Personal Finance

The malling experience

J. P. Biswas | Updated on November 13, 2017 Published on September 03, 2011

A well-planned tenant-mix can help a mall constantly surprise and stimulate visitors with its vibrant mix of unique retail and entertainment concepts.

The Indian retail market has witnessed a metamorphosis with regard to choices, affordability and convenience for customers who are increasingly “Brand” conscious. ‘Comfort', ‘style', ‘luxury' and ‘convenience' are expressions synonymous with malls and serve to pull shoppers.

There has been a growth in the number of mall properties across the country. The Indian retail industry accounts for over 10 per cent of GDP and around 8 per cent of the employment. India is to have some 350 malls out of which nearly 250 are planned in Tier II and Tier III towns, taking this revolution further.

Today, retailing is no longer about just stocking and selling, but about efficient supply chain management, developing vendor relationship, efficient merchandising and timely promotional campaigns that lead to quality customer service. The vast middle class and its almost untapped potential for the retail industry are the key attractive forces for global retail giants. According to the McKinsey's India's Urban Awakening - 2010 study, by the year 2030, 91 million households will come under the middle class bracket. This will be further fuelled by rise in income levels, a steady growth of economy, speedy urbanisation, favourable demographics and easy credit availability.

Mall management

In order to offer the customer with best-in-class experience and ensure smooth functioning, mall management is of utmost importance. In its broadest sense, mall management includes positioning a mall, promotions and marketing initiatives, facility management and zoning. While zoning comprises formulating the right tenant-mix and its placement in a mall, tenant-mix refers to the combination of retail shops occupying space in a mall.

Tenant-mix is an alternative term for brand-mix, and an area where one simply cannot afford to go wrong. Mall developers first identify their anchor tenants and then build their tenant-mix around it. Formulating the right tenant-mix based on zoning not only helps attract and retain shoppers by offering them multiple choices and satisfying multiple needs, but also facilitates the smooth movement of shoppers within the mall, avoiding clusters and bottlenecks, thus creating a win-win situation for both shoppers and retailers.

Malls are a family destination catering to each member of the family. It is the infrastructure – sparkling washrooms, valet parking, security measures and air-conditioning that make malls great hangouts.

New concept

For the rest, malls seem to have replaced the ubiquitous picnic spots, giving rise to the concept of ‘Malling'. This is a new concept catching the fancy of millions across India as the pastime of choice, especially on week-ends. It simply refers to ‘going to a mall with a large group of people with no intention of buying anything'. The intention is to have fun, eat out and check out the latest discount sales. This is where a well-planned and executed tenant-mix can help a mall constantly surprise and stimulate visitors with its vibrant mix of unique retail and entertainment concepts and ever-changing activities. A mall's tenant-mix has to cater to a large share of the consumers' shopping basket.

(The author is Vice-President, Marketing & Leasing, Vivacity Mall.)

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