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Engaging and enthralling the customer at the shopping centre

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The customer was, and always will, remain the king. And when a king walks in anywhere, he deserves a royal welcome, royal treatment. And of course, kings love to be entertained.

With the majority of malls in India housing the same set of brands and F&B options, it becomes imperative to put in an extra effort to narrow down the customer engagement initiatives that will keep visitors enthralled and entertained.

The Need

Naviin Ibhrampurkar, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Inorbit Malls (India) Pvt. Ltd. highlights the most important fact of the topic – that given the dynamics of ‘going out’ that we have today, malls are the preferred choice for out of home time with family and friends, hence to ensure contribution of wallet share from these consumers, it is important that customer engagement is considered as an on-going interaction. He says, “It is not just about when the customer is at the mall, it’s about how and why does he think of you when he is not at the mall.”

Highlighting the concept and relevance of customer engagement, Mukesh Kumar, Senior Vice President – Infiniti Mall feels that customer engagement is the strongest indicator of customers’ feelings about the brand and the definition varies from product to product or services. He shares, “It is the pathway to everything good that a business could want like customer loyalty, brand awareness, and buying experience.”

Rajendra Kalkar, President West, Phoenix Mills Ltd. points out that customer engagement is all about encouraging the customers to interact and share the experiences that are created for them as an entertainment and a lifestyle destination. He stresses on the fact that these help in creating brand growth, loyalty and value in the minds of the customers that may not necessarily result in revenue extraction.

Citing an example of how customer engagement initiatives can really push the customer to feel a part of the entire property, Nishank Joshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Nexus Malls shared, “The importance of customer-engagement has evolved over the years. To stand tall in the competitive market you need to have constant communication with the customers; like in our Amritsar Mall where we did a live reality show. The top 20 contestants were asked to stay in the mall for 72 hrs and they were not allowed to leave the mall. They performed various tasks to win the top two big prizes – car and a bike. Customer engagement today is a very dynamic concept that keeps on changing depending on what excites the customers.”

Ibhrampurkar further adds, “Customer engagement these days come in different forms like digital and on ground engagement. It is essential to connect with consumers by using a combination of different mediums. Sometimes it is a communication process and other times it may involve structural changes in the product.”

Inorbit has a lot many firsts to its credit of revolutionizing the mall culture in India and they have also been the first mall in the country to introduce the shop online feature for their Mumbai locations i.e. Malad and Vashi mall. With this feature activated, their consumers can either buy their product online from Inorbit mall and get same day delivery or reserve the product and pick it up at the mall.

While having customer engagement initiatives is imperative, one also needs to ensure that the initiatives aren’t over the top or intrusive in nature. Kalkar shares, “While we always look forward to hosting exciting gigs and entertaining activities at the mall, we also ensure and take great care in making the whole experience non-intrusive allowing the customers to have a peaceful shopping experience. We have strict guidelines in place that emphasize heavily on non-solicitation of the shoppers and we maintain the sound at the desired decibel levels which does not interrupt their routine.”

Rima Pradhan, Senior Vice President, Marketing at Viviana Mall adds, “Going deep into the personal information, continuous spamming inboxes, forcing customers for feedback, be it manual or automated, giving a credit card company a kiosk at the entrance of the mall, bombarding with SMSes or WhatsApp’s every day, etc. is some of the customer engagement initiatives that can be described to be overdoing. Regular engagement does not mean forced engagement; a mall needs to understand that the customer is in the mall or connected with the mall socially because the customer wants to spend quality time which is precious for the customer given the hectic schedule everyone has.”

Attracting Through the Ambience

Music, colors and a treat to the eyes through perhaps an enchanting water fountain, a gigantic sculpture or a floral prop go a long way in attracting the shoppers at a mall. These either serve as a backdrop for selfies or they become the talking point in town and a ‘must see’ of sorts, especially during school vacations.

Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific India Group rightly points out that atrium being the nerve center of a mall is the place where most of the action is possible. He shares, “It is the first place that comes to notice and is the main center of attraction constantly buzzing with activities, exhibitions, contests and performances.”

Pacific Mall had a massive 18 feet high replica of Taj Mahal in February 2017 and a few months later along with India’s First Ever Scuba Diving in a mall, they also had a 40 feet submarine in the atrium giving a feeling of it breaking from the ground and emerging into the atrium. The submarine was so large that all their summer activities were carried out in it.

Kalkar shares how a beautiful décor complementing the season and festivities of the year with great storytelling behind it has always attracted the shoppers here enhancing their experience. To add in richness with a purpose, at High Street Phoenix they work in tandem with many artists and provide the atrium space as a platform to showcase their creativity.

He adds, “The best example to explain this is Mumbai’s Iconic Chimney which stands tall in the premise of High Street Phoenix. To pay a tribute to the iconic symbol of a veritable era, we revamped the Chimney depicting art, culture, and Fashion- the three main elements that the mall offers. The entire Chimney has been lighted up with 55,000 special LED bulbs, the design is inspired by the shapes of diamond used in a crown that dazzles on the structure making it serve as the new beacon of light in the city for brighter times ahead. With such installations, we ensure that the customers always come back to us looking for more such epic backdrops for their selfies where we also have a story to share with them.”

Ibhrampurkar talks about how the atrium space at Inorbit is enlivened, “At Inorbit, the mall décor is themed basis different festivals, with larger than life welcome arches, specially curated installations, selfie points etc. Recently we created a photo opportunity on Valentine’s Day at Malad, which had an old model of scooter nicely painted and decorated. Visitors could pose on the scooter and get them clicked.”

Adding in Surprises

With F&B and entertainment options running common across malls, adding in out of the box activities and options is what sets the mall apart. Kumar talks about how they have added a delight for their patron’s right within the mall, “We have roller coaster ride inside the mall and has one of the best family entertainment center which is really remarkable and contributes to the customer engagement. The inside game provides a fascinating experience which is more secure and comfortable in an air-conditioned environment. To encourage small enterprises we host Flee Market at both the malls.”

Thursdays are a delight at High Street Phoenix. Kalkar shares the reason, “Every Thursday, we host ‘Zama Thursdays’ a unique organic market which not only offers fresh fruits and vegetable but also has a new offering every week like exotic cheese, varieties of bread, baby salads, etc. This is an initiative to make these products easily accessible to the customers on a weekly basis.”

Catering to Kids

Children hold the decision power for an evening out and keeping in mind that a mall provided end to end entertainment – from shopping to eating out to watching a movie, it eventually becomes the favorite destination for them. Little wonder we have the majority of the malls holding contests and activities with children being their prime focus.

Kumar adds, “Today, kids are passive decision makers and future brand ambassadors. Events and activities that are curated considering their comfort and how well they spend leisure time in safe and secure environment get more attractions.”

At High Street Phoenix, children even have the option for attending kids’ screenings! Kalkar shares, “We screen movies for kids. On a regular basis, we tie up with various schools targeting different region-specific where we get about 100- 150 children coming for the movie which are usually animated ones which may have released recently. Post the movie we also host them for a small DIY workshop. We invite Mommy bloggers for the same with their kids who post about these activities.”

Pradhan shares, “We are a family destination mall. Children are the heart of the family and so for our campaigns. Also, Children are the ones that are more expressive in terms of the emotions; they are more enthusiastic and sportive to participate in engagement programs. Not only are they one of our major ‘pull’ factor but they are also our biggest critic. An adult or a senior citizen might not express his or her displeasure towards a campaign directly but if a child doesn’t like it, you cannot help it; the child will not appreciate your efforts even if you have put your soul to the campaign.”

