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Case Analysis: Location Is King

Merely being present in a mall is not enough. Ensure location within the mall is also right

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We used to build civilizations, now we build shopping malls,” reads a quote by author Bill Bryson. …And it is these malls that have become the cornerstone of activities and consumerism for today’s shoppers, and by extension, a vital part of any retail service oriented brand’s strategy and experientials. Malls today are presumed to offer the chance to leverage a well-defined catchment, a safe bet for attracting desired set of customers.

Specifically, for a salon brand, figuring the relevant distribution mix, the optimal channel strategy that places them in just the right kind of catchment, boosting their accessibility is a struggle. Many salon brands today find themselves adopting a mix of brand touchpoints in their channel plans. These include high density residential catchments (Bandra in Mumbai or Anna Nagar in Chennai) to malls (R City mall in Mumbai, or a Select Citywalk in Delhi’s Saket area) to locations with a mix of office and shopping avenues.

However, whether it is a mall or a residential area, a salon brand has to evaluate with rigor, the catchment’s ability to drive the right kind of footfalls, the presence of any competing brands, the neighborhood profile, imagery and aspirational value.

Being present in a mall is the easy part but what makes most brands flounder is, if the location inside the mall is sub-optimal.

In today’s environment, of increasing share of online shopping, malls and tenants within their premises are facing growing pressures to ramp up trading densities and transaction values. Mall owners are reconfiguring their traditional revenue building strategies and formulate new ones that are much more holistic, focusing on unique events, strategic sponsorships, and common area activations, all with the common goal of helping tenant retailers achieve a desired throughput.

Therefore, mall owners seek to widen the width of offerings, and boost revenue per square foot, by creating pop-up stores and flea markets, which provide anything from boutique brands to mass appeal items. Presence of sundry low-imagery brands doesn’t add value to an aspirational salon brand like Volyoom or Gigil.

This is where Quartz possibly rocked the boat for Volyoom. Little did the salon brand suspect that the location on the LGF or basement will work against it.

And Quartz creating flea market areas next to Volyoom will help only if the assortment is that of like-minded categories, and well aligned customer profile.

Loyalty to specific salon staff, is probably a major ray of hope for a salon (such as Gigil in the new premises) that has a locational disadvantage. However, this loyal customer base is not enough to guarantee future success, and a salon brand needs to constantly work at attracting newer prospects in, converting them to its offerings.

This is what Gigil needs to internalise, that merely being present in a luxury or imposing mall, is not enough! Hard work at ensuring a steady stream of customers is doubly critical given its location in a non-prime level. Also, most mall tenants, especially smaller brands, have little say in controlling mall activity around them, and this affects their ROI in case of an undesirable mix of brands around them.

Getting the Quartz team to commit to boosting footfalls could be a solution. Tactics such as offering relevant signage that helps direct customers towards the salon, promotions at the point of entry to help prospects in brand discovery, branded promotional display space in high traffic zone (the promoter could direct prospects to the salon) could work.

For its part, Gigil could also try safeguarding its loyal set of consumers, and surely has perfected many promos and schemes.

It is easy to do what seems simple, that is find a space in a mall, but difficult to do what’s right! That implies ensuring that the location within the mall works for the tenant.

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.

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Prachi Tiwari

The writer is a business building and marketing specialist with 18 years of experience across brands in FMCG, retail, e-commerce and media

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