Top disruptive malls transforming retail!

Let us quickly look at the top five malls in India and identify the shared traits which make them stand out in the crowd.
Top disruptive malls transforming retail!

In India, the organized retail sector constitutes roughly 10 percent of the retail industry. We already have a robust and effective market mechanism in place in the form of unorganized retail which includes the mom-pop stores, the general and corner stores. Yet, the organized retail is slowing gaining a strong ground in the retail industry growing at a CAGR of about 13% (A). And one of the strongest evidences of this is the rise of shopping malls in India. If statistics are not enough, one should notice how some of the empty plots in and around the city are now occupied by monumental man-made structures we call the shopping malls.

Contributing perspectives in the rise of shopping malls

Customers’ perspective

Customers nowadays seek new shopping experiences. Shopping malls goes beyond providing a shopping experience. Sometimes the sheer size and architectural design of the malls attracts customers for a visit. Walking through the organized aisles in the shopping malls is a pleasure in itself. Plus, many shopping malls have food courts, indoor gaming platforms; movies etc. which also makes it a place for hanging out with family and friends. Sometimes, in fact, you can just find a comfortable place in the mall, connect to WiFi or just pass your time watching people.

Customers get to choose from a wide range of products and product categories as per their needs, tastes and preferences. Malls also attract customers who prefer organized purchasing under one roof which is further accentuated by offers, discounts, membership benefits and other promotional activities.

Retailer’s perspective

When you are a part (retail store) of a large ship (shopping mall) –

-          you get to interact and build relations with more people (customers, footfalls)

-          you are safer than you were in your small boat (risk optimization, market dynamics)

-          you get to derive a bit of popularity from that of the ship (brand and positioning)

-          The rent may be higher, but look at the distance (vision, goals)


With the cooling down of the price wars initiated by the online retail players and as the online shopping euphoria starts to fade or heads for normalization, shopping malls are getting back to its glitter.


Other factors

There are several other factors which have simultaneously contributed to the rise of shopping malls – demographical shifts, rise in urban and semi-urban populations, entry of foreign retail players and counter competitive measures by domestic retail giants.

But not every shopping mall is a success. Let us quickly look at the top five malls in India and identify the shared traits which make them stand out in the crowd.

Top five malls in India

1.LULU International Shopping Mall, Kochi

Size and structure – The LULU International Shopping Mall located at Kochi is India’s largest mall.

Offerings – Fashion, jewellery, electronics, beauty & wellness, eye wear, footwear/bags/accessories, movies, restaurants, money exchange, holiday planning, WiFi, ATM, cab service, baggage counters, info desks, fun and games etc.

Analysis – The brand is positioned not merely as a shopping destination but referred to as a ‘world of happiness’. This multi-brand shopping mall provides a wide array of product categories and services at different levels of customers’ need hierarchy.

2.Phoenix MarketCity, Pune & Mumbai

Size and structure - The Pune branch of the Phoenix Market City is the largest mall in the city. This multi-brand shopping mall houses stores of several global and domestic retail players. The Mumbai branch of the Phoenix Market City is a little older than its counterpart in Pune and is one of the largest malls in Mumbai.

Offerings – Food court, hypermarket, movies, departmental, bookstore, electronics, spa, play zone for kids, sports brands, entertainment and events etc.

Analysis – The brand is positioned as a premium shopping destination covering a wide range of services like shopping, dining, movies and entertainment, lifestyle and leisure and an entertainment hub hosting variety of events.

3.Ambience Mall, Gurgaon

Size and structure – The multi-brand Ambience Mall is located at Gurgaon in the NCR. The mall boasts of its huge parking space. The official website of the mall has an amazing virtual tour feature for the visitors. It houses both global and domestic retail players.

Offerings – Bags, jewellery & accessories, sportswear, footwear, apparel, spa and salon, automobiles, kid’s fashion and care, supermarket, beauty products, electronics, eyecare and eyewear, restaurants, entertainment, cinema, gaming parlour, hotel facility, car service, ATM, events etc.

