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Our commitment to enhancing shopping experience goes beyond transactions: Jatin Goel

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Sandeep Kumar
Sandeep Kumar
A multimedia journalist with over eleven years of experience in print and digital media, Sandeep Kumar is assistant editor with Images Group. Books, retail, sports and cinema are an inextricable part of his life.

Jatin Goel, Executive Director, Omaxe Ltd. about redefining the Chandni Chowk shopping experience, the group’s focus areas, plans and more

New Delhi: Imagine a shopping mall in the bustling alley of Chandni Chowk, where the vibrant colours and rich heritage of Old Delhi converge with modern convenience and entertainment. Who could have thought amidst the maze of historic lanes and lively bazaars, rise a contemporary marvel – a state-of-the-art shopping mall, offering a panoramic view of the iconic Chandni Chowk?

 

Come March 2024, Omaxe Chowk, the upcoming retail infrastructure by Omaxe Group will be ready to offer the essence of Old Delhi—a timeless tapestry of culture, commerce, and community—with the marvel of modern retail.

Spread over 1.11 million sq. ft. of exquisitely designed retail and atrium spaces, Omaxe Chowk is inspired by the architectural heritage of the Mughal and British eras.

The project spreads over a vast 4.5 acres and seeks to redefine the retail and food experience of Purani Dilli. Developed on the Public-private Partnership (PPP) model with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the project is a testament to the successful fusion of modern infrastructure with the historical charm of one of India’s oldest wholesale and retail markets.

Incorporating modern amenities while maintaining the old-world charm was crucial to the transformation. Air-conditioned shops, clean walkways, and enhanced security measures are standard features of Omaxe Chowk combined with a healthy mix of local and national brands.

The entire ediȱ ce complements the historical ambience, significantly improving the shopping experience and ensuring visitors’ comfort.

In an exclusive interaction with Shopping Centre News, Jatin Goel, Executive Director, Omaxe Ltd. speaks about redefining the Chandni Chowk shopping experience, the group’s focus areas, plans and more.

Edited excerpts:

Omaxe Chandni Chowk is almost ready for launch. Can you throw some light on the concept, and USP of this new retail infrastructure?

Omaxe Chowk heralds a new era of retail innovation, seamlessly blending the rich heritage of Old Delhi with contemporary infrastructure. Spanning across 1.11 million sq. ft, the infrastructure offers an unparalleled shopping experience, also featuring India’s largest food court, Dawatpur spread over 1,22,000 sq. ft.

A massive space of 70,000 sq. ft. has been dedicated to the jewellery section, making it the biggest jewellery hub of the market and a must-visit wedding shopping destination. With a massive parking capacity for diverse visitors, Omaxe Chowk promises to be a transformative hub, revitalising the historic marketplace.

Why Chandni Chowk?

Chandni Chowk’s 4-acre site was on auction, and we thought it would be ideal to make the shift from unorganised to organised retail, where a massive amount of trading is happening.

Also, the last development of this kind in this area was probably during the Mughal times and after that nothing of this stature in the last 300 years. There is a town hall built by the Britishers, but that too was not this big.

Also, we don’t see any other land in the area that could be used to make anything bigger. If you look at Chandni Chowk from a trade and revenue point, the turnover of this mall would be around `5,00,000 crore a year, as per JLL’s report.

What is Omaxe bringing to this development?

We are bringing the basic infrastructure of organised retail in the form of fire safety norms, parking, hygiene, toilets, and pollution-free air along with the real essence of shopping to Chandni Chowk.

There are three different areas of wedding shopping which we are focusing on majorly. First is the apparel, where we see all types of Saari, suits and lehengas among others for men and women. The second is jewellery, which we are bullish about. Most national jewellery brands have already been signed up. The third section is the food—we have managed to get Chandni Chowk’s street food offerings into the mall.

How will the category mix be?

There is going to be a mix of all brands. We are focused on creating a mix which is more suited to wedding requirements along with services, not just products. We are aiming to become a one-stop shop for all wedding requirements throughout the year. We have popular retailers coming from states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan across all formats, be it kidswear, menswear and womenswear.

Chandni Chowk is known for local retail, bargains and discounts. Did you face any challenges getting local retailers on board?

I don’t see this as a challenge. As far as the prices and discounts are concerned, it will be the same. Regarding Common Area Maintenance (CAM), when you open a store on a high street, the charges are quite low. We want this margin to go away for the stores in the mall. We are making sure by putting all the machinery in place that it will give them affordable maintenance. Their business will not be hurt by paying that amount. If the CAM charges are not a problem, there will be a lot for the retailers and the consumers.

Will you offer family entertainment centres (FEC)?

There is no cinema or entertainment centre in the mall. Since they don’t yield high rentals, we didn’t want to waste our space on them. The cinema industry has witnessed a setback with the advent of OTT. Earlier, we used to sign deals for around 10 screens, curating a huge entertainment zone, but today the demand has reduced to as low as 5 screens.

The F&B segment has emerged as a pivotal category within the retail landscape, enhancing the overall customer experience and driving food traȲ c. We prioritise the selection of diverse dining options that offer a blend of quality, ambience, and uniqueness, catering to varied consumer preferences across all age groups.

The entire second floor is the food court, which will be a vibrant hub for culinary exploration, fostering engagement and repeat visits among patrons. Omaxe Chowk is going to be a blend of a mall and a high street.

Any tech innovations you want to talk about in malls?

We want to stick to the basics and don’t want too many gizmos. We want people to feel they can reminisce about Old Delhi. The approach to tech innovation will be strategic and customer-centric.

We will be using plasma generators for cleaning the air ensuring that even if the Air Quality Index (AQI) outside is 900, the AQI in the mall remains 15. Leveraging Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, we will be offering immersive property exploration experiences. These robust online platforms will provide comprehensive project information and interactive features, facilitating informed decision-making.

How do you address sustainability and environmental concerns in your shopping mall operations and design?

We emphasise efficient processes, products, and infrastructure to minimize resource wastage and maximise sustainability.

This includes investing in renewable energy sources, implementing green building principles and leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) for efficient building management.

We have a solar power plant on the roof for our energy requirements. We also have a high-
level Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) within the property. Omaxe Chowk is a platinum-rated IGBC-certified green building.

What innovation and ideas can we witness concerning experiential retail which shall not only focus on shopping but also rendering an engaging experience to the visitors?

In the dynamic landscape of experiential retail, Omaxe Group leads the way by seamlessly merging physical and digital realms through innovative technological solutions. Our Commitment to enhancing the shopping experience goes beyond transactions, evidenced by loyalty programs, e-vouchers and pioneering initiatives. Integrating brick-and-mