Esplanade One, owned by Nexus Malls, has been operational in July 2018, and is all set to become the biggest mall of the Bhubaneshwar region. The project, which is in its final phase of completion, is located in Rasulgarh and is built by Leighton, a major construction and contracting company based out of Australia.
The mall covers a total commercial space of 1,000,000 sq.ft. spread over 10 floors with more than 150 operators in retail, food and entertainment. The mall counts Mexican multiplex chain Cinepolis – with a committed a seven-screen multiplex and a seating capacity of 1250 – as one of its key anchor tenants.
In an exclusive interview, Jayen Naik, Senior Vice President, Operations and Projects, Nexus Malls, reveals all there is to know about Esplanade One.
Location Strategy: Why Bhubaneshwar?
“Nexus Malls bought Esplanade One from the Forum Group in early 2018. Before making the acquisition in Bhubaneshwar, we did a lot of research work. The outcome of research was very overwhelming. We came to know that the aspirations and desires of the people of Odisha have been evolving at rapid pace in the last five years or so. With the government’s thrust on making Odisha a hub for education and skill development of youth, the cities like Bhubaneshwar are seeing a huge influx of youth coming for education and training. Coupled with the investment by the IT sector, Bhubaneshwar is fast becoming a city of opportunities. This obviously has led to increased awareness and demand for international brands, novel ways of entertainment and desire to try out new cuisines and food options.
Location plays a very important role in determining the success of the mall. Esplanade One is located in Rasulgarh, near the Cuttack-Puri Highway and is easily accessible for people from all the nearby cities. It is also very close to Janpath, a prominent area in Bhubaneswar.
In my opinion, the success of an asset hugely depends on two things
– Retailers’ satisfaction
– Customer satisfaction
Both of them play a very critical role in determining what that asset would mean to not just the immediate catchment, but for the city in general. Besides shopping, customers always look for a new reason to spend time at any given place. As malls, the onus is on us to give them that reason to come to us, spend more time and become the destination of choice for them when they are planning how to spend their leisure time. The more time that they spend at the mall, the more likely they are to spend at the asset.
For the retailers on the other hand, it is important that they keep getting footfalls and repeat customers to the mall. When the event and activities are planned at the mall, the owners need to ensure that retailers are roped in as active partners.
What makes Esplanade Special: USP
Over the last 18 months at Nexus Malls, we have upped our game in terms of the experience that we want to deliver to our patrons. We have conceptualized and executed several digital innovations at the mall and those were very well received by retailers and shoppers alike. We were the first mall company India, to host a full scale Augmented Reality show across a few of the malls in our portfolio. The first day of the activity saw an organic reach of over a million on our Facebook fan page. We saw a surge in footfalls during that week and our social media pages were full of reactions and comments.
We followed it up with a Digital Pictionary, which we executed in association with Mattel. This was a special experiential event curated for the Children’s Day weekend. All of us grew up playing Pictionary, this one, was with a Digital twist. Here, a mime artist played the game with kids who visited the mall virtually, through a LED screen and gratified over 300 kids who participated over the two days resulting in providing another unique experience, which became very popular and caught the attention of our patrons. We at Nexus give importance to the consumer experience and to make it better, we keep ourselves updated with the technology to fulfil the demands.
We at Nexus have always believed in providing the aware customer of today with the latest offerings in Shopping, entertainment and food, whilst maintaining World class benchmarks in Safety, Security, Hygiene and Comfort (even parking comfort), coupled with the Indian warmth and culture. This unique experience is what we term as the ‘Nexus Experience’ and that we feel is our differentiating factor,” explained Nair.
Zoning of Brands
Formulating the right tenant mix based on zoning not only helps attract and retain shoppers by offering them multiple choices and satisfying multiple needs, but also facilitates the smooth movement of shoppers within the mall, avoiding clusters and bottlenecks. This helps influence shoppers’ mall preference and frequency of visits. It also helps in building a distinct image in the minds of shoppers, which is extremely critical.
“I think the belief in the brand philosophy has to be strong. The proposition has to be undebatable. Being located in a mall or on high streets is about individual budgetary choices. Both has its own set of pros and cons. But I strongly feel that brands do not get lost in the crowd in mall. Rather a strong backend support is required and at Esplanade, our focus is to be keeping the brands right on track,” said Nair.
At Esplanade One, every floor has a distinct character. There is no differentiation between international or indigenous brands. Each brand enjoys their share of limelight. It is quality that drives customer connect.
F&B and FEC
F&B and FEC are the two most important pillars on the future of mall depend. As we all know, shopping alone could lead to the downfall of an asset. Malls are no longer just shopping destinations, but they are more of community centres. The success of a mall hugely depends on how it caters to the people walking in. It is imperative that malls now cater to all age groups and they deliver a unique experience each time that they visit. Therefore, a large number of the footfalls are fully dependent on these two segments.
Odisha is just beginning to open itself up to various national and international cuisines. Knowing this fact, we have tried to put together a good mix of national and international food brands which can cater to the palette of everyone who visits the mall. In fact, knowing how rooted the Odiya people are to traditional food, we have reached out to some of the popular brands here and they would also be at our food court.
Malls are a primary source to not only fulfill the above needs and wants of the new generation but also acts as a community hub to bring together all the people to celebrate various events and festivals. Esplanade One is precisely designed and has the composite brand mix encompassing all facets of shopping, entertainment and food under one roof which will revolutionize retail of not just Bhubaneshwar but Odisha as a whole.
Esplanade One already has a packed activity calendar, which is planned as per necessity of the local market targeting to the needs of the local population. Based on the learnings from other malls in our portfolio, we have a variety of activities and digital innovations which we are capable of executing at Esplanade One as well.