Why brands want malls to be launch-pads for big debuts?
Why brands want malls to be launch-pads for big debuts?

When Italian brand Roberto Cavalli entered India in 2012 with its first store, it chose the premium luxury mall DLF Emporio in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area.  Three years later, when Juicy Couture -- the international track-pant brand made its Indian debut, it again chose Ambience Mall in Gurgaon. And so did H&M and Aeropostale when they launched in Select CITYWALK, Saket.

When the market opened up for FDI announcements, it paved the way for several renowned global brands to enter the Indian region with their flagship stores and most of them preferred to set up the stores in the legion of malls in the cities. Why do brands prefer to open outlets in malls rather than open standalone stores?

Malls support Marketing & Branding
For starters, once a brand signs up with a mall, the onus of advertising and branding for the big entree falls on the mall. It’s a safer bet because malls would go out of their way to ensure that the brand reaches a maximum audience and gets good promotion. Brands know what a mall can provide them in terms of generating brand advocacy and they often see malls as very powerful channels through which to reach their target consumer groups.

Standalone store not a cakewalk
As for opening a standalone, it is entirely the brand’s doing to advertise and create a set up. It’s hardly a cakewalk, especially with online business at its peak. In fact, recently, some brands like Florence Clothing Company closed all their stand-alone stores to offset slow growth and high operating cost and instead ventured into the digital world. The commitment to a standalone store is way too much work for a brand in terms of the logistics, the advertising, the publicity, the promotion and in the end the sale itself.

The ‘organised’ organised retail
Some years ago, it was the rise of brands that started driving the mall business in the country as the latter started proving to be apt retail spaces for the entering brands. As for shoppers, malls offer that larger-than-life experience of shopping where most things are taken care of and all that the shopper has to do is pick his merchandise in peace. The food, the parking, the comfort of the family, especially children, the choice of a leisure shopping experience etc are all available freely at the mall unlike at a standalone store. So, it is almost safe to say that malls have become the chosen avenue for organised retail.

As for the brands, they know this just too well. Most debutante global brands understand that the future of retail lies in the malls and hence make a beeline for the malls for their big fat debuts, some by even paying a premium to ensure a well-defined space. They know the catchment that a mall serves to and the target audience that it would cater to. The footfalls benefit both – the brand as well as the mall.

Brands also understand the psyche of the people and the whole ‘shopping experience’. It is one of the greatest factors in why people love going to malls. They want the experience of going shopping with their friends, family and loved ones. They want to stop at the food court, get something to drink, watch a movie, buy on impulse and talk about what they just bought or are going to buy. They want to show their friends and bask in the glory of their purchase. It makes them happy and this works for the brands.

So, even as more new brands like H&M and Gap enter malls, the trend continues.  In fact, Gap has already said that it will skip high streets in India. Malls, meanwhile, will keep wooing more and more new brands, bringing in more experiential shopping for its patrons and attracting more footfalls. It’s a win-win situation for each!


The article has been authored by Urvi Vira, Head Marketing, Growel’s 101 Mall.

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Role of AI in Reshaping the FMCG Sector
Role of AI in Reshaping the FMCG Sector

New technological advancements and the growth of the digital space have led various sectors to embrace innovation and adaptation. The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, in particular, has rapidly shifted in that direction by joining hands with the e-commerce industry. McKinsey reveals that e-commerce sales in the consumer goods industry are projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2025, a fourfold increase from the last decade. In the face of intense competition and a high turnover volume in the sector, Artificial Intelligence emerges as a crucial differentiator in helping brands stay ahead of the curve. 

Crucial Role of AI

Artificial Intelligence plays a vital role in bringing consumers closer to the brand. An ongoing challenge within the FMCG industry is for accurate consumer insights to enhance data-backed decision-making. Insights AI combines advanced AI technologies like Emotion AI, Behavior AI, and Generative AI, to ensure brands get in-depth consumer behavior data. These technologies help brands understand the expectations and preferences of target audiences and provide accurate data for efficient decision-making.

