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BW Businessworld

Case Analysis: Retail Reality

A brand needs to drive business to its store. Just being in a good mall is not enough

Photo Credit : Subhabrata Das

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Mall is a business in itself’ and not a real estate project as could well be the perception. These gigantic breathing entities need to be nurtured and managed on a daily basis. And this good maintenance of this enormous asset is just a given basic hygiene.

So, how may we understand what a mall is? Malls are consumer products too. As a composite product, a good mall brings better performance to a mediocre brand and a bad mall could as easily pull down the performance of a good brand. In effect, it drives consumption per sq. foot, and that measures its success. There is no formula for designing and creating a successful mall. It is an art with a science around it and all creative solutions need to stand the test of this science.
The trade-tenant mix and zoning is a critical aspect of mall success, and along with these, a mall delivers a great shopping experience. Hence a great deal of responsibility lies with the mall management to place retail categories and price points within them in a manner to maximise the business for each retailer. In the case of Volyoom, it seems to be missing.

In an operational mall, there is an understanding on numbers for footfall, nature of footfall and performance of brands. Any retailer entering a mall has historic data to make a financially profitable decision, and in this scenario, the responsibility of the decision largely rests with the retailer. But in an upcoming mall the situation is a little different. Mall success factors fall in two buckets: the micro market, and the mall environment.

*Micro market factors such as location, size, design and positioning of the mall are a given for every tenant.

*The projected mall environment such as look and feel of the mall, trade and tenant mix is the responsibility of the mall to deliver as promised.

But location within the mall plays a big role, and there are many instances where the brand when relocated within the mall, has grown substantially. Volyoom likely suffered here.

The regional or lifestyle malls are far bigger than many high streets in the country. If you draw a parallel, every mall visitor will not visit every corner of the mall. Their journey would be dependent on their key activities and a lot on their recall of brands that they may like to visit. A brand’s success derives from how it positions itself in a mall, the neighbouring categories, their price points and proximity to anchors or escalator / elevator. In the case of The Quartz Mall, unless they have a plan to re-position the lower ground floor, Gigil might be making a mistake.

A vacant spot appears in a mall only when an existing retailer could not perform. And that vacated spot will come with a legacy . On the other hand it also comes with a lot of data which an upcoming mall does not proffer. This is same as for a store available on a high-street.

What makes the mall a better bet compared to high street is that the mall management has far more information about the consumers, spend per person and profile, which on a high street is anyone’s guess. And it is this data that a mall uses to design its marketing efforts, category promotions, concerts etc to attract repeat traffic to the mall yet experience a new buzz.

A brand needs to drive business to its store. Just being in a good mall is not enough. Had this been the case, there would not be any churn in performing malls, especially on the grounds of performance.

Selecting a retail location is a science — it enhances brand image, has to maximise business potential and must fence competition. Hence this decision has to be driven by teams who understand these variables. StratNext as brand consultant could provide guidelines, but may not be part of the decision making process.

A great shopping experience is a combined effort of retailer and mall. The store selection should not be done to meet expansion plans, but should always be driven by one and only one objective: to serve customers in the best environment delivering the brand promise.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Rajneesh Mahajan

The writer is Executive Director, Inorbit Malls

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