The COVID-19 outbreak caused major disruption as the country went into a sudden lockdown on March 25, 2020, to contain and prepare for the pandemic, bringing most business activity to a grinding halt. Public places including malls and shopping centres were shut, which impacted the industry significantly.
Since June, the economy has been reopening gradually but the business environment across sectors has been altered drastically and irrevocably. Profiles, behavior, and needs of consumers have undergone a sea change, the macroeconomic situation is vastly different, work-from-home and other factors have led to large-scale migration of workers, policies are evolving to meet the current needs, and much more, all this with an undercurrent of uncertainty.
And keeping up with this shift, Viviana Mall, one of the leading shopping centres, has been reworking its business model, coming up with strategies to provide a safe and convenient shopping environment while staying competitive and relevant to its patrons even during the times of pandemic.
Ensuring Safe Environment
For Viviana Mall, the safety of its patrons, staff, and retail partners comes foremost. The mall believes it is important to not only comply with the standard operating procedures drafted by the Shopping Centres Association of India but also take additional measures in its capacity to ensure the highest possible standards of safety and convenience to all.
A step in this direction was a survey that Viviana Mall undertook during lockdown to interact with the consumers and understand their sentiments towards reopening of the mall. The idea was to get insights into their expectations and behavior on various parameters such as shopping and safety measures. This has helped Viviana Mall in ensuring that it can provide a safe shopping experience. The mall has even moved all its on-ground events and activities to online mode by using its social media page to engage with the customers.
Social Media Campaigns
A social media campaign, #EkNayaKadam, was initiated with an aim to instill confidence among the patrons. It highlighted that the mall has been taking utmost precautions to make it a safe place for shoppers, retailers, and employees. Various videos showcasing hygiene and sanitisation processes being undertaken by the mall were shared too. Also, the steps being followed for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, social distancing, and effective crowd management through the deployment of additional staff have been communicated.
Viviana Mall has installed a sanitisation tunnel and UV boxes to disinfect the bags at the entrance. Use of ArogyaSetu App, masks, and sanitiser is mandatory. Unidirectional stickers have been placed on the floor to maintain the flow of shoppers inside the premises. Elevators are allowed only for expectant mothers, injured or differently-abled people. Alternate steps have been marked on escalators. All the safety and sanitation processes adopted by Viviana Mall are gold standards certified by London-based RSM Astute Consulting.
For another core business area that draws a lot of customers but is among the most impacted due to the pandemic, the food, and beverages segment, Viviana Mall took all the measures to bring back normalcy in a safe and controlled environment. To provide the shoppers with a safe dining experience, the seating arrangement is now reduced to 50 percent of the total dine-in capacity. UV sanitisation boxes are installed for sanitising the service trays and crockery. Moreover, QR codes have been placed on dining tables for visitors to access the menus, place their orders, and make payments.
Thanks to all these steps undertaken, Viviana Mall received an encouraging response from the shoppers within a short span after resuming its operations earlier in September. Increased demand for products across segments like apparel, electronics, household essentials, and lifestyle products encouraged the mall to come up with several discounts and offers too.
Festive Season: Demand Galore
For the festive period that soon followed, the mall organised a pre-festival flat 50 percent sale that received astounding feedback in terms of footfalls and sales. Unlike every year, the celebrations this time began much earlier than before. And knowing that even Diwali would see the emergence of a ‘New Normal’, the mall made sure that it went beyond the routine offers and sales to encourage the patrons to shop and have a memorable experience.
The mall rolled out #DiwaliYourWay campaign on its social media to brighten up the spirit of the consumers, boost their morale amid these tough times, and also invoke the feeling of self-love among them. A month-long ‘Shop N Win’ contest was held at the mall as a part of Diwali celebrations. It provided the shoppers with an opportunity to register for a lucky draw. During the offer period, on a daily basis, the mall gifted gold coins as a part of the ‘Shop N Win’ takeaway. On the last day of the contest, a final mega lucky draw was held in which one lucky winner bagged a brand-new Hyundai Venue car as a bumper gift from Viviana Mall.
And now, Viviana Mall is all set to kickstart its Christmas and New Year celebrations. As seen earlier during Dussehra and Diwali festive sales, brand partners of the mall are likely to shower shoppers with various offers and sales this time too. With the winter season setting in, consumers are expected to get back into shopping mode and help drive demand for categories such as winter wear.
Viviana Mall stepped up to the challenges thrown by the pandemic. In return, it has been rewarded with customer loyalty and support that makes the mall optimistic about meeting the expectations of its patrons and attaining sales targets in the near future.