How Indian malls are gearing up to be wedding-ready: Parthip Thyagarajan, Co-founder & CEO, WeddingSutra.com
The high cost of protective tech, apps, equipment, several litres of sanitizers being used daily and expensive UV scanners notwithstanding, the main goal of confidence-building, and show all under one roof, writes Thyagarajan.
Malls across India, especially in cities with a high number of Covid-19 cases, are slowly limping back to business albeit with a low footfall. Before the festive season, marketers were hopeful that the festive season would be crucial to woo shoppers interested in spending on occasion-wear clothes as well as expensive gifts and accessories.
Chandi Chowk to Gandhi Market
So far, the traditional wedding markets, be it Delhi’s eclectic Chandni Chowk or the buzzing Lajpat Nagar with its long line-up of shops, have been stocking everything from the fanciest lehengas to choodas, kundan jewellery, and more. Not to mention Karol Bagh with its trendy diamond bijouterie for the discerning Punjabi clientele. Mumbai isn’t far behind when it comes to wedding splendor. Wedding hopefuls throng the suburbs of Santacruz and Central Mumbai's Dadar and Gandhi Market (Sion) to stock up on their trousseaux. Of course, these bridal hot-spots have taken a hit owing to the pandemic and concerns related to safety and social distancing. In times like this will the enthusiastic young shoppers and their parents look to malls, as these heavyweights have all their Covid-19 related protocols in place apart from providing parking and beefed-up security which is a plus for heavy wedding shoppers?
All Shopping Under One Roof
With the wedding season round the corner, the malls are hoping to give brides, grooms, and their families what they may want. The high cost of protective tech, apps, equipment, several litres of sanitizers being used daily and expensive UV scanners notwithstanding, their main goal is confidence-building, and show/sell variety all under one roof.
Big Indian jewellery houses like Tanishq, Malabar, and Kalyan Jewellers, amongst others, already have a strong mall presence and are attempting to lure clientele in ‘socially distanced’ droves within their safe confines. In Delhi, high-end exclusive malls like Emporio and The Chanakya are using a ‘Phygital’ approach to maintain exclusivity to retain their fundamental nuance of luxury, where they provide a personal shopping experience for customers to browse stores via video calls and then pick up their purchases. The Emporio goes a step ahead by introducing ‘Personal Shoppers’ who will help enhance the shopping experience by receiving and advising the clients with apt suggestions that have been handpicked for their wedding day, trousseaux, the various functions and the honeymoon, amongst other events.
DLF Avenue and DLF Promenade have introduced several carefully crafted ‘Bride Tribe’ campaigns to mesmerize the customer and at the same time instill trust and reassurance as a strong commitment to their safety.
Phoenix Marketcity Mumbai introduced the Phoenix Wedding Festival. Their communication highlighted on WeddingSutra.com featured their mall as a one-stop wedding shopping destination for not just for the bride but for the entire family. Global Desi's quirky style and Indya's ethnic wear, diamonds from Orra, traditional and gold jewellery from Tanishq, footwear from Charles & Keith, tuxedos from Blackberrys, makeup from Kiko Milano - the brands are ready for festive season business. The mall's finale, in their communication, takes the planning a step ahead by stating: 'End the day with some chic decor and furnishing pieces for your new home from Home Centre.'
The special offers and prizes from Phoenix Marketcity include a staycation at the St. Regis Hotel, Mumbai (on a total bill of INR 2,00,000 from jewellery and electronics brands or INR 1,00,000 from fashion, decor, and cosmetics brands). Customers can also win gift vouchers, free venue for a pre-wedding shoot, and a free consultation with a celebrity stylist.
Future - Flea Market and New Food Choices?
People have always loved the flea market concept, and now several malls should factor that into their business model, what with people still a little shy to step into closed environs. So open air stalls are also a thing to reckon with at some of the top malls around the country. The weather changing all over to a more pleasant one further supports this trend.
Even the food factor could be a big draw! Can malls look at tying up with wedding caterers specialising in regional cuisines to offer their visitors a sample of what they can serve/ gift their guests?
The Deciding Factor?
Now that the malls want to be wedding-ready and waiting with all the right protocols in place, will the astute customers be wooed to shop for celebrations? Or will the desire for an identical copy of a Sabyasachi Mukherjee or a Manish Malhotra lehenga, that only the likes of stores in Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh offer for a fraction of the original cost, be the deciding factor?
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