Analysis – The brand is positioned as a one-stop destination for a very wide range of products, services and brands which is quite apparent when we look at its offerings.

4.Mantri Square, Bangalore

Size and structure – The Mantri Square mall located at Bangalore is about 1.7 million square feet in size with 250 retail stores comprising of both global and domestic retail players. (B)

Offerings – Accessories & Bags, Beauty & Wellness, Books, Cards and Stationery, Mini departmental store, Electronics, Footwear, Health & Fitness, Home furnishing, Hypermarket, Jewellery, Kids and Unisex wear, Luggage, Men’s & Women’s fashion, Music/CDs, Opticians/sunglasses, cafes, restaurants, food courts, cinema, family fun zone, events, spa, pharmacy, baggage counter, ATM etc.

Analysis– The brand is positioned as a one-stop destination for shopping, dining and entertainment needs of the customers.

Making malls better

Although the heading qualifies be another full-fledged topic for study and analysis, we’ll leave that for some other day. With a quick glance, it can be seen that these malls have a few things in common –

1.    Huge in size and structure

2.    Wide range of products and services – shopping, restaurants, entertainment and services.

3.    Multi-branded comprising of both global and domestic retail players

4.    Active in events and promotional activities

5.    Focus on brand positioning

6.    Facilities Management – a high priority area

Looking at the huge inflow of investments, both current and proposed, pouring into the shopping mall projects (from both foreign and domestic investors and retail giants); it does look like as if the shopping malls are here to stay. Facilities management shall continue to play a crucial role in the management of shopping malls.

One of the factors that contribute to the success of the mall is “Mall Management”.Malls must go that extra mile to cater to every need of their customers. Thus the need for managing malls effectively and efficiently through SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), is becoming the urgent need of the society and business as a whole.

The mall managers must strive for effective operations and maintenance of the entire building, infrastructure; including the services and utilities and ensure that they are used in a way that is consistent with the purpose for which they were built.

Further, mall management also helps in finding the right kind of tenants, while leasing out space to tenants.

Mall management has been identified as a critical factor for the success of malls and the retail industry across the world. Mall management broadly includes mall positioning, zoning, tenant mix, promotions/marketing and facility/finance management.

Another important factor to be considered is the Mall Layout & Customer Walk Flow Management. To be ahead in the race of attracting people and creating uniqueness, mall must focus on creating a layout which gives maximum visibility to the tenants, providing them with ample display space, tactfully & technically using the dead spaces, creating focal points to attract the customers.

As malls are turning to community centres, it becomes difficult for mall managers to control the vast number of visitors to malls. As mall entry doors cannot be closed for visitors/shoppers simply for the reason of having enough crowds. Thus mall developers must consider this aspect while planning for a mall. Traffic management includes managing foot traffic into the mall and parking facilities.

Foot traffic management involves crowd management inside the operational area of a mall. The flow of people is related to the design of the mall and the spatial distribution of its tenants. For example, a star-shaped mall tends to have a problem of crowding in the centre of the mall, as everyone has to pass through the centre while moving from one side to the other.

For instance, circular malls, as compared to usual malls, usually do not face the problem of traffic congestion because these designs tend to have better pedestrian flow and less jamming. Managing parking facilities includes provision of ample parking and management of vehicles in the parking lot.

Branding &Advertising  is one of the latest trends in retail mall retail estate that vacant spaces are being used for advertising displays to promote mall, its retailers and retailers’ products. This can often be hi-tech, involving the use of digital displays, and draw the shopper’s attention to specific merchandise or promotions in a nearby store. These new promotional efforts, like corporate responsibility, add to a retailer’s cache and represent a genuine marketing advantage.

The article has been pen down by Dr. Rupal Shah Agarwal, SOP Consultant, YOUR RETAIL COACH. 

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.)

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