How do malls use experiences to draw people?
While there is no dearth of malls in our country, the ones pulling ahead of the others are constantly on the lookout for more reasons for people to visit them. While anchor stores, food courts and cinemas account for a majority of footfalls, in-mall experiences and activities can go a long way in differentiating a mall from the others.
To uncover what goes in to the planning and execution of such activities, we spoke to the people who run some of the most successful malls in our country – Mr. Puneet Varma, General Manager - Marketing & Corporate Communications, Inorbit Malls and Ms. Ketaki Kapoor, Deputy Manager - Marketing, DLF Promenade. Below are excerpts from their interviews.
EE: What sort of events and experiences do you prefer to implement to attract people to your malls?
Mr. Varma: Inorbit is six malls strong. We have a presence in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vadodara. All our malls are in different product life cycles. We always keep this in mind when we implement our marketing plan. We have also created eight marketing properties keeping in mind different customer sets and preferences.This has helped us in reaching out to a wide target group of 5 to 55 year olds. However when we run our programs, we are looking at either a young family of three or college kids. Our initiatives range from social causes, music concerts, learning activities for children, cookery shows, games and sports competitions.
Ms. Kapoor: DLF Promenade has earned the distinction of being New Delhi's only fashion destination. We make every festival memorable not only for the mall patrons but also for the tenants. While the décor inside the mall acts as a visual treat for the customers, the tenants witness an increase in the shopping due to the smartly planned shopping-led marketing strategy.
In March 2013 we gave a whole new edge to the world of styling when we hosted the Fashion Bloggers Meet showcasing S/s 2013 collections. Another feather in our cap was a month long Summer Fiesta for children to meet their favourite cartoon characters like ChhotaBheem and his friends. A highlight for us this year was a Food Festival bringing together some of the most famous F&B brands in Delhi on one platform.
EE: How often do you implement these events?
Mr. Varma: Our marketing calendar is drafted according to the mall. But on an average we ensure we implement four to six properties every month across every mall.
Ms. Kapoor: The cycle of these events could vary from one activity to the other. While some promotional events are held every month other larger initiatives are held once in a year.
EE: Do you collaborate with brands when doing this?
Mr. Varma: Absolutely. Retailer participation is very crucial. Either brands support us through vouchers, merchandise, free gifts or they run their own initiatives too. For instance our fashion brands in the past have set up makeover zones and shared fashion tips in the past. We understand that every brand interacts differently with its consumers and we facilitate engagement through collaborations.
Ms. Kapoor: Yes, we actively collaborate with all our in-house brands. Engaging them in our planned activities is one of the key points that we keep in mind while planning these activities.
EE: What age group is most receptive to these activities?
Mr. Varma: I think it all depends on the content. But to pick a group out, children’s activities and edutainment programs appeals a lot to younger audience. However we use a combination of learning, fun, freebies, promotions, etc. to engage different age groups.
Ms. Kapoor: Primarily the 25-40 years target group is most receptive to these activities followed by the secondary segment of 15-25 and 40-45 year olds.
EE: Challenges to mall activations, events and experiences are noise and chaos. How do you break through this to engage with people?
Mr. Varma: I’ve always found that a mall should be abuzz with people. When you enter a mall, the experience should transport you to a comfortable relaxing zone. To ensure this, we take good care of sound levels. Along with this, our regular quality checks ensure that the atmosphere never has a negative effect on the patrons.
Ms. Kapoor: Both the brands as well as the shoppers embrace excitement around an activity. The decibels seldom reach a level where it can amount for nuisance value. The activities are streamlined and executed in such a way that the shoppers face no chaos or inconvenience. We utilize areas like the hub, which do not come in the way of the shoppers while the activity is on in full swing.
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