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Malls upbeat about sale season, to counter deep e-discounts with selective promotions

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According to an Assocham report, Indian consumer demand is currently seeing good growth of around 40 per cent in the ongoing Diwali season, as compared to 2015. Assocham has estimated that Indian consumers are likely to spend over Rs 25,000 crore on festive shopping this year as against Rs 20,000 crore last year.
Much like online retailers, malls are counting on consumers to splurge more this festive season owing to an increase in demand due to a good monsoon and improved pay packets. The 7th Pay Commission handout bonanza is also expected to positively influence spending capacity, boosting consumption.
So how are shopping centres gearing up to attract consumers this festive season?
To start with, on offer are extended shopping hours, lucky draws, gifts, loyalty points, cashbacks and vouchers, to name just a few.
“The consumer sentiment is up and buoyant this festive season due to reasons like increase in disposable income and good monsoons. There will be a spurt in consumer buying and therefore we feel that the demand will be subsequently higher that what it was last year. We have launched our special campaign ‘Festival of Delights’, valid from October 7 till October 28, wherein any customer shopping for Rs 20,000 or above at any store/brand outlet in the mall gets assured 10 per cent cashback and is also eligible to win a Tata Safari and home makeover worth Rs 3,00,000,” said Executive Director, Pacific India, Abhishek Bansal.
Just like Pacific Mall, DLF Mall of India is also organising a Diwali Mela. “Apart from offering discounts, we are organising a Diwali Mela for our customers which encapsulates the essence of local bazaar. We are also running offers like shop for Rs 5,000 and above and get a chance to win a gold Ganesha pendant worth Rs 25,000 every day,” reveals Executive Vice President and Head Retail Malls, DLF Mall Of India, Pushpa Bector.
READ MORE: 5 mall bosses on why location strategy decides a mall’s success
Virtuous Retail Director, Rajiv Raichand said, “At VR Bengaluru, we are organising a 15-day Diwali Shopping Campaign where consumers will get a chance to participate in the lucky draw and also win bumper prizes daily. Visitors also stand a chance to win back their spends every time they visit our shopping centre.”
Majestic Décor, Grandeur
Décor is another element, that adds to the festive fervour which only malls can take advantage of and they are going big on it this Diwali. Grand installations and quirky interiors are all set to make the consumer’s shopping experience extremely grand.
“Forum is bringing the essence of festive mood to the mall by installing majestic décor elements at various customer touch points to enhance the customer’s overall shopping experience. We are also planning to make the best of long weekends by extending shopping hours. There will also be a flea market selling everything needed for Diwali celebrations,” says COO –  Retail, Prestige Group, Mohammad Ali.
Agreeing on the same point, President – West Region, Phoenix Mills Ltd, Rajendra Kalkar says, “Unlike e-commerce players we are not banking or do not go the discount route as we believe real shoppers are not driven by discounts but more by experience. Hence, we focus more on providing a welcoming festive experience to our shoppers be it through the splendid Diwali decor which add to the ambience and the experience of shopping.”
Is Competition Just a Myth?
The online festive bonanza, the first edition of which concluded just a few days ago, was a huge hit among Indian consumers.
In the first leg of the Great Indian Festival sale, Amazon sold 15 million total units – ranging categories from mobile and electronics, to large appliances, and apparel and accessories.
Meanwhile, Flipkart says, it has sold 15.5 million units across platforms including Myntra and Jabong – the company has witnessed 1 lakh customers who crossed Rs 50,000 shopping cart mark during the Big Billion Day festival – while Snapdeal states it sold more than 11 million units during its Unbox Diwali Sale.
While e-marketplaces have been running heavy discounts on smartphones and posting record sales, malls seem unaffected by the competition, expecting an equal festive rush.
READ MORE: What the future of retail holds for malls of tomorrow
According to Pacific Mall’s Bansal, “Though e-commerce players have intensified their online strategies to maximize sales this festive season – which were coupled with the convenience of shopping from mobile or tab at any point of time – the fact remains that festivities are not just about shopping or buying, but also about being in the festive mood and taking time out to indulge with family and friends and a right mix of shopping, dining, entertainment and family fun.”
He added, “This season we are anticipating heavy rush as our recently launched festival offer of 10 per cent cashback is already a big hit with the customers. We are expecting an incremental growth of 15 per cent this festive season. With addition of new stores like M&S, Pantaloons Women, Steve Madden, Heatwave etc we expect the spend per customer to go higher this season.”
Echoing Bansal’s sentiment is Virtuous Retail’s Rajiv Raichand, who believes shopping centres have turned into an experience centres and that will be the added advantage this festive season.
“Today, shopping centres have evolved as social hubs – spaces where people can revel in one’s interests and spend time with their families too. It is not just about shopping rather a collection of unique experiences in the form of entertainment, hospitality and events. Also, with increased spending during the festive season and families coming together, we believe that the centre will continue to see strong footfalls,” reveals Raichand.
Top Selling Categories
As festival shopping has undergone a lot of changes over the years, this year some of the more popular items for gifting is expected to be gadgets and consumer durables.
According to an ASSOCHAM report: “The average amount spent on mobiles during the festive season is expected to range from Rs 15,000-Rs 35,500, up from Rs 10,000 – 15,000 for the last six months.”
According to Bansal, “With iPhone 7 launching just before Diwali it is going to be one of the top performing product in gadgets. But apart from gifting this is also a time when people also buy for personal consumption, revamp homes or wardrobes therefore some of the other items that will be very popular during this season will be clothing, furniture and furnishing, consumer durables etc.”
READ MORE: Vendors, not consumers, are centre of e-commerce strategy this festive season
Other mall honchos are also expecting a similar trend with electronics, home appliances, furniture and home décor gaining the maximum traction.
Raichand said, “As compared to other segments, electronics, jewellery and apparel are expected to perform better.”
In fashion and apparel segment, ethic wear is expected to be a preferred category to be shopped by Indian consumers in the mall.
“The segment or the brands that are involved in the ethnic wear collections will perform better. And also the brands that provide the products that are considered more of traditional touches will surely outperform,” says Ali.
“Festive season is all about shopping and celebration. Customers buy everything from clothes to home decor to electronic items and others. So, all the brands are expected to fare well,” concludes Bector.

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