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Inspiring Through Innovation

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With the gradual opening of malls within each city and town, the fight is on to attract higher footfalls. What perhaps differentiates each of the malls is the ambiance and the ‘feel good’ factor it extends for its shoppers, as brands across malls today remain uniform except for a few local retailers that have their presence only in particular malls based on the locality the mall operates from. A primary thing that adds to the ‘feel good’ factor is how best malls indulge in holding various events or promotions using their atrium space and other innovations they add to ensure there is no room for stagnation. We spoke with a few malls to find out how best they made use of their available space to pep up their shoppers.

Oberoi Mall, Mumbai

“This year, we started off with a new ‘’, the agenda behind which was to create a distinct and a beautiful visual experience and to give a fresh look to the mall at regular intervals. The themes that we experimented with last year were Summer – made of beach balls and surfboats – and the colours that were predominantly used were orange, yellow and blue to give a complete summer effect. Another theme that we worked around was ‘Aqua’, which was used in Monsoon. This theme created an under-the-water effect in the mall, dominated by the colours like aqua marine blue and sea green complemented by installations of giant pearls, decorated starfish chandeliers and octopuses,” says, Nirzar Jain, Vice President, Oberoi Mall.

The mall also celebrated 100 years of Bollywood by associating with one of the national music channels and recreating the post ’90s era. The décor elements included hanging Bollywood printed lamps; a real ambassador car decorated with the posters of Bollywood films; a giant size popcorn and TV photo-op for customers where they could choose their favourite Bollywood character costume and get themselves clicked.

External promotion

Every event or promotion in the mall is different – based on a specific theme or a purpose it is held for. However, we would like to specify one such promotion where we used our atrium innovatively – for the launch promotion of the TV serial ‘Mahabharata’, where the promotional space was used to create a set-up of a museum. There were some striking pieces of jewellery, weaponry and fineries, which were used during the show on display. A special 3D video of the set was played at regular intervals taking the customers through the magnificent Hastinapur, Vrindavan, etc.

Viviana Mall, Mumbai

Social responsibility: Viviana is one of  the first mall in the country to have embraced the cause for the visually impaired, and offers shopping assistance to the visually challenged by trained staff along with other facilities, such as tactile Braille map and other accessible technology. Further, the mall has collaborated with the Eye Bank Association of India (EBAI) and set up a kiosk at its precincts for patrons who wish to pledge their eyes. It has also teamed up with Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) for the training of the mall staff.

The tactile Braille map and Pen Friend for the food-court menu have been unveiled by Dr. Sam Taraporevala, Director, XRCVC at the mall. The mall has also announced Viviana Visionary Awards for students excelling in academics and extra-curricular activities. The students will be awarded every year on 15th of August.

Viviana hosts activities throughout the year to uphold this cause and will introduce additional facilities over the months for the visually impaired shopper.

Effective use of atrium space

Independence Day (August 15, 2013)

Visually impaired kids, from Smt. for Blind, performed jaladeepasana and rope malkambh at the mall. The mall also announced Viviana Visionary Awards for students excelling in academics and extra-curricular activities. On the occasion, Viviana felicitated Kriti Banga, Mumbai University’s first visually impaired student, for successfully completing her graduation in psychology major’s. Dr. Sam Taraporevala unveiled the Braille map and Pen Friend for the visually impaired shoppers.

Gandhi Jayanti (September 28, 2013 to October 2, 2013)

There was a display of Khadi and information on the Khadi Movement initiated by Gandhiji. Information on various types of Khadi material was also available for the shoppers. The atrium saw the set-up of Sabarmati Ashram along with a display of handicrafts made by the folk of Gujarat for self-employment and self-reliance.

Garba Champs (October 5, 2013 to October 13, 2013)

Viviana Mall hosted ‘Garba Champs’ during Navratri. The mall saw nine divine nights of dancing, games, lucky draw prizes and unlimited fun. The weekend of October 12-13, 2013, witnessed Viviana Mall host the ‘Garba and Dandiya Nights’, which entailed professional dandiya performances, a live DJ and various exciting prizes such as ‘Best Navratri Attire’, ‘Best Solo Dancer’ and ‘Best Group Dance’. Children between the age group of 3 and 8 years also participated in the Mythology Fancy Dress Competition organised by the mall on October 13, 2013.

Christmas Celebrations (December 18, 2013 to January 1, 2014)

Viviana showered gifts last Christmas in Santa’s Treasure Room. Customers who shopped for Rs. 2,000 got a chance to enter Santa’s Treasure Room full of gifts and other surprises. The shopper of the day, which was chosen every day, with the largest bill amount won exciting prizes. Customers were also made to solve the Christmas puzzle by putting together the Christmas characters laid across the mall and the fastest one to solve this puzzle was treated to a surprise.

