Malls as we understand, is a form of organized retailing. They lend an ideal shopping experience with an amalgamation of product, service and entertainment.
The story of great Indian mall boom started from the emergence of Gurgaon, an industrial suburb of Delhi. In a development that surprised many town planners, Gurgaon transformed itself overnight by first housing the headquarters of many multinational corporations and banks, and then calling itself the "shopping-mall capital of India".
Then to join the bandwagon was Rajouri Garden with a number of world class malls coming up within a short duration of time. But this Mall Clutter led to a gradual & continuing downfall of some of the malls in Delhi which was accelerated by the economic recession affecting the world with India & specifically Delhi as no exception to this impact. But that is a broader picture; we will specifically talk about the failure of some shopping malls & big retail concepts in Delhi. In spite of big brand names existing in those malls & good location, why these malls failed? What can be the possible reasons?
On the basis of Market research & analysis, it can be inferred that the most important factor in the failure of these malls is the mismatch of the brand & the consumer. The brands selected for the mall should be consistent with the kind of demographic profile of that region or location.
Now it is very difficult to attract the brands first before deciding or finalizing on the location of the mall & without proper specification & layout of the entire real estate. So, the better & most logical approach is to finalize the location first & then attract suitable brands very carefully. It is very important to keep the consumer or client profile of that region in mind. The brands should be in accordance with the type of customers in that region because they form the majority of the footfalls. So in order to understand the client profile, their psychology, decision making criteria, buying behavior, tastes & preferences & motivations or driving force behind purchase decision should be carefully examined & inferred. For example, if the consumers of that region are observed over time to have spent more on food than clothing, then a few good restaurants & fast food corners are a must for the success of that mall.
A research was carried out in the region Shalimar Bagh in North-West Delhi, where a Mall called Shoppin' Park resulted in a complete failure because from survey it is established that the majority of the population prefer to spend more on food & they prefer to shop Apparel from local markets & approximately 30% of the population as found to be fashion conscious. The remaining population is not bothered about the brand name or the values associated with the brand. They lacked motivation to buy Branded apparels.
Another example can be the failure of Spencer's store in Ring Road Mall in Rohini, where in spite of an excellent store in terms of ambience & assortment mix, the store is failing to attract customers.
Moreover, the presence of a strong Anchor store is also a very critical factor in determining the success of that mall. Strong brands like Pantaloons & Shoppers Stop acts as a pillar to protect the brand. They attract the majority of the customer through their brand names & it results in the increase of footfalls in the malls & thereby generating more sales to other stores also.
SHOPPIN' PARK witnessed the downfall of "Indiabulls" as a retail store & hence the entire mall crumbled down.
Adding to the woes is the rising prices of real estates. The real estate developers interests are not matching with the retailers interests as the retailers are paying heavy rentals on real estate & their monthly sales is not covering their rentals for months in continuation.
So the picture depicted for future of the Mall Culture is that the competition is fierce among the malls to survive & only those malls will survive which will successfully go through a detailed research on the consumer decision making process of those regions in particular. This means taking a microscopic view of the consumer behavior including the study of consumer psychology & studying their tastes & preferences & the factors which can influence their buying behavior in a positive direction.
The idea is to add a regional touch to the malls keeping in mind the regional variations in buying behavior of the target consumers.
About the Author
The author is Course Coordinator for Fashion Management Studies at JD Institute of Fashion Technology.
The views expressed are author's personal point of view.