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SCAI launches ‘Trusted Shopping Centre’ Mark; 50+ malls applying to ensure 360° customer care

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Shopping Centers Association of India (SCAI) on Monday marked a new milestone for the Indian Retail and Shopping Centre industry.

The apex body of Modern and Organised retail in India launched the World’s First Consumer Centric ‘Trusted Shopping Centre’ mark certification for malls. This new certification mark – launched under the existing IRF Certification scheme – is a customer centric standard which assures a safe retail and social environment. This new certification mark was launched under the existing IRF Certification scheme.

With the launch of the ‘Trusted Shopping Centre’ Mark, the first ever customer centric standards for malls globally, millions of shoppers in India will be assured of a safe retail and social environment when they visit the certified malls. It will be a third party certification for customer service metrics & benchmarks – audited by globally accredited certification bodies (CBs) and in India NABCB (under Quality Council of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, GoI) accredited CBs in accordance with ISO/IEC 17065.

Speaking on the launch of a new milestone for the Indian Retail and Shopping Centre industry, , Chairman, Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) said, “We are glad to introduce the certification that is poised to set a global benchmark in the customer centric standards for malls. The Indian market has 650 large and over 1,000 small shopping centres offering organized retail environment to shoppers and this ‘Trusted Shopping Centre’ mark certification is critical and has been introduced to step ahead in setting global best practices towards customer service, facilities, systems and infrastructure.”

“This certification shall endeavour to facilitate trade, fair competition and consumer acceptance on a national, regional and international level,” he added.

“It is my great pleasure to know that the IRF Trusted Mark Certification Scheme will achieve yet another milestone with the launch ‘Trusted Shopping Centre’ Mark, the customer centric standards for malls in India. Millions of shoppers in India will be assured of a safe retail and social environment when they visit the certified stores or malls.  India must adopt the best possible customer service mindset and give customers their deserved importance, and I compliment the Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI), all trade bodies and multi stakeholder committees that have worked on developing these customer centric standards with the IRF Trusted Mark Secretariat. I hope that this certification under the internationally recognized national accreditation, the infrastructure for which exists in the Quality Council of India, will help shopping malls and retailers not only to adhere to the stringent standards but also motivate them to continuously improvise on benchmarking customer centric measures that are critical to assure a robust retail environment for customers,” said Dr. R. P. SinghSecretary General, Quality Council of India.

WHY TRUSTED MARK

The ‘Trusted Shopping Centre’ Scheme primarily aims to award certification to retailers and shopping centres that demonstrate superior quality and other characteristics which meet the rigorous requirements of the Trusted Scheme. This aim will further include spreading awareness amongst stakeholders in the industry about the Trusted Scheme and encouraging them to improve the quality of their practices, systems & infrastructure.

It also aims to inform and assure consumers through the certification that retailers and shopping centers, as certified under the Trusted Scheme, are following the comprehensive quality requirements, which in turn are inherently consumer oriented and focused.

There has been overwhelming response to participation in the development and ratification of standards and certification process.

Over 50 SCAI member shopping centres have already agreed to go for the certification in the inaugural batch. These 50 centres with 4000+ retail stores attract over 1.5 million average footfalls per day.

The first 20 applicants in the inaugural batch include shopping centres of India’s top developers like , Phoenix, Pacific, Inorbit, , Sarda, Primarc, MGB and and centres managed by PPZ.

, CEO, Nexus Malls said, “At Nexus Malls, the safety of our patrons, staff and retail partners is of utmost importance to us. Since reopening of malls, we have followed stringent protocols to ensure the highest standards of hygiene and safety across our portfolio. Now that the government has lifted all restrictions and malls have mostly resumed business as usual, the need to provide sanitised and safe conditions becomes more important than ever. The ‘Trusted Shopping Centre’ certification will reassure customers of the certified stores and malls following the best global practices and are compliant with all Covid safety measures as laid down by SCAI and MHA.”