She adds, “Competition and contests becomes a motivating factor that helps in motivating kids to show their talent and also win prizes and rewards. One of the activities that we did on World Environment Day was – we installed an artificial ‘Hug & Heal’ tree to create awareness towards tree plantation. We gave kids a chance to write their own eco-friendly messages and tie on the branches of the Hug and Heal tree. The response was phenomenal; kids wrote such amazing and heart touching messages, that we could feel our message of saving environment getting passed to the future leaders of our nation. They also participated wholeheartedly in the special workshop arranged to educate customers on the protection of trees, quality and proportion of soil to be used, composting process, etc.”

Out of the Box Activities at Premium Malls

Inorbit Mall: According to Ibhrampurkar, at Inorbit they host more than 250 events in a year. Community connects initiatives like Pink Power, Family and Kids centric events like The International Clown Festival and Baccha Bollywood have evolved as the most popular initiatives. At their Hyderabad mall, they hosted an open-air movie screening this month, where shoppers could enjoy classic movies sitting in an open arena under the moon and stars. Other acts like standup comedy performances are also conducted every month in the garden space outside the mall. The Christmas of 2017 at Inorbit had a treat in place for its shoppers with a 10 day long extravagant Christmas celebration filled with activities and attractions for kids and families. The shoppers were gratified with gifts, shopping vouchers and Christmas cookies. For the first time in India, the most popular character – Doraemon with his friends visited all the five locations (Malad, Vashi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vadodara) to meet their little friends.

Infiniti Mall: At Infiniti, the mall initiated a contest wherein customers have to click a picture with their shopping bags in the mall and win prizes by posting it on social media tagging Infiniti. The other contest was that of making a shopping gang and visiting the mall, clicking a picture with the gang and win prizes. Infiniti Mall runs targeted interactive mall promotions regularly to bring the entire shopping experience to life. For example, Christmas Carnival was held in the month of December. From Christmas Carol singing, Santa parades, fun activities with paddle boat ride to bungee jumping everything was made available for kids, the Mall had organised a slew of activities to woo the young and the old alike during this 11 days of celebration.

H1 of 2017 seen a new avatar of Infiniti mall with an array of innovative events to provide a great experience to its consumers such as Super Saturdays – a musical performance, Moving Artist @ Planet Infiniti, Thrilling Thursdays, Culture Summer Dance Festival, No TV Day with HT, Big Binge Beer Fest, Auto Show, Taiwan Gaming Excellence, Max Fashion Show and much more. Further, the mall had successfully arranged a yoga session for health enthusiasm at both the location (Andheri and Malad) during International Yoga Day for the citizens of Mumbai.

High Street Phoenix: At High Street Phoenix, there was a road show by LFC World (Liverpool Fan Club) where fans could meet and greet Liverpool FC Legends Sami Hyypiä, Robbie Fowler, Luis Garcia and Vladimir. The mall also hosted the promotion of the Netflix movie Bright where Hollywood actor, Will Smith and the entire cast of the movie had graced the event. Another remarkable event that needs a mention is where they recently hosted was the 70th Anniversary of the Ferrari Car event where owners of all the Ferrari cars did a leisure drive starting from BKC and concluded at the Festival Square of High Street Phoenix. Around 50 Ferrari cars were parked for the event for the viewers to see.

Pacific Mall: At Pacific, the various innovative customer engagement initiatives include – Scuba Diving, 50ft Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Bhangra workshops, Baby Wear Dance etc. They have also started a special web series with their mall customers called ‘Mall-o-Holic’ where customers are encouraged to engage in various quizzes, conversation and activities. The most successful one was ‘Scuba Diving’ where they had certified trainers from Dive India which is India’s largest Dive Center to provide a safe and real-life Scuba Diving experience.

