Malls look to innovate to draw consumers

Brand- and mall-owners and their retailers seem to be facing a typical problem; they have a challenge on their hands, so to say, in form of decreasing footfalls and slowing sales. Even their extended ‘sale’ bonanzas aren’t helping that much. Prolonged lean periods are a worry for them. The fact remains that malls are finding it a touch difficult when it comes to attracting big brands, only perpetuating the problem – further alienating consumers who look for famous labels. How are they looking to tackle with this situation?

Many mall-owners and their business associates are trying to increase promotional activities and other allied customer engagement strategies akin to flash mobs – to grab everyone’s attention and push their popularity. What were supposedly weekend program previously have become virtually a regular activity for most malls. Singing & dancing shows remain still very popular, but now the range of activities at the malls has broadened. Wrestling programs, hobby classes, reflexology sessions, massages and robot-making workshops are all part of a total experience for mall-goers.

There are painting and sketching contests, talent competitions like building blocks for children. Of course, as mentioned above, flash mobs still very much sway the visitors. The director (marketing) of Virtuous Retail, Anupam Yog has been working on a plan to host film festivals so as to attract brand-chasers. “If the people come and spend more time out here, it sure will convert into actual sales.”

Neptune Magnet CEO, Surjit Singh Rajpurohit, revealed that they have intensified their customer engagement activities, claiming the footfalls have gone up by no less than 70 percent in the last six months.  Santosh Pandey of another popular mall, Growel’s 101, stated the chain has launched its loyalty program, besides enhancing sales &marketing activities. And the response of consumers thus far has been almost ‘phenomenal’, according to him. In order to make sure they stay hooked up to the mall, it offers them incentives like parking space for free, cash back facility, preview to sales, and so on. As a result, the sales, especially that of food items has been boosted.

Another area of the malls’ innovative quest to draw in more people is their gradual transformation into full-fledged entertainment hubs, not merely shopping centers. This seems to be the way forward as far as topmost malls is concerned.

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