Retailers who have applied for / received this certification include brand / retail chains of Arvind Brands, Big Bazaar, HyperCity & of Future Group, Home Centre of Landmark Group and single brand/multi brand chains like Levi’s, , Ratnadeep Supermarket, , , Sports Station, Haldiram’s, V-Mart, Nike, Naturals, JCB & , Apollo Tyres among others.

BENEFITS OF TRUSTED MARK

Certification to the ‘Trusted’ mark assures that the organisation has adequate systems and infrastructure in place to provide confidence to its customers in the quality of service provided by the organisation and further assures that the systems of the organisation have been independently assessed by an impartial third party. The “Trusted” mark certification shall endeavour to facilitate trade, fair competition and consumer acceptance on a national, regional and international level.

First phase

  1. Strengthens internal systems & processes wrt to customer care
  2. Nothing left to chance wrt Customer promise vs delivery
  3. Everything in black & white – well-drafted, communicated and understood policies/ manuals/SOPs
  4. Clear-cut Responsibilities and Accountabilities
  5. Establish full trustworthiness before earning the Trusted Mark

Second phase

Customer Pull: For consumers, this is assurance that the certified organisations meet the stringent requirements of the Trusted Scheme.

THE NEW NORMAL

The scheme incorporates additional ‘New Normal’ checklists for shopping centers and all retail formats, categories and channels. It aims to assure compliance of safety and hygiene measures by retailers and shopping centres as recommended in SCAI and MoHFW guidelines and SOPs specifically developed by respective trade bodies for retailers across all formats, categories and channels; multiplexes, leisure & entertainment, salons, spas and gyms, restaurants & food courts among others.

Now that government has removed most COVID restrictions w.r.t. opening and timings of operations of malls, multiplexes and restaurants, the certification will help malls in gaining consumer confidence by ensuring them that certified malls and stores follow global best practices and comply with all prescribed regulations.

“The idea of customer centricity is further strengthened by the certification because it includes ensuring a periodical internal checks and mystery audits by real customers trained for the purpose and physical audits of SOPs and implementations by a registered CB. This will in turn push retailers and shopping centres not only to adhere to the stringent standards but also motivate them to continuously improvise and assure a robust retail environment for customers,” Amitabh Taneja explained.

While the Trusted certification is standards-driven that are vital to operate a shopper friendly centre, the IRF Trusted Secretariat has already been working globally on standards for star rating in malls which will be more aspirational. The same are being implemented as pantheon of services in malls and will be incorporated into the Trusted Mark at a later stage.

Why Trusted Standards are Critical for Shopping Centres

  •  Our country currently has 650 large shopping centres above 1 lac sq ft. with covered area of 250 million sq ft and 1000+ smaller centres offering organized retail environment to shoppers.
  • These centres attract over 25 million visitors every day.
  • As an important constituent of Organized Retail Industry (of nearly INR 7,05,000 Crores), shoppers spend over Rs. 180,000 Crore in shopping malls alone.
  • Of the 650 shopping centres of over 100,000 Sq. Ft., over 550 are owned by standalone developers that need continuous guidance and monitoring on mall operations to ensure shoppers in India get best of quality services.
  • 1000+ smaller shopping centres spread across India in Tier 1,2 & 3 cities are the only places for socialising, shopping, leisure & entertainment and have become lifeline of the locals. These centres are catalyst of organised retail and major contributor to success of Entertainment, Fashion, Cinema, F&B, Electronics, FMCG and many other drivers of the economy.
  • Shopping Centres/ Malls as part of organized modern retail contribute significantly to the burgeoning retail sector which contributes appx. 10% of the country’s GDP and around 8% of employment generation.  Shopping centres have been catalyst to organised retail and setting benchmarks for the entire retail industry.
  • Over INR 100,000 Crore of investments in fixed assets, addition to land cost
  • Over INR 27,000 Crores further investments in pipeline in under construction projects
  • Shopping Centre Industry alone contributes INR 31,500 Crores of the net GST collections countrywide
  • Provides livelihoods to over 12,000,000 citizens directly and indirectly
  • Almost 1 crore livelihoods are for Blue Collar workers who are close to subsistence wages