Viviana Mall: At Viviana Mall, they organized ‘The Pawsome Show’ to generate awareness about pets who are abandoned by their owners once they grow old and the Indian dogs who are ignored and preference being given to international breeds. Many dog rescuers and pet lover’s unfolded emotional stories of dogs rescued; the challenges they have to go through in the society, scarce availability of medical facilities, etc. The ‘Pawsome Show’ not only touched the emotions of the thousands of audiences at Viviana Mall but also gave an opportunity to the unsung heroes in our society who pledged to give a better life to these abandoned pets to share their experiences. Many pets were adopted during the adoption drive organized at the event. Another fantastic initiative was that of having Noise Free Garba. The Garba and Dandiya during the festival were played in an eco-friendly manner using headphones. The mall welcomed Garba fans to be a part of the pollution free campaign by participating and playing silent Garba in the mall. Thousands of visitors enrolled to participate for the silent Garba.

Nexus Malls: Nexus held a very niche contest at one of their mall in Amritsar. It began with the live reality show where the top 20 contestants were asked to stay in the mall for 72 hrs and they were not allowed to leave the mall. They performed various tasks to win. The Digital Dusshera hosted across all properties of Nexus Malls – Seawoods Grand Central Mall, Ahmedabad One, Mall of Amritsar, Elante, and West End Mall met with an overwhelming response. This was a social engagement where patrons burned the ‘Digital Ravan’. Through the ‘Digital Dussehra’ initiative, the intention was to inspire people to overcome their evil habits/traits which they wished to get rid of. The campaign received a resounding 25 million hits in just two days.

A lot of media hype was created with their unique augmented reality show that gave viewers an arctic experience. Blue whales emerged out of the glacier waters of the Arctic Ocean. There was a white polar bear which suddenly came out of the water and started to growl. The Penguins came in flocks and danced around endearingly. That was a sight to behold for both kids and adults alike. This was followed up Pictionary challenge, held for the first time ever in Maharashtra, and many more.

This year, they enthralled their shoppers by introducing an exciting offer — *99 sales, a part of End of Season sale. They together with a handful of retailers across all their malls and organized a specific market where products under the ‘*99 Sale’ were available at large to enhance consumer shopping experience.

Setting the Calendar and Involving Retailers

Nothing comes free and more so when it is about ‘retaining a customer’ and keeping him ‘engaged and entertained’ at the same time. So, how do malls fuel their activities considering the scale is usually high. Ibhrampurkar shares the modus operandi in place at Inorbit, “Special Retail Connect meetings are conducted every month in which retail brands are invited for brainstorming ideas and co-create events together. At the beginning of the year, there are specific budgets assigned to conduct events and engagement in the mall. Marketing teams are also liable to source external sponsorships and tie-ups to amplify the scale of events. A lot of times in-house retail brands come forward and sponsor gift vouchers, gifts etc. and in exchange request for promotion or signage visibility from the mall team.”

He adds, “Our retail brands partner with us in our initiatives and support our events in various ways like offering sponsorships, gift vouchers, physical products as gifts for customers, free samples, free services etc.”

Kalkar talks about how actively the retailers are involved in the decision-making process for various initiatives that they have. He explains, “We believe in working closely with our retailers and creating great content and experiences that are beneficial for them and serves as a delight for the mall patrons. Most of the events planned in our calendar are co-curated by our retailers. We encourage participation of our brands for most of our events, which helps them gain more visibility and drives in more footfalls to their store. We also include them in our mall curated IP’s for example last year we hosted the Smoked Food Festival where we had our in-house restaurants being a part of it on who- so- ever could participate in the same where they had to create a special smoked food menu at their restaurants as a part of the initiative.”

Bansal points out that they receive support from a majority of the leading brands for marketing activities through participation, give away, offers etc. but there is no separate cost that is passed on to their retailers for individual customer engagement initiatives and activities.

Viviana has an interesting system in place where inspire of having an annual calendar in place, they review it every quarter to ensure that their plans are in sync with the trends that are doing rounds currently. Pradhan shares, “It is very important that a mall strategizes according to the requirements of its patrons. We cannot initiate an activity based on the trend that is outdated or does not have meat enough to create the excitement level that we expect. Hence, we review and modify our plans every quarter before executing any initiative. It also helps us in coming up with fresh ideas every quarter.”

