If one were to map out the last decade in the history of Indian Shopping Centres, the rapid changes will be evident to the fact that our industry is growing and evolving at a rapid pace. The only way to be effective is to constantly be able to adapt to change and keep up or get left out. In such an environment, the most important aspect to ensure the mall is a well-oiled machine is the efficiency of the mall management.
Experts have said that good mall management plays a significant role in maintaining and enhancing effectiveness. Developers have realized over the years that a mall can’t be treated as real estate but almost like a living breathing giant organism which needs constant attention and tending to. Footfall and sales, which are our two key parameters of commercial success have a direct impact from effective management and services. I feel, the most important aspect of effective mall management is to always have a balanced approach towards achieving the best interests of traders as well as our patrons.
For traders, management needs to keep a constant eye on how they are performing even on a micro day-to-day level. We need to predict challenges before they are faced basis our larger experience. Vendors should be able to count on an experienced mall management to council and support them for optimised sales. At Select CITYWALK we ensure a day-to-day account is taken and analysed for all stores in the shopping center and often offer effective support to brands who require an impetus from our side. It has to be a collective collaborative effort for the larger goal of mutual success. Hence a lot of time and attention needs to be spent in analysing and more importantly predicting brand success. Many times, I have observed that mall management tends to focus more on flagship stores driving high revenues. While this must be maintained, the bigger success can be achieved by giving attention to pockets which have not been in the spotlight but can be turned around to effective revenue drivers with the right kind of management intervention and innovation.
For customers, mall management is in fact the key driver for everything experiential beyond the retail experience. We can always build support from retailers to develop the customer experience, but my observation is that over the years, customer stickiness is more dependent on softer aspects like ambience, service and experiences. Let us face it, a majority of brands in most mall spaces are overlapping. Even within a ten-kilometer radius, today one can find multiple mall options in most urban cities of India. Hence the one differentiator which drives customer loyalty to patronize a specific space is the preferred shopping experience.
At Select CITYWALK we are currently running our brand campaign on this very theme. ‘Here for you’ is a campaign we have launched to highlight to patrons that the shopping center is a space they can call their own. It is a place to shop, eat, be fit and most importantly be happy. Small delight factors like preferred parking spots for women and the physically challenged, baby rooms and a big outdoor plaza teeming with exhibits and performances ensure that the mall becomes a space for social congregation much beyond the shopping experience alone. The management needs to constantly innovate these services and initiatives to ensure there is always something that differentiates the experience hence lending back to our basic core success factors.
I also feel success should be measured by quality more than quantity of engagement the management generates from both brands and customers. How willing are the brands to participate in collaborative promotions, how engaged are our walk ins in terms of longevity are more critical to long term success in mall management than only being focused on driving numbers.
If we achieve this balance and realise the direct impact of effective mall management, we are bound to succeed.