The Great India Place & Gar­dens Gal­le­ria: Trans­form­ing the Way Noida shops

Since its launch in 2007, The Great India Place has trans­formed the way Noida shops. Be­ing the first av­enue for large scale or­gan­ised re­tail in the state, the mall has been able to stay far ahead of com­pe­ti­tion across the city…

Shopping Center News - - CONTENTS - By Charu Lamba

En­ter­tain­ment City in Noida is one-stop FEC zone as it com­prises of the best in en­ter­tain­ment at­trac­tions in­clud­ing two malls- The Great India Place and Gar­dens Gal­le­ria - with some of the best brands in India, Worlds of Won­der amuse­ment and wa­ter parks, the Won­der Speed­way gokart­ing track, Kidza­nia, PlayBox, Appu Ghar. Apart from this there is a stand­alone De­cathlon store and a drive through McDon­ald’s. The en­tire com­plex – dubbed En­ter­tain­ment City Lim­ited (ECL) – is a joint ven­ture be­tween Unitech Group and In­ter­na­tional Amuse­ment Lim­ited that owns and op­er­ates ECL in Noida.

Since its launch in 2007, The Great India Place (TGIP) has trans­formed the way Noida shops. Be­ing the rst av­enue for large scale or­gan­ised re­tail in the state, the mall has been able to stay far ahead of com­pe­ti­tion across the city. In a bid to repli­cate the success story of TGIP, Gar­dens Gal­le­ria was launched in ECL two years. The USP of ECL is that it is high-tech,and this is one of the main rea­sons why it at­tracts Mil­len­ni­als. In an exclusive in­ter­view with Shop­ping Cen­tre News, Mahim Singh, Mall Head, Gar­dens Gal­le­ria and The

Great India Place talks about the jour­ney of both the malls, the con­ver­sion to a fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment cen­tre and the need to pro­vide an im­pec­ca­ble ex­pe­ri­ence to Mil­len­ni­als, as well as ev­ery vis­i­tor to ECL.

Ex­cerpts from the exclusive chat…

De­scribe the jour­ney of both the malls - The Great India Place and Gar­dens Gal­le­ria. What were the chal­lenges and dif­fi­cul­ties – from real es­tate to tech­nol­ogy – that you had to face when you came up?

The Great India Place was an out of the world project that peo­ple were ac­tu­ally wait­ing for. It opened its doors to the pub­lic more than 10 years ago in 2007. Tech­nol­ogy was still very nascent then. There wasn’t any such com­mu­nity place or mall in Noida where peo­ple could spend leisure time with their loved ones and so, there were no such chal­lenges that TGIP faced when it came up. As soon as the mall opened the doors for the pub­lic, we saw a flood of peo­ple com­ing in. It has been a flag­ship prop­erty ever since. Even to­day TGIP en­joys one of the largest daily foot­falls in the coun­try of close to 1.25 lakh peo­ple ev­ery day.

On the other hand, Gar­dens Gal­le­ria is a high-tech mall. We didn’t face too many chal­lenges since the mall is well-equipped with lat­est tech­nol­ogy. Within a span of two years, Gar­dens Gal­le­ria has be­come the so­cial hub of Delhi-NCR.

Let’s talk in­no­va­tion – both tech and in-store. What have TGIP and Gar­dens Gal­le­ria done in this eld and what are you plan­ning over the next one year to keep con­sumers com­ing in?

We be­lieve in do­ing the ba­sics right. We be­lieve that ev­ery act of ours should make the place more cur­rent, rel­e­vant and all-in­clu­sive for our pa­trons. That de­fines in­no­va­tion for us. If you talk about in­no­va­tion, we just came up with Fu­sion - the en­ter­tain­ment zone - at The Great India Place, spread across 8,705 sq.ft. area with more than 30 rides, in­clud­ing bumper car, ar­cade games, pro­jec­tor games, pool table and much more to en­ter­tain peo­ple of all ages. Fu­sion comes with an ex­cit­ing re­demp­tion counter that makes sure ev­ery­one who plays in the FEC gets some gift to take back home even if they win as min­i­mum as 10 tick­ets. The plan was to change the prej­u­dice peo­ple have for FECs. Fu­sion is highly equipped with dig­i­tal games and gives peo­ple a breath­tak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

We are try­ing hard to make Gar­dens Gal­le­ria a tech-heaven. We have just launched VR Unreal, the next level Vir­tual Re­al­ity Gam­ing Zone. It is spread across 3,364 sq.ft. area with n num­ber of games to en­ter­tain peo­ple of all ages. Through VR Unreal, we plan to change the prej­u­dice peo­ple have for vir­tual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ence. VR Unreal is highly equipped with dig­i­tal games and gives peo­ple a breath­tak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Not just this, we have brands like Gant, Cen­tral, Star­bucks and are plan­ning to come up with many more that are bound to change the way peo­ple shop.