She further adds, “Every week, we plan various initiatives for our hugely popular theme, ‘Celebrate Everyday’. The objective of ‘Celebrate Everyday’ initiative is to give customers a reason to celebrate every day in Viviana Mall. Under the celebrate everyday initiative comes regular event like ‘Monday Mania’ in which we have a Social media contest, ‘Tuesday Treats’ in which we provide special offers and free food tasting sessions, ‘Women’s Wednesday’ in which we conduct special workshops and free services for women, on Thursday we have ‘Gaming Guruvar’ which gives experience of Live Casino and Indoor Games for customers, ‘Filmy Friday’ which is a movie based social media contest, ‘Saturday V4 Music’ for some mesmerizing live band performance and a much followed special ‘Social Media Shopping Contest’ on Sunday.”

Community Connect

Involving customers in a social cause can be highly satisfying for them. For the customers, it becomes ‘shopping with a cause’ and this can be an enticing factor for them as well.

Pradhan highlights why clubbing customer engagement initiatives with social engagement activities is important. She shares, “that most of the social engagement activities are aimed at generating awareness towards a cause or wants participation towards it but what’s the use; if a discussion about such causes is done indoors where people who are already aware of it discuss about it. It has to come out of the discussion rooms and reach the public. If the objective and motives clearly defined, a customer engagement activity can be clubbed with social engagement activity.”

She points out how ‘The Pawsome Show’ initiative is an ideal example of a customer engagement initiative that was clubbed successfully with a social engagement /community service initiatives. The objective of the initiative was to generate awareness towards dogs that were abandoned by the owners once they grow old and the Indian dogs whom our society is ignoring giving preference to international breeds.

She shares, “We had arranged an adoption drive for such pets but keeping it has only an adoption drive would not have gathered the kind of response we expected. Hence, we invited our patrons along with their pets to be a part of a special fashion show for pets and the response was phenomenal. Even before the event, the response on social media was great. The surviving stories of the rescued dogs reached to thousands of visitors and many pets were adopted during the adoption drive organized at the event.”

Ibhrampurkar shares, “Customers like to be a part of social service initiatives. Every year, during Christmas, we host ‘The Tree of Smiles’ campaign at all the five locations of Inorbit Mall. In this campaign, Inorbit gives its shoppers an opportunity to play Santa for underprivileged kids. Through this campaign, patrons can buy gifts like stationery, toys etc. and drop it in the giant stocking set up at the mall. Once the collection drive is over the gifts are handed over to an NGO. This year Inorbit has associated with Smile Foundation – an NGO that works towards the development of underprivileged kids.”

At Infiniti, they regularly have activities like blood donation camps, organ donation awareness, anti-drug awareness program in association with anti-narcotic department of Mumbai and Anti Polio Movement etc. Additionally, this year, the mall in association with The Street Store (TSS) had set up a kiosk at the mall premises allowing people to donate their unused clothes, shoes and accessories.

Kumar elaborates, “Infiniti Mall, Malad held anti-drug awareness program in association with Mindspace and Mumbai Antinarcotic Department. The program was a much needed ‘wake-up call’ to warn people about the harmful effects of drug abuse. The program also had a focus on parents as a way of preventing children from resorting to the use of drugs. The mall along with Mumbai Traffic Police organized awareness program about Traffic Rules and regulations for the citizen.”

An interesting activity by High Street Phoenix in 2017 had patrons enter/play a digital game called the ‘Digital Kitchen’. Kalkar elaborates, “It was a game or a space that we had created digitally where one could enter, choose from the available recipes to cook with help of user-friendly kitchen assistant to stir up a quick meal. For every meal one cooked virtually, High Street Phoenix ensured that a child at Smile Foundation got a freshly cooked hot meal.”

