How Expectations of Consumers and Retailers are Changing From Malls

When people come to the mall it is not always about buying, sometimes they want to indulge and experience which drives the sale of brands.
How Expectations of Consumers and Retailers are Changing From Malls

Covid-19 pandemic shook the entire world to the core with our foundation and structure crumbling down under immense pressure. Other than the physical aspects and implications of the pandemic on the population, there was a distinguished mental change in the outlook and perception as well.

With the disease wreaking havoc manifolds all over the world, a conscious shift in choices, decisions, and analysis was felt wherein, the focus on well-being and health drastically changed. This shift brought with it a positive change in terms of safety and health being of paramount importance and people consciously shifting towards a healthier, greener and purer alternative to everything, be it food, clothing, the shopping process, or their morning coffee!

“After the first lockdown people were hesitant as they were not sure how malls are kept but they saw malls have been maintained nicely, all the safety protocols are being followed. People came to buy quickly and went back. After the second lockdown, consumer behavior changed drastically, we had immense footfall despite us putting controlled visitors norm. They were spending more time in the mall. Now, people are coming to the mall, most of the sales have gone back to 90 percent. Overall, it’s good and we see a happier time in the future. We saw formal wear and multiple categories suffering but now everything is back to normal,” states Mukesh Kumar, CEO Chairman, Infiniti.

“When COVID was wearying down then too customers were apprehensive to spend much time in the mall. All services were always there, it has just picked up speed now. The mall has to adapt to the requests that come by, it does put some financial load on the mall but all this is a part of the business,” adds Rajendra Kalkar, President- West, High Street Phoenix.
 
When people come to the mall it is not always about buying, sometimes they want to indulge and experience which drives the sale of brands. When it is a standalone brand then the customer is coming from the hardcore purpose of buying. Post-COVID customers have become more specific. 

“We have our website and the price on our website and in stores are the same, giving customers an omnichannel experience. It depends on the product you want to buy, if you are buying a phone then probably you’ll order it online but if you want to buy a fridge or a washing machine then you’d want to see the machine physically before making a purchase,” states Sahil Kansal, Head of Property & franchising- Chroma, Infiniti Retail Ltd.

Neighborhood Malls

The concept of neighborhood malls is picking up in the metro cities. The neighborhood malls are comparatively smaller in size and are located in the vicinity of the households.
 
"A lot depends on the city you are in. Instead of counting kilometers, it's better to take into count how much a person is willing to drive to buy a certain product. We are largely in Tier-II and Tier-III cities where people are comfortable driving for 25-30 minutes to visit a big mall. People are willing to visit neighborhood malls as well. Neighborhood malls are more successful in big cities than small cities. In small cities, regional centers are more popular,” asserts Bipin Gurnani, President & CEO, Prozone Intu Property Ltd.
 
“The size is not a factor for malls. It depends on the catchment of how much people can spend in that city. The size of the mall depends on the spending power of the city. Smaller malls are not an issue for developers because there are many such malls doing well,” adds Kalkar.
 
Expectations of Retailers from the Mall

Just like consumer expectations, the expectations of retailers are also changing. Rent, cam charges, etc have started gaining more prominence. 
   
“As a brand, the biggest discussion that happens around is rental and cam charges. Rental is not an issue for us, it is the cam charges that are important. We are good with giving Rs 10-20 more for cam charges if the mall is doing justice to those cams, they are providing enough standards and marketing to bring footfall to the mall. Malls like Phoenix and DLF do great marketing and that’s why we love them. Also, I’d like to add that it’s a great idea to ship products from a shop because as I said customer experience is getting higher and higher, they have become impatient so it is good for a brand if they can deliver a product in a few hours in a 5-10 km of range,” explains Rohit Sahni, Co-Founder, WK Life.
 
“In existing malls, we have limited space but in the new malls, we see a dramatic change. All the established brands are seeking flagship stores. Earlier they would go for 1,000 sq. ft. but now they want 4,000 sq. ft. and they are willing to pay higher rent for it. I believe this change is due to omnichannel, they want stores to become experience stores rather than just being an outlet from where customers can shop. The second change is that most of the online players want a physical presence and the existing established offline players are seeking much larger space,” adds Kalkar. 

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