Associate Vice President - Marketing and Corporate Communications Inorbit Malls
No data accuses online shopping of reducing mall footfalls
Puneet Varma, associate vice president - marketing and corporate communications, Inorbit Malls, shares his views on the rise of mall culture, the future of e-shopping and the future of malls in India.
How have malls changed the shopping experience globally? What plans does Inorbit have in this regards?
In a way, it was inevitable that malls would affect the way people shop. Malls are the perfect destination to shop and unwind in, as they generally have everything under one roof. Malls have definitely changed the way an average consumer looks at shopping. They are today more than a shopping arena. Consumers have come to associate them with not just apparel and household shopping, but also food, grooming and entertainment. Malls present the perfect space for being a social centre, as they offer a plethora of options to choose from in entertainment and lifestyle. We, at Inorbit, strive to create the perfect balance and a wholesome experience for the consumer with various choices in each segment. We hope to push the envelope with brands and opportunities we present at Inorbit to engage and interact with the consumer.
What are your expansion plans? What do you foresee for the entire mall industry in the coming years?
We keep evaluating multiple business opportunities, both Greenfield (something that is not affected by prior work done) and Brownfield (something that is affected by prior work done) to expand our existing portfolio. It all depends on right valuations, location, size of land parcels etc to decide the next step. The current supply of organised retail space has dried, and only about 4.9 million sq ft new supply is expected to come up in the near future. Therefore, there is an opportunity to expand. But it also depends on the economic growth of the country.
Apart from tier I cities, there is good opportunity to expand in tier II and III cities. We recently opened a shopping centre in Vadodara, which is growing and performing to satisfactory levels.
Has online shopping affected the overall footfalls at a mall? Do consumers come to the mall more to window-shop, and then go home and look for other options?
It is true that there are a lot of online shopping options available which offer doorstep services. But shopping malls give an ultimate experience with a unique combination of shopping, food and entertainment under one roof. There is no data which reflects that footfalls in malls are being affected due to online shopping in any way. The online experience is yet another channel for the consumers looking for convenience. The future is omni-channel presence for successful brands, as that is the only way to engage and provide a complete experience. The experience of touch-and-feel draws consumers to the mall. We also provide fresh collections at our malls, so that our consumers have a first-hand access to them. Food and entertainment are categories that bring consumers to the mall for a complete experience.
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