Sharing information on the other community initiative that they had, he shares, “We also host Palladium Anniversary in September, wherein we portion out 5 percent of Palladium brand sales on that particular day and the proceeds are then handed over to an NGO’s like Light of Life Trust that works towards the betterment and transforming the lives of the underprivileged kids. Similarly, for all the kid’s related events and parties such at the time of Christmas, Halloween and Easter that we host at Palladium, the tickets sales proceeds are donated to such NGOs.”

At Pacific, most of their initiatives have a community connect/ social engagement. Elaborating on the same, Bansal shares, “During our larger events like a summer festival, special celebrations we arrange special sessions for children who are a part of some of the NGO’s and Schools that we regularly partner with. In our last summer camp, we had around 45 Kids from Chahat Special School who came to the mall to inaugurate the event and spend the entire day learning and doing fun activities at the mall. We regularly provide space to NGO’s and another special group at the Mall to conduct awareness campaigns and other initiatives, like blood donation camps, health camps to name a few.  Among others, we partner with Tihar Jail to sell products manufactured by in-house prisoners and with Goonjto donate clothes and other essential items. We also periodically carry out Disaster Management Drills involving all concerned authorities i.e. Police, Fire, traffic, MCD. Hospitals etc. and also frequently work with the Police and Traffic teams to conduct various awareness campaigns.”

Measuring the ROI

With lakhs being spent on various customer engagement initiatives, a question that is obvious to pop up is that of how should one gauge its effectiveness? Talking about the action plan in place for the same, Kumar shares, “Measuring the increment in loyalty database is one key mechanism what we use. With the increase in loyalty registration and increase transaction of loyalty points is one good factor which helps us assist our customer engagement initiatives. Along with it, we have footfall count at the entrance that tells us how well the initiatives are working and what alteration needs to be done to create a better engagement experience for our customers.”

At Pacific, the success is measured based n the feedbacks and they also have technology in place to take care of the same. Bansal shares, “Apart from regular feedbacks, social media engagements, we also use some of the latest technologies at the mall to map customer preference and activities, increase in dwell time of customers, the advantage to the retailers, the surge in customer engagement and spend per customer. The analysis gives us valuable insights into our future planning. “

Revealing the mechanism in place to measure the success of the customer engagement initiatives at Viviana, Pradhan shares, “We check the registrations to participate in the activity – Pre-registrations as well as the final registrations that we receive for the activity. Then we also check the footfalls that the mall witnessed during the activity along with changes in social media outcomes – how was the trend across social media platforms for the mall during the week. Trends before, during and post the activity is used to measure the success. Additionally, we also track the sales of the mall did on the day of the activity, to check if the activity is matching our business objectives.”

Locking Loyalty

Loyalty does not come free. It needs to be nurtured and some amount of incentive is needed to keep it intact. This applies practically for everything – be it retail or human relationships. Where showering the person with love, respect and care work wonders when it comes to relationships, for retail it is about pampering the customer, keeping him engaged, entertained and of course letting him know that he would be made to feel special each time he walks into the mall. Kalkar points out how customer loyalty and engagement activities always go hand in hand.

Citing an example, he shares, “We offer these set of people value-added services every time they visit the mall or register for an event. In fact, we plan various events for the regular shoppers, to explain this best, I would like to give an example of the Phoenix Gift Card that we launched last year. While we promoted the Gift Card in our mall through customer engagement we were also creating a database of the customers who bought these cards for their loved ones which indirectly happen to be our loyal customers, who believe in the brands and services we offer and show a loyalty towards us.”

Ibhrampurkar shares, “Highly engaged customers tend to be more loyal – spend more time, visit more frequently, leading to higher consumption.”Reiterating this, Joshi says, “Customer engagement is a lead indicator of customer loyalty and the profitability of the brand. For example, there are multiple brands that are available in various places. But the consumer’s willingness to invest his hard-earned money in the product or service provided by you, this is what customer loyalty is. So, more effectively engaged the customer is, better is the chance to have the customer loyalty.”

