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The future of the shopping mall is not limited to shopping by Manoj K. Agarwal, CEO, Viviana Mall

Among the shopper’s experiences that are taken care of by the malls include holding of live concerts, performances, art centers gallery displays, spa, fitness club, flea market, contests, product promotions, car displays and farmer’s markets, writes Manoj K. Agarwal.

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Retail outlets have evolved over the last few decades, from being local round the corner store to large departmental store on high streets to malls. In the last decade, online shopping has changed the way people purchase different products.

This evolution to e-commerce has also propped up some challenges for traditional local shops and retail outlets in malls. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean mall is a passé.  However, after an initial impact, both the brick & mortar formats and online shopping have settled down into their respective market segments and customer domains. 

As per the latest report by Anarock Property Consultants titled – Redefining the Future of Retail Malls, currently, there is 50 mn sq. ft. of mall stock (includes only leased malls) already operational across the top 7 cities while nearly 32 mn sq. ft. is likely to be added to the current stock by 2022. 

Besides metros and Tier I cities, malls are also expanding aggressively across the top Tier II and Tier III cities in India. From comprising a mere 10% share of the total supply during 2003-2012 period, the overall mall share in Tier II & Tier III cities is now expected to increase to 17% between 2013-2022. 

This data only proves that there is an increasing demand for brick and mortar mode of shopping. Offline retail is estimated to grow at 16% between 2017-2021. In our view, one of the main reasons, for this growth and popularity is the fact that customers want to physically touch and feel and experience the product and compare it with other available options which is not possible in any other model except in the existing brick and mortar formats. In fact, because of this, many online formats, are having focused strategies to have their presence also in the physical store space in malls and high streets.  

At the moment, technology is not largely utilized by the retail sector operators and is limited to generating a customer’s shopping experience and for designing spaces inside the mall. Technology in our view will be a key driver in mall sin the future offering convenience, information, assistance, shopping experience, navigation and guidance. Already, in some countries in South Asia, in commercial spaces, there is provisioning of virtual concierges, robot receptionists & service staff apart from voice-based assistance and guidance. We feel that this trend will not only grow but will also, soon become an integral part of our day to day at both the workplace and the personal space.     

Among the shopper’s experiences that are taken care of by the malls include holding of live concerts, performances, art centers gallery displays, spa, fitness club, flea market, contests, product promotions, car displays and farmer’s markets. These services provide a level of leisure and entertainment that can never be satisfied online. Even organizing events and promotions at regular intervals help in drawing crowds to the mall.

There is also an increase in entertainment-based experiences in shopping arenas. Viviana Mall, a leading retail mall in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region has a mixed bag of entertainment. The mall has a Cinepolis Multiplex, Fun City and organizes various events on a steady basis. In India, a focus on leisure and entertainment is already driving growth. Revenue coming into malls from these offerings grew 41% in 2017 compared to 2016, as per the recent reports by McKinsey.

In future, to be relevant to the changing trends, malls may co-share its community space with residential, hotels, offices and co-working spaces apart from its already existing categories like health and beauty services, food and beverages, events, entertainment and obviously apparel, fashion and various other retail formats.



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