Tell us about phy­gi­tal ex­pe­ri­ences, per­son­al­i­sa­tion strate­gies, and in­tel­li­gent tech­nolo­gies that TGIP and Gar­dens Gal­le­ria of­fer its con­sumers?

We aim to com­pletely equip TGIP with dig­i­tal di­rec­to­ries very soon. Peo­ple can share and lo­cate any store within the mall through these. We are also plan­ning on launch­ing a chat­bot so that cus­tomers can get im­me­di­ate de­tails on the lat­est of­fers, launches and can even get as­sis­tance on a click when needed. The en­tire mall has free Wi for our cus­tomers. There are mul­ti­ple LED screens present at the mall that keep the pa­trons up­dated about the lat­est hap­pen­ings in the mall’s premises, on­go­ing of­fers and up­com­ing events. That’s not all, some larger than life screens also avail­able in the plaza area that keep peo­ple en­ter­tained.

Gar­dens Gal­le­ria is the per­fect ex­am­ple of a mod­ern-day mall – it has lav­ish in­te­ri­ors, won­der­ful hang­out spots, a plaza area with huge screens, high-tech dig­i­tal di­rec­to­ries avail­able on all floors that help peo­ple lo­cate stores, and mul­ti­ple LED screens present at the mall that keep the pa­trons up­dated about the lat­est hap­pen­ings in the mall’s premises, on­go­ing of­fers, up­com­ing events and more. We aim to en­sure our pa­trons take home more than just a visit.

You’re ob­vi­ously do­ing a lot to keep your con­sumers en­gaged. Tell us more about how your shop­ping mall’s cus­tomer-cen­tric­ity ideas are dif­fer­ent from oth­ers.

TGIP is a her­itage when it comes to malls in Delhi and Noida. We are known for be­ing a part of our cus­tomer’s mem­o­ries. Our fo­cus is more on the ex­pe­ri­ence that we give our pa­trons to take home and we have been work­ing re­ally hard to im­ple­ment the vi­sion. We or­ga­nize some activity or the other ev­ery week that not only keeps our cus­tomers en­gaged but also pro­vide them with some great dis­counts and give­aways. In fact, dur­ing our feed­back drives we found many cus­tomers are vis­it­ing us reg­u­larly from last 10 years and call TGIP as their sec­ond home. Peo­ple have praised the hos­pi­tal­ity they re­ceive here and how easy it is to lo­cate any store in the mall even af­ter the place be­ing so huge. We have been spot­ting many celebri­ties vis­it­ing the mall fre­quently.

Gar­dens Gal­le­ria is the per­fect ex­am­ple of a mod­ern-day mall – it has lav­ish in­te­ri­ors, won­der­ful hang­out spots, a plaza area with huge screens, high­tech dig­i­tal di­rec­to­ries avail­able on all floors that help peo­ple lo­cate stores, and mul­ti­ple LED screens present at the mall that keep the pa­trons up­dated about the lat­est hap­pen­ings in the mall’s premises, on­go­ing of­fers, up­com­ing events and more.

Gar­dens Gal­le­ria, on the other hand, is a so­cial her­itage among malls in Delhi and Noida. We are strongly be­com­ing the place peo­ple look for­ward to go­ing to to cel­e­brate the spe­cial oc­ca­sions in their lives. The mall has on of­fer the lat­est of ev­ery­thing – fash­ion, books, elec­tron­ics, well­ness op­tions, and home fur­nish­ings. We also fo­cus on or­gan­is­ing weekly ac­tiv­i­ties to en­sure con­sumer en­gage­ment stays con­stant, along with some great deals, dis­counts and give­aways.

We also or­gan­ise so­cial events like per­for­mances by fa­mous bands, celebrity vis­its, fash­ion shows, meet and greet, marathons etc. from time to time. Apart from this, we are very ac­tive on so­cial me­dia. We run con­tests and many other en­gag­ing con­tents that at­tracts peo­ple. TGIP is a hotspot for celebrity en­gage­ment. Many movie stars come to TGIP to an­nounce the re­lease of their next lm.