Fantastically explaining with an example of how customer engagement and loyalty are correlated, Pradhan brings into discussion their eco-Friendly Ganesha initiative. To hear it in her own words, “In 2015, we collected used paper from 100 households which gave birth to the Paper Mache Ganesha. It was not in association with any brand and the campaign was run solely by Viviana Mall. 300 plus kids from various NGO’s came for the seven days of celebration. In 2016, we invited customers to come and make their own eco-friendly Ganesha idol. All eco-friendly material was provided to the customers from the mall. There were sculptors/trainers who guided them in making Ganesha idol in an eco-friendly manner. Customers wholeheartedly participated in the activity. Visitors at Viviana Mall made a record 411 eco-friendly Ganesha idols in just two days. In 2017, taking a step forward, we arranged a special initiative to assist our customers in making Tree Ganesha on their own and give their support towards the environment. We also created an artificial pond for Visarjan of Ganesha idols in Sheth Zuri premises (a project which is part of our promoter company) next to the mall to promote pollution-free Ganesha festival and protect lakes in Thane from getting polluted.”

She adds, “Our eco-friendly Ganesha initiative has become the talk of the town. We get many suggestions every year a month in advance about how we can take the legacy forward and the feedback post the event is phenomenal. Customers share pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., they write to us through email, feedback forms, and digital platforms. It has turned into a very important event for us to plan months in advance.”

Keeping an Eye on Logistics

Pradhan points out that some special initiatives do require additional and trained manpower. Citing an example, she shares, “For an activity like that we did for World Disabled Day in which we invited the disabled person for showcasing their talent and felicitate them we invited experts to ensure that all our disabled guests are taken care of properly without causing any discomfort to them. Also, we invited a team of experts during ‘The Pawsome show’ event to provide best facilities that included special dog food, grooming facilities, etc. for all the canines that took part in the event.”

“At the mall, there is a management team who handles daily operations of the mall. The mall team along with the outsourced manpower (Housekeeping and security) manages and executes mall events. At times when there are larger events like music concerts, celebrity visits there are special security, valet arrangements done by the mall and the event agency for smooth vehicle and customer movement,” shares Ibhrampurkar.

According to Bansal, “It is only during special events where VIPs and celebrities are involved when extra security is called for.

He explains, “In case of some larger events we do require extra manpower we do call for professionals to support us. Mostly in cases of any VIP/Celebrity visits to the mall or any larger event where we expect huge crowds we employ extra manpower. All our planning is done giving priority to safety and security of customer, retailer and employees.”

Kumar shares, “We have enough bandwidth of housekeeping/ security to manages activities and initiatives however if need be, we call for a spike in manpower requirement through civic deployment. For mega events, we call for additional resources to deploy on the event and occasionally ask for security/police assistance.”

And to conclude, Pradhan aptly shares the things one cannot afford to miss while designing a customer engagement initiative:

– Ensure you have a customer engagement and a customer loyalty plan in place which can be modified or altered as per the changing trends and scenarios
– Create a mechanism such that the turnaround time for a response to a customer feedback and suggestion quick
– Ensure that you provide the best of the services to a customer irrespective of the purchase a customer does
– Create a multi-dimensional solution to understand the behavioral pattern of a customer that can segment and target a customer based on demographics, psychographics, spending behavior, consumer lifetime value and other consumer attributes to ensure that the mall is in sync with the changing trends in the industry
– Make technology your friend – Disruption and adaptation of technology are changing the customer engagement model. Hence, it’s important to make technology your best friend
– Don’t just leave a mark on social media, live it – Customers are on Social media 24 by 7, a mall cannot afford to let their opinion unheard even at night. Social media sites are not only for your fans but it also reflects how much you are concerned about them
– Don’t suffocate the customer – It’s imperative to understand where to draw the line while engaging. The mall should not go overboard so much that the customer gets irritated and blocks every path of communication
– Consumers love that the feedback given by them is adopted by the mall. So it’s always fruitful to try and implement valuable feedback from customers which would be beneficial for both

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