E-Commerce, says Lulu Mall's business head, will be forced to channelise through malls

One of the most visited place in Kerala, Lulu Mall is the largest shopping mall in India and 89th largest shopping mall in the world.
Lulu Mall

One of the most visited place in Kerala, Lulu Mall is the largest shopping mall in India and 89th largest shopping mall in the world. The property, managed and owned by Lulu Group International based in Abu Dhabi, has a total retail floor area of 1.7 million sqft and contains more than 200 outlets
Retailer media caught up with Shibu Philips, Business Head, Lulu Mall to further understand how the mall is maximising footfalls in the wake of rising popularity of digital platforms among other things. Excerpts:
What kind of brands do you cater to? What is the parameter of placing a brand in your mall?
Lulu Mall primarily caters to the premium and mid-premium brands in all categories.  Ground Floor will give an exposure to international brands, which include watches (luxury), beauty, fashion, etc (premium brands). On the first floor, one sees a good collection of premium brands in men’s, women’s & unisex fashion. For ethnic category, we are looking for mid-premium brands. If one walks through the second floor of the mall, he/she will be able to see kids fashion, value, mobile and accessories and sports brands. Food court of Lulu Mall has various International, National and local flavors spread across the third floor.
What benefits do you offer to those who open multi-unit outlets in your mall?
We keep regenerating various new factors, making Lulu a definite melting pot of fashion, food, culture and entertainment, which gives them a reason to open multi-unit outlets in our mall.
What is the tenure of your contract with brands and how frequently do you revise your contract?
Lulu has a standard tenure and term of 5 years.
Do you have local brands as well in your mall? How are they making a difference?
Lulu Mall has always valued the local retailers. We have some niche players in the mall for ethnic, food and eyewear category, and their products have been posting high sales with no or little competition from global players by also giving a fresh reason for people to shop there.
What kind of marketing and branding strategy you execute in a year for your mall?
When it comes to success, Lulu never fails to strive for perfection. It is always difficult to stay on top. You have to constantly reinvent yourself and in today’s fast moving world there is nothing constant. Change is inevitable. You have to keep innovating. We make sure that the marketing and branding activities are high during celebration and sales time through various activities to enhance customer’s experience. Customer points and priorities have to be upgraded and updated on a regular basis. Right now with our marketing vision we are trying to position Lulu Mall as mid-premium Mall.
In this present eCommerce era, how does your mall stand apart and what measures do you take in order to get footfalls to the mall?
E-commerce will double, but at the end for both the sides it is all about money and sales. So for everything there is a plan. The cinema industry is a perfect example. The experience you get in a theatre is different from what you get when you watch in your own television screens. Same is the case with brick & mortar and eCommerce. It goes hand in hand. Shopping centers are also reaching masses through various e- programs. But when it comes to touch-and-feel like food and entertainment, customers have to come and visit us. People value a lot of relations. We create loyal service which creates human bonding. Malls have to provide everything to the customer, eCommerce is a place only to shop but the collection point directly or indirectly is a shopping mall. Due to India’s infrastructure and logistics problems, eCommerce will be forced to channelise through malls.
What kind of amenities and facilities you have in place at the mall?
New retailing concepts, that is a clear connection of concept and innovation for retailing tends to have a strong vision that connects to a strong customer group. Lulu Mall employs several different technologies to engage with customers and potential customers through social media. For every savvy shopper we have our Mall App which gives insights on the offers, discounts and other ongoing details of the mall. With regards to the operations, we do regular audits of the mall where the entire mall is covered through questionnaire and it helps us understand where there is room for improvement. Also the customer feedback program is taken on tabs, which helps us obtain instant feedback. As the mall is completely WIFI managed, it can give us instant reports. So, technology plays a very important role in running the mall on a day-to-day basis. In our recent development list we have started our Loyalty Program as well.
What kind of footfall do you receive during weekends and during weekdays?
Weekends: 80,000-90,000; weekdays: 50,000-60,000.
Any new initiatives you are going to launch in the near future?
The expectations are growing day by day, as customers and new generations are exploring the world. So we have to keep up with times and we need to ensure that we keep adding services to our existing list.

Shibu Philips