To con­tin­u­ously strive to re­main rel­e­vant, ex­cit­ing and cur­rent is the key. We are where we are be­cause of the ex­pe­ri­ence that we pro­vide peo­ple to take home when they visit us.

In­ter­na­tional brands share the ma­jor lime­light in the malls. Do you think home­grown brands should be also be given more space and value?

Home­grown brands are very im­por­tant. Take for ex­am­ple TGIP, which has ma­jor­ity of brands that are home­grown in­clud­ing Big Bazaar, Life­style, Pan­taloons, Shop­pers Stop or Re­liance Trends. And home­grown brands do ex­tremely well for us in terms of foot­falls and num­bers.

Tell us about your brand mix.

TGIP is a per­fect blend of var­i­ous kind of brands avail­able un­der one roof. For men’s fash­ion, women’s western wear, eth­nic wear, sports­wear, footwear to health & beauty, food court, and other ea­ter­ies, we have it all sorted pretty well. The Great India Place is a com­plete fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment with more than 258 brand stores and 10+ an­chor stores to meet all the needs of a mod­ern con­sumer. It is a con­tem­po­rary, vivid re­tail ar­cade that of­fers an ab­so­lute shop­ping ec­stasy. It houses a va­ri­ety of re­tail out­lets in­clud­ing Shop­per’s Stop, Life­style, Max, Trends, Globus, Pan­taloons, Big Bazaar, Home Town, Monte Carlo, Wood­land, Life­style and Home Cen­tre, along with in­ter­na­tional brands like adi­das, Nike, Marks & Spencer, Skech­ers and many more. It also of­fers a mul­ti­plex by Car­ni­val Cin­e­mas and a well laid out food court.

Gar­dens Gal­le­ria is a per­fect blend of var­i­ous kind of brands avail­able un­der one roof. For men’s fash­ion, women’s western wear, eth­nic wear, sports­wear, footwear to health and beauty, food court, and other ea­ter­ies, we have it all sorted pretty well. It is home to some of the best shop­ping, F&B and en­ter­tain­ment brands in Delhi-NCR. It houses one of the best Star­bucks in Noida. It has Cen­tral, West­side, Globus, Pan­taloons Women, Hypercity, Croma as an­chors. It has a well spread out food court and some of the best resto-bars, lounges and spe­cial­ity cui­sine restau­rants in Noida. It is home to Im­per­fecto, Time Ma­chine, Tito’s Noida, TC Café, Smoke Fac­tory, Laat Saab, Bo­hemia, Chaayos, Café Cof­fee Day, Bo­hemia, Dunkin Donuts, Jok­ers to name a few. A 16-screen stand­alone mul­ti­plex from Inox is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion. It also houses a ve-star ho­tel, from the 4th to the 7th floor with a rooftop swim­ming pool, which will be op­er­a­tional soon.

What are the new brands that you have re­cently in­tro­duced?

At TGIP, in the past few months we have wel­comed Min­iso - a va­ri­ety store chain, Power by Bata - the

rst ever exclusive store in the world, Ad­mi­ral - a Bri­tish owned footwear brand and many such brands in the mall. Also, some of the store launches are un­der­way.

At Gar­dens Gal­le­ria, we have wel­comed Best of Brands - the store where you can nd mul­ti­ple brands in one store, Tito’s Noida - the most looked-af­ter Goan club, Spell­bound - the rst ever Mugh­lai restau­rant that cooks food without us­ing curd and wa­ter and VR Unreal - the rst ever Vir­tual Re­al­ity gam­ing zone in Delhi-NCR, and many such brands in the mall.

Is there a need for Om­nichan­neli­sa­tion of malls? Your views.

A shift can de nitely be seen in the way peo­ple shop. E-com­merce mar­ket is still un­der 10 per­cent in India. The brick-and-mor­tar re­tail story is still very strong in our coun­try. Steadily peo­ple are mov­ing to­wards buy­ing from the com­fort of their homes, but the on­line shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence comes with its own chal­lenges. Last mile de­liv­ery is­sues, re­turns, size mis­match, colour mis­match are all too com­mon.