As with any other industry, consumer needs and expectations in the FMCG sector are ever-evolving. AI's ability to access and process vast data sets allows brands to tailor their marketing strategies quickly and effectively in line with the requirements of the target audience. With the inclusion of Insights AI, the Indian FMCG industry could witness a significant improvement in the cost and quality of products and services.

Insights AI’s Role in Gauging User Emotions and Behaviors

One of the most crucial aspects of any FMCG product lies in its ability to resonate with the consumer. Here is where understanding the emotions and behaviors of the consumer towards the product becomes important. Insights AI plays a vital role in bringing these insights closer to the brand in several ways. 

Emotion AI for Capturing Sentiments

  • Utilizes Facial Coding and Voice AI to measure and quantify human emotions while interacting with a product.
  • Enables brands to measure and quantify human emotions by capturing facial expressions using webcams and smartphone cameras.
  • Provides nuanced insights into consumer sentiments through tone, pitch, and speech patterns

Behavior AI for Enhanced Engagement

  • Incorporates mouse-tracking and eye-tracking technology for eye-pupil movement and mouse click data.
  • Get metrics on where and how long users looked and interacted with your product to understand their preferences.
  • Invaluable for optimizing interfaces, content placement, and overall user experiences.

Gen AI for Data Analysis

  • Capability to read data and perform comprehensive analysis within a given workspace.
  • Allow users to ask queries about research data available within a repository and obtain rapid insights.

Insights AI in FMCG

Insights AI can create exceptional value for the FMCG brands thriving in e-commerce. 29.1 percent of consumers believe that AI can be better utilized in providing personalized product recommendations, while 33 percent agree on its function to provide optimized search results. It can decode an individual’s purchase history and demographic information to create personalized shopping experiences for its consumers.

Applications of Insights AI in FMCG

As one of the industries undergoing a major change due to Insights AI technologies, let us look at some of the ways it is creating a difference today.

1) Consumer Research: Insights AI can gather data and feedback on the path to consumers' purchase journeys- from looking at a product ad to completing a purchase on a website. It helps provide deep, unbiased insights, which ultimately provide a seamless shopping experience.

2) Marketing Communications: FMCG can benefit immensely in creating targeted and personalized campaigns that truly resonate with their target audience by understanding what consumers like and dislike.

3) Content and Media Testing: Brands can optimize the visual appeal and engagement across various content formats, such as ads, videos, social media posts, etc., by testing content and media pre and post-launch.

4) Pack Design and Shelf Placement Testing: FMCG brands can test their pack designs and shelf placements using Insights AI, which analyzes the shopper’s purchase intent, stopping, holding, and closing powers to make products stand out.

5) New Product Development: Validate your concepts, opinions, and ideas before a new product is developed to ensure that you are not completely relying on your gut instinct and guesswork.

While AI has a huge potential for FMCG brands to scale and improve, its widespread adoption also raises concerns about data privacy and ethical considerations. The heavy reliance on consumer data for insights also means transparency is a key priority in AI. 

AI-led disruption in the FMCG sector is not just a possibility- it is already happening. From optimizing strategies to personalized recommendations, AI is leading the way for the FMCG sector to thrive- in the e-commerce space and beyond. With the continuous evolution of technology and fierce competition in the market, the need for products and brands to stand out is imperative, especially among FMCG players. As such, brands must remain agile, adaptive, and customer-centric in their approach toward AI to deliver meaningful experiences for the end consumers.

Ranjan Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Entropik

Ranjan Kumar, Founder & CEO, Entropik

Ranjan Kumar is the Founder and CEO of Entropik – research integrated platform powered by AI. He is an engineer from IIT Kharagpur, has invested most of his time working with soft computing, neural computing, and deep learning. Ranjan has worked with distinctive firms like ONGC Ltd and ITC Ltd, after which he turned an entrepreneur with Oyeparty.com in 2012. He has also headed business at Citrus Payments, a fintech company, giving the division exponential growth under his leadership.



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