Also in store were various fun-filled activities such as karaoke, sweet fiesta to learn to make Christmas goodies, and a gift-wrapping workshop, to help wrap the fun presents. At the atrium, a photobooth was set up for the family; customers could walk in and click pictures with the Santa cutouts using different props. They got their pictures instantly!

, Mumbai

“As we grow over a period, Phoenix Marketcity Kurla tries to come up with innovative services for its customers. We introduced the golf cart services, so senior citizens and expectant mothers could cover distances in the mall with ease. In 2013, we also came up with the concierge service that helps customers with services like utility bill payments, renewal of passports, etc. In 2014, we plan to launch our loyalty programme – ‘Go Phoenixing’, the first ever mobile app for a mall in the country. Go Phoenixing is an exciting new loyalty programme where you can shop anywhere at Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla, earn points and win exciting rewards, check your balance points for the inbuilt Go Phoenixing rewards programme, redeem your points against available vouchers and latest promotions from your favourite brands, update your profile information, and stay updated on the events and happenings at Phoenix Market City, Kurla.,” says, , Centre Director, Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla.

Effective use of atrium space

Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla recently associated with Incredible India and jointly organised an event called ‘Discover India’, which portrayed the art and culture of states like Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The different stalls representing each state displayed unique artefacts and traditionalwear from their respective regions. Phoenix Marketcity also partnered with GoodHomes India for GoodHomes Art Week, a yearly property by GoodHomes India, and invited well-known artists from across the country to showcase distinctive paintings, murals, collage and sculptures at various atriums of the mall. ‘Love Art Festival’ was yet another interesting art exhibition that showcased paintings by 28 different artists in the country, thereby utilising the large atrium spaces in the mall. Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla has established a weekly property called ‘Smashing Sunday’, which provides a platform for young and energetic bands like Unohu, The Koniac Net, Lightyear Explode, and Modern Mafia to perform.

The mall also ensures utilising the huge atrium spaces during celebrations like Diwali and Christmas. Phoenix Marketcity conceptualised the idea of ‘lanterns of the world’ that displayed lanterns from countries like China, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Korea at the mall. During Christmas, the mall was again decorated with a 25-feet tall Christmas tree and distinctive lamps. In addition, the mall organised a parade of 25 Santa Clauses with a live band that marched throughout the mall on December 25, 2013.

Infiniti Mall, Mumbai

“We have brought in the interactive kiosk for the convenience of all our patrons. Just a click and all details are at the customer’s disposal from the store location to the offers available. Since we  have huge basements and a customer may tend to lose their way, we have arranged for a car calling system, which will reduce a lot of effort put in by the patron to reach their car. We have also come up with an innovative way of getting our patrons to listen to the music of their choice. All they have to do is queue up the music of their choice in the playlist and listen to their heart’s content. We are one of  the first malls in the country to have this feature. Retailers have been adjudged and felicitated for their performance throughout the year through retailers awards and recognition programmes, which only pushes them further to perform better and provide the best service to our patrons,” says, Gerald Matthew, Marketing Manager, Infiniti Mall.

Effective use of atrium space

The atrium has been used for music launches like ‘Policegiri’, ‘Love you Soniye’, etc. and movie launches like Shootout at Wadala, R Rajkumar, etc. Also, we lease out the space for temporary non-sale promotions of new products. We also organise Flea Market during weekends by utilising one of the atriums to promote local handicrafts and artisans. Festival and event decorations are done at the atrium and dances, activities for customer engagement and gratification are held here.

Korum Mall

“Last year, we launched an exclusive property for our women patrons – Women on Wednesday or WOW. WOW is a day that along with exclusive offers, also pampers our women customers with free valet parking and empowers them through a series of workshops and competitions. Keeping up with the changing consumer trends, we also launched new services, such as free pram and Wi-Fi service.  For our retail partners, we launched a ‘No Dabba Day’, which gives them an opportunity to enjoy various food court options at discounted rates on a specific day of the week,” says , Deva Jyotula, Centre Manager, Korum Mall.

Effective use of atrium space

We conducted various CSR activities, such as Raksha Bandhan celebrations with underprivileged kids, where 75 girls tied Rakhi to 75 boys in the mall atrium at one time.

A Guinness world record was also attempted at the mall atrium when an artist from Thane painted a canvas handbag, which was 21×27 ft in size. Another attraction at the mall was display of luxury cars and bikes, such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover and Harley Davidson at the mall atrium.

‘Bazaars of India’, another unique event held at the mall atrium, highlighted the culture of different states of India through décor, stalls and performances. Apart from activities, the atrium has also been used for shootings and promotion of movies and music launch. Shooting of the movie Heroine took place at the atrium of Korum Mall. Recently, Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra visited the mall to promote their upcoming movie Hasee toh Phasee.

*This article was originally published in the Feb-March 2014 issue of Shopping Centre News.