Such ideas like click-and­col­lect should ac­tu­ally work in the long run if you see it from the cus­tomer’s per­spec­tive. It can of­ten make the shop­ping jour­ney more con­ve­nient for con­sumers: mak­ing a pur­chase from the com­fort of their own home, and trial/ col­lect­ing the item when­ever is most con­ve­nient for them, in­stead of pay­ing for ship­ping and not be­ing in to take de­liv­ery of the item or wait­ing for their de­liv­ery to ar­rive. We are also ex­plor­ing var­i­ous av­enues on these lines and very soon will come out with our exclusive of­fer­ing for cus­tomers.

Are you also en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble? What are the key eco­log­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions that you kept in mind while build­ing the mall?

We pro­mote nat­u­ral light­ing in the mall, and we have used paints that are en­vi­ron­ment-friendly. ECL has a large num­ber of trees planted across the prop­erty and we con­tinue to in­crease that num­ber. We also work on wa­ter con­ser­va­tion in the re­strooms and in other parts of the prop­erty as well.

Are you also into CSR ac­tiv­i­ties?

We have been sup­port­ing var­i­ous NGOs work­ing in the eld of blood do­na­tion, child care, AIDS aware­ness, can­cer aware­ness, ed­u­ca­tion of the girl child etc. We have sup­ported many phys­i­cally chal­lenged artists to dis­play and sell their art in the mall. Apart from this we have also been do­ing many CSR ac­tiv­i­ties like yoga day aware­ness and cel­e­bra­tion, blood do­na­tion camps, tree plan­ta­tion drives and many more such ac­tiv­i­ties ev­ery now and then.

Elab­o­rate on the im­por­tance of food courts and the role F&B plays in gen­er­at­ing foot­fall in malls?

Malls roll around the con­cept of ev­ery­thing un­der one roof. F&B joints have played a ma­jor role in gen­er­at­ing foot­fall. There are peo­ple who spe­cially visit malls for their crav­ings. Re­vamped to­wards en­ter­tain­ment and ren­o­vated for ease and com­fort, food courts are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing resur­gence. Whether it’s pro­vid­ing rest for weary feet, sat­is­fy­ing a sweet tooth or en­sur­ing that shop­pers max­imise their spend­ing, food courts are be­com­ing more than just eat­ing houses. At TGIP and Gar­dens Gal­le­ria, the eatery range varies from North In­dian to South In­dian to Ital­ian to Cafes to Clubs & Lounges and what not.

What is the im­por­tance and ben­e­fit of be­ing a Fam­ily En­ter­tain­ing Cen­tre (FEC) in­stead of a mall.

Malls are no more just about the re­tail stores and F&B out­lets. En­ter­tain­ment is the heart and soul of com­mu­ni­ties, the foun­da­tion of re­tail economies, and a so­cial sanc­tu­ary for fam­i­lies and kids ev­ery­where. With a change in the way malls are now op­er­at­ing, a fo­cus shift can be seen from only re­tail ear­lier to in­clud­ing en­ter­tain­ment too now. One of the ma­jor rea­sons peo­ple choose vis­it­ing malls over mar­kets is that they can shop, eat and en­joy all at one place. This rev­o­lu­tion in the mall in­dus­try is not only bene cial for malls as they at­tract more foot­falls but also for the cus­tomers as they are able to avail all fa­cil­i­ties un­der one roof.

We pro­mote nat­u­ral light­ing in the mall, and we have used paints that are en­vi­ron­ment­friendly. ECL has a large num­ber oftrees planted across the prop­erty and we con­tinue to in­crease that num­ber.

Tell us about the role that hos­pi­tal­ity plays in gen­er­at­ing foot­falls?

We have a world-class hos­pi­tal­ity for our val­ued pa­trons. Be it the staff at the In­for­ma­tion Desk or the guards avail­able in and around the mall, ev­ery­one is so well-trained when it comes to mak­ing cus­tomers feel homely. Peo­ple are greeted when they en­ter and if they face any prob­lem dur­ing their visit, some­one is al­ways avail­able to help them out. In fact, we keep or­gan­is­ing such train­ing ses­sions for our staff from time to time.

What does the fu­ture of re­tail hold for the malls of to­mor­row?

Gone are the days when malls were only about shop­ping and ev­ery­thing else came at sec­ond place. We are mov­ing to­wards the Shop­ping Mall ver­sion 2.0 where malls are not just high-end re­tail des­ti­na­tions but com­mu­nity hubs for meet­ing, so­cial­is­ing and un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ences with re­tail, gam­ing, en­ter­tain­ment, F&B, and re­lax­ation all rolled into one solid of­fer­ing.

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