Benu Sehgal, the power woman that turned around DLF Mall, Saket in just about six months when she was the Senior Vice President of DLF Utilities Limited and Mall Head of DLF Place, Saket has now taken the charge of Ambience Mall as Head – Retail and Marketing.
Highlighting her role at Ambience Malls, Sehgal said that based on her experience she is planning to provide the right tenant mix at the malls and working on ideas to connect with customers by providing them more convenience. Some of the services that the mall is planning on adding under her able leadership include increased parking space and facilitating ease of arrival. Sehgal is also working on an idea which will take customer gratification beyond the walls of the mall.
In an exclusive interview with Indiaretailing Bureau’s Charu Lamba, Sehgal revealed, “We have wonderful properties which are very unique because of their positioning and location. However, as far as brand mix is concerned, we have raised the bar of both the malls. We are also looking to increase the entertainment factor in both the malls.”
She further added, “We have already started restructuring the zoning of the malls. We are planning to allocate 40 per cent to food and entertainment, 8-9 per cent to beauty and the rest will go to fashion and anchors.”
Sehgal believes cinema, fashion beauty, food court and entertainment are the five pillars for the success of the mall. The content inside these pillars can change but these five pillars will always hold the mall together.
According to her, Ambience Mall – which is planning to introduce brands like Michael Kors and bridge to premium category brands – will create a mall-in-mall in its Gurugram shopping centre. This smaller mall will cater to the luxury needs of the maturing Gurugram customers. Apart from this, Ambience malls are also preparing to give space to new retailers.
However, at present, Ambience Malls has no plans to spend much on the Omnichannel strategy. But once zoning, tenant mix, retail etc are fixed, then it plans to go ahead with it.
Revealing the Omnichannel initiatives that Ambience Malls will be taking over, Sehgal said, “My customer is very busy. Although we would not like to impinge onto his/ her privacy but if he/ she wants then we would like to reach out to them even in their offices and homes and tell them that the product they were looking for at the mall during their last visit is now available and at this price point.”
She further added, “Technology is the trend that is going to shape the future of the shopping malls. We should be thankful to technology and not threatened by it like most of the people are because even in the developed countries e-commerce has not gone beyond 15-18 per cent and rest 85 per cent still goes to brick-and-mortar and that 15 per cent has taken the brands to the remotest of the villages. So, e-commerce is creating awareness and generating more customers for brick-and-mortar.”
She emphasized that in today’s age it is necessary to be technology savvy and all the decisions should be taken on the basis of data available.
She explained, “Based on data, we should see where the consumers are going after watching a movie – are they going to the food court, going in for fine-dining or casual dining. So all this information has to be collated and those informative decisions have to be taken and lease period for the brands should be decided.”
She concluded by saying that she believes that leases should be shorter because the interest span of the consumer has reduced and they get fed up of the brand very soon. So, keeping in mind the interest span, the malls should keep a few leases very young and fresh all the time.