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Digital Mall of Asia: Redefining shopping experience in India

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Convenience and ease of purchase have become key decision making factors for retail consumers and Omnichannel provides consumers with varied options to achieve this objective.

The conflict between online and physical stores is fading, as both the platforms have come together and retailers now focus on establishing themselves strongly on both the mediums to provide a comprehensive user experience to their customers. Today, the world of retail is adopting technology faster than ever before in a bid to provide seamless experience across various retail channels.

It seems, this wasn’t enough and to redefine the global retail and e-commerce industry going ahead, (DMA), a first-of-its-kind digital e-commerce platform merging the real estate and the digital spaces, has recently announced the launch of its Noida mall.

The upcoming digital mall will set an unprecedented example of how online portals and brick-and-mortar retailers can transcend the digital-physical divide to optimise their consumer outreach and revenue generation.

An initiative by ., DMA is a disruptive innovation by an Indian organization recreating the experience of a physical mall in the digital space.

How Will it Work?

Going beyond the concept of a typical e-commerce portal, DMA’s Noida mall will have 11 towers with 10 floors each, adding up to a total of more than 5,000 stores and an available inventory currently worth approximately Rs 500 crore. The mall will incorporate visual and sensory elements to offer an immersive, stimulating environment and will have dedicated towers for different categories such as men, women, kids, electronics, home and kitchen, education, financial services, food court, hypermarket, digiplex, and online nightclub.

“DMA is not just a typical e-commerce portal meant for shopping online. It will have all the entities that make up a physical mall, thereby recreating one virtually. Therefore, a user would feel as if they are inside a virtual mall when they would visit the website, thanks to a simulated environment incorporating visual and sensory elements,” says , Managing Director and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia.

Apart from this, the mall addresses challenges that retailers often face and empowers them to maximise their business footprint with innovative digital offerings and an unmatched value proposition. It operates on a zero commission model; retailers don’t have to pay anything apart from the rent, a major revolution in a space where all the major e-commerce players charge somewhere between 5-35 percent of the revenue.

Moreover, the mall organization will provide an immediate settlement of all payments received, ensuring complete transparency and reliability. It is also working towards completely eradicating the issue of the sale of counterfeit or fake merchandise.

“At DMA brands/ retailers can rent a shop in the city/ tower/ floor of their choice for as low as `10,000 per month and get the exclusive rights to sell a particular product category/ brand in a city,” shares Mehra.

“The mall offers equal convenience to the shoppers by ensuring delivery within 2-24 hours, offline presence of supplier in the city and 100 percent payment on delivery,” he adds.

The Value Addition

By creating a new ‘digital asset’ class providing attractive returns, DMA also envisions to transform the general perception towards the term ‘investment’ while ensuring security, profit, and convenience for investors. The shops in the Noida mall are available for both sale (to investors) and rental (to retailers), whereas the shops in the rest of the 20 cities are available only for rent at present.

“This project is aimed at serving many purposes, from an industry-wide transformation to retailer empowerment through our zero-commission model. But most importantly, DMA is our effort against data colonization,” says Mehra.

“There is no revenue sharing arrangement with the retailers. The retailer/ brand will take a digital shop on rent and integrate their physical store to a digital store at digital mall of Asia. The retailer will only pay a fixed nominal rental along with maintenance every month irrespective of the sales figures,” he adds.

The mall is already in talks with brands like , Raymond, , , , , , Byford, , Being Human, , and many more for men’s clothing tower in a city.

Technology – The Backbone of Success

DMA is aiming to incorporate emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) for an enhanced user experience. It aims to digitally re-create the shopping-at-mall experience of an individual.

“The innovative nature of this initiative will take the form of the ‘Virtual Trial Room’ where a customer will be able to try and browse through the products just like at any other offline space of a mall or a shopping centre. The application interface for the consumers will be available on the web, along with iOS and Android devices,” he states.

“A combination of frameworks like React Native, ReactJS, and NodeJS back the applications and the virtual platform. Meeting a critical need in thee-commerce market, Virtual Trail Room will be the most unique aspect of the application which will allow users to digitally try out the merchandise displayed on the virtual mall,” he adds.

Expansion Plans

The company has invested approx Rs 147 crore since its inception and dedicated approx Rs 52.124 crore only for the development of the application and the web portal.
“The launch in Noida also marks DMA’s first step towards a pan-India launch in 20 cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Coimbatore etc. After a pan-India expansion, DMA plans to expand its operations across the Asian market and has already begun the process of seller registration in China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore,” Mehra states.

Every city will have a different mall but all the malls will be part of the same portal. As consumer changes the city, the mall changes. 20 malls will be operational in phase 1 in different Indian cities where maximum online shopping happens.