We are also planning to come up with Omni Channel - Click & Block Model: Mukesh Kumar

In an exclusive conversation with Mukesh Kumar, Senior Vice President at Infiniti Malls, Mumbai shed light on future malls.
We are also planning to come up with Omni Channel - Click & Block Model: Mukesh Kumar

The growth of online channel has thrown up challenges for brick and mortar retail, but  also many opportunities to develop unique retail propositions. What innovation Infiniti Malls has explored to compete with e-retail?. Pls also shed light on retail real estate market in India. 

We believe touch & feel is the strong proposition for customers before they purchase any product. The focus is now to enhance consumer overall experience through better services. Retailers are also putting all their energies in providing better in-store experience to the customers. We are also planning to come up with Omni Channel  - Click & Block Model, where store Inventory can be checked on our Website/App & accordingly can be blocked for certain duration. We are also planning to come up with a strong loyalty program. Retail real estate market is slowly but gradually improving. There are not too much of quality spaces available for retailers to set up shops however, many developers are working on launching new Malls across the country.

Replicating the global mood, malls are turning into FECs ( Family entertainment centres), and with the growing dominance of e-commerce do you think ‘retail’ will acquire minimum space within malls in the time to come? What kind of categories future malls will have? Can e-commerce ever be part of overall mall retailing?

FEC in a mall in India was considered more of a filler. However, the trend has changed in the recent past. They are now one of the primary drivers of footfalls into the malls making them a necessity for every mall to possess. The tenant mix also has gone through changes over the past few years. Malls are also focussing on services like Salon, Spa etc in the mall which attracts footfalls.   In my opinion Mall will slowly get into 30% of spaces for F&B and Entertainment.

Also highlight the role of technology within mall to create an edge over online shopping which is all about convenience? Technology vs Entertainment what drives maximum footfall to mall?

For any destination to run successfully, technology and data captured and analysed with the help of technology can do wonders for effective and efficient mall management. It can make physical shopping more interesting. There has to be a good balance between technology and entertainment for any mall to succeed.

Have you deployed multi-channel strategy for your mall? How you are planning to integrate online retail to physical sales in shopping malls?

 We post offers running at our mall on facebook,Instagram,Twitter & on our website. We have inloyal application, customers can download the application on their cellphones. They can submit their bills & redeem points check current offers by using this application   . Also Omni Channel we are trying to build up between customer & our retailers, where click & block option will be available to the customers, selection of particular product will be done prior to visiting the Mall.

Apart from e-commerce, Smartphones and tablets( Applications: be it discount or catalogue display) are emerging as crucial decision makers of customers' buying decision. How your mall is preparing to itself to counter this?

 Internet and Smartphone’s are here to stay, and retailers need to understand they can’t stop their customers from using mobile devices. While the lines between online and offline retail have become blurred and call for a more holistic view. Consumers are using a mixture of retail solutions from online research to online purchase, offline research to offline purchase, online research to offline purchase and offline research to online purchase. Consumers price a product in-store on their mobile device and then purchase it online instead of at the store Malls should chalk-out strategies to maintain consistency and provide convenience to their customers across all  touch points.

 Now we are seeing cinema among the ‘anchors’.  Is it happening due to e-commerce effect?  

 As Cinema was always a part of an anchor & considered as an important source for customers entertainment option & off course it’s a key differentiators for mall developers

 At last, what is your advice for healthy co-existence of retail mall and e-commerce?

Retailers need to seamlessly integrate the physical and digital worlds—from products to price matching to personalized offers—to exponentially improve the customer experience. The one very important service that online store lack in is human interaction with sales assistants. Having knowledgeable staff to help out customers and answer all their queries can successfully convert a potential buyer into a regular one. Malls should also chalk-out strategies to maintain consistency and provide convenience to their customers across all touch points.



Mukesh Kumar