Inorbit Malls (India) Private Limited, a subsidiary of the K. Raheja Corp, is a pioneer of the mall culture in India. Inorbit Mall Malad is completing 17 years in January 2021, a major achievement for the brand, which has evolved as one of the most preferred shopping destinations in Mumbai.
During the unlocking phase when shopping malls were finally given the green signal in Maharashtra to open up, Inorbit Malad and Vashi introduced various conveniences driven services that provided a safe and accessible shopping experience for consumers, both online and offline. Both malls in Mumbai started a video calling facility wherein consumers could select products through a video call and get their shopping products home delivered. Aside from this, there was curb side pick-up service which enabled consumers to select and pay online and simply drive through to the mall to collect their shopping bags. New services of home delivery, catalogue sharing on WhatsApp video call, drive through shopping, have all been aimed at making shopping safe, convenient and fun for the patrons of the mall.
In an exclusive interaction with Shopping Centre News Bureau, Naviin Ibhrampurkar, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Inorbit Malls talks about how the brand overcame this challenging period and is now ready to expand its offerings by launching 23 new stores across its portfolio.
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us how Inorbit Malls fared in the last quarter of the year – which led to the revival of the industry?
The festive quarter witnessed good consumption across properties. The opening of multiplexes and FECs has helped bring in incremental footfall. So, the festive season brought in much-needed cheer amongst families and gave them a reason to step out and visit the mall.
How has been the start of the new year (2021) been for all Inorbit Malls in terms of business and footfalls?
Our malls were decked up early for Christmas and this time we offered our customers unique décor experiences at our mall, like the drive in Christmas park at Inorbit Malad attracted multiple city bloggers, celebrities, couples and customers to come and witness the splendid light and sound arrangements and shoot Instagram reels, dance videos, wedding shoots etc. Hence the month of December was good and now with the end of season sale we are confident January will contribute well. Whether it is purchasing trendy clothes at a great discount or getting the latest electronics on irresistible offers, customers look forward to the flat 50 percent sale.
Inorbit Malls is all set to expand its offerings with the launch of 23 new stores. Tell us more about this.
In the past few months, we have added a mix of several new brands to our fashion and F&B portfolios including Under Armour, Toysrus, Harman JBL, Birkenstock, Cold Stone Creamery, Kenny Rogers Roasters etc. We curate the brand assortment in alignment with our market positioning to create the right experience for our preferred customers
Which are the brands that are opening their store in your malls? Is there a particular category which is more in demand?
Due to reasons like work from home, strict rules around weddings, occasions, and social gatherings the reason to shop has changed. The consumer no longer indulges in impulsive buying. Since people are comfortable being at home, fashion preferences too have changed, and brands have adapted to this change by launching relevant assortments. We have observed a growing trend for loungewear and casualwear.
How have malls changed the traditional ways of doing things in the new normal? Tell us in the perspective of Inorbit Malls?
This year, due to COVID-19 and other social distancing norms, we did not have on-ground events and promotions. I think this has been true for all malls. Inorbit took many steps to engage its audience on its social media platforms with shop and win offers, contests and virtual parties with influencers and celebrities. We invited multiple bloggers to come and showcase the festive collection to our customers.
In terms of trends and consumer behaviour, how do you think the year 2021 will be for Inorbit malls?
A lot of our retail partners have started growing their online businesses and service online demand using stores in our malls. Delivering from their own stores helps retailers maintain quality and authenticity. There is a whole new evolution in behaviour, and everyone is trying to accept and move forward with the transition. Businesses are focussing on cost efficiencies and regaining customers trust. Brands are taking the contactless, appointment based and tech driven route. Technological integration has enhanced the human interface. Formats like self check-in and self check-out could be the next emerging trends.
After the lockdown, Inorbit came up with many innovations to reach out to its consumer base. Can you highlight them?
A large number of consumers have embraced digital mediums of shopping so at Inorbit, we have enabled convenience driven shopping experiences like video calling / virtual shopping and curb or drive-in pick up from the mall. We also reached out to housing societies by setting up shopping stalls of mall brands inside premium residential complexes. With this initiative residents could safely shop within their housing complexes. We wanted a safe shopping experience at the customer’s doorstep, and we wanted to let customers experience the joy of shopping once again. Overall, the response was very good. Some brands even did sales equivalent to what they do at the mall in a single day.
Tell us about your expansion plans? Has the opening up of theatres / multiplexes driven footfalls or do you think, the recovery period for FECs is still a long way to go?
Leisure and entertainment is an important part of the Indian culture and malls are social spaces. In a mall, multiplexes and FEC zones are crowd pullers. Hence we are expecting a faster recovery now that these have been given the green signal. At Inorbit, we are constantly evaluating opportunities for expansion and want to grow our portfolio. Hopefully, we should be announcing something new and exciting next year.