Malls have grown enough at least in the key metros for one to drive certain factors of success on comparison when customers choose you over others. The brand mix in most malls of the same category is highly overlapping. Some other factors contribute to USPs including facilities, design, entertainment etc but a critical factor in this is the effectiveness of the mall management. Mall management has been identified as a critical factor for the success of malls and the retail industry across the world.
From managing operations, facilities, security, accounts, marketing & promotion, leasing and all the other functions are the important facets to run a mall successfully. A mall is a large, dynamic macro organism which needs constant supervision, intervention and care. It is functional seven days a week and needs an effective management system to not only run the day to day operations but also maintain commercial viability, making dynamic changes to strategy, retail mix and promotions on an ongoing basis.
There are certain key elements contributing to effective mall management
Develop Good Leasing Skills: There has been shift from sale model to leased model for financing of most malls. There was a time, when retailers were ready to pay the rentals demanded just to get space. Things have been changed now. Over the last few years, several hybrid rental and leasing models have emerged in marketing of malls. There are various types of SOPs offered by mall developers today and they are constantly tweaking rentals and emerging with innovative deals offering value added services, in an effort to attract and retain the right retailers.
Prioritise Utilities: Most basic utilities are taken for granted such as power, water, sewage disposal, and pollution control. But if utilities offered by a mall go beyond the basics, patrons are bound to take note and this adds to their entire mall experience. Home delivery, free wife, hands-free shopping are some such examples of giving time and attention to providing the right kind of utilities seeded in a deeper understanding of the buyers behaviour.
Hassle-free Parking: Managing parking in a mall is a tedious yet crucial factor. A well-managed parking with adequate space and an effective valet service has proven to impact repeat footfalls. Additionally, parking generates valuable data that helps in mapping footfall. Traffic analysis, time spent per visit, and frequency of repeat visits give valuable insights to the mall management as well.
Engaging Marketing Calendar: If we remained dependent vanilla footfall and sales without making an effort to impact the same by over & above initiatives – growth will inevitably stagnate. A robust marketing calendar is essential to keep a mall environment buzzing.
Mall décor is an essential element here. We at Select CITYWALK are crowd sourcing talent for mall décor and installations with our initiative – the Designagram. Designers and students can showcase their talent with us as we emerge as a platform for celebrating art across mediums across our various spaces.
In terms of activations and promotions – some things are now hygiene like Diwali, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Here most malls have special pop up markets, offers and activities and hence we are vying in a competitive space. The real success lies in what we do outside of the conventional calendar events – in form of our own IPs. We have developed such unique annual initiatives – ‘Cause for the paws’ our abandoned pet adoption drive along with ‘Tribute to Kargil war heroes’ has been a huge success. We have also recently done events in collaboration with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation supporting the drive against plastic pollution.
We find people are looking for something beyond entertainment and retail – we find a much deeper and meaningful connection with our patrons via such initiatives.
Mall Management – An Art & Science
There is no manual we can refer to in order to get mall management right. It is a constantly evolving and learning process.
We must appreciate the science behind this and know how to crunch the data we have access to today, thanks to tech solutions which allow us to map and predict buyer behaviour allowing for informed decision making.
However, one must equally have a strong instinct to catch the pulse of mall retail and that of your own patrons to get a sense of what works – which may not only reflect in numbers but requires a certain amount of flair. If one can balance both – the management of a mall can lay the foundation for long term success.