count of sky-high op­er­at­ing costs, de­clin­ing cus­tomer foot­falls, grow­ing in­flu­ence of e-com­merce, etc. Do you think the In­dian brickand-mor­tar re­tail­ers and mall op­er­a­tors should also be anx­ious?

We al­ways tend to com­pare the West­ern phe­nom­e­non while it would be more rel­e­vant to look at Asian equiv­a­lents. Chi­nese malls are scal­ing rapidly, Thai­land and Malaysia have a fast-grow­ing mall cul­ture – these mar­kets also have ex­po­nen­tially grow­ing e-com­merce, re­tail rentals are also es­ca­lat­ing, but growth fu­els growth and I be­lieve that we must closely watch and ob­serve these mar­kets as ref­er­ence mark­ers. West­ern ex­am­ples are good for “let’s be cau­tious” but Asian mar­kets help a de­vel­op­ing re­tail sec­tor such as ours to think “let’s look for po­ten­tial growth lev­els”.

In­dia’s mod­ern re­tail is es­sen­tially based on the west­ern model. How, ac­cord­ing to you, the In­dian re­tail­ers need to re­think, rein­vent them­selves to sur­vive and thrive in the long run?

While our In­dian re­tail mod­els are in­flu­enced heav­ily by the West, as I men­tioned ear­lier, we must look East­wards and un­der­stand how their mar­kets are re­spond­ing, grow­ing or chang­ing. Sec­ondly, I firmly be­lieve that we mustn’t get ruf­fled with too many winds of change be­cause they only lead to tem­po­rary spikes of suc­cess, rather we must do more of what we are do­ing – get­ting our back of the house strength­ened, mar­gin mod­els tweaked for sus­tain­abil­ity, cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence cre­ation as a way of life and other such pil­lars of growth.

Tech­nol­ogy as a growth lever should be utilised use­fully and not overindulged in. Sus­tain­able com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage is a func­tion of su­pe­rior cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, dif­fer­en­ti­ated prod­uct of­fer­ing and gen­uine re­la­tion­ships.

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