The e-commerce wave swept the Indian market so fast that in no time there has been a shift from brick to click. Malls have felt the heat from the emerging e-commerce industry who have succeeded in luring large number of shoppers with attractive discounts and deals. Malls are now embracing technology and banking upon the smart phone experience in the store to counter the threat.
Speaking at the panel discussion on day two of the Indian Shopping Centre Forum (ISCF) 2015, Deepak Yadav (Associate Vice President – Retail Business Development, Shoppers Stop) said that, “We have now equipped our retail staff with iPads to allow customers to buy products online in the store itself, if the product is not physically available. In such cases, the product is made readily available and delivered to them within two days at their residences. Unlike an online portal that would meekly confess that the product is out of stock, we don’t disappoint our customer.”
While online portals like Flipkart and Snapdeal have shifted the buying experience in the shoppers’ mind, shopping malls are now increasingly looking at adopting technology by collaborating with shopping retailers for a new dimension to big data.
Speaking on the usage of iPads for billing, Yadav added, “We were losing about 7-8% customers due to the queue at cash counters . Counters hard pressed for time can’t compete with iPads that facilitate quick bill payment. So, we are also now moving to omni-channel and heavily investing in technology.”
Commenting on the need of technology, S P Reddy (CMD, SLN Terminus Mall (Hyderabad), said, “Developers must start investing in technology not only within the shopping zone, but also outside including the car parking lot systems. The customer must be able to get an online experience in the mall as the store is increasingly becoming an extension of an overall omni-experience.”
“Big data is progressively becoming relevant to understand the shopping behavior as maintaining inventory of the relevant product portfolio is a logistic nightmare for retailers,” Reddy added.
“While e-retailing is a concern for the organized retailer as well as a mall developer, shopping malls must invest in systems that will cut costs (especially energy costs), offer a seamless experience to the end-consumer, and overall increase the asset value of the mall too,” said Siddharth Sahgal (Mall Mechanic & MD, Beyond Square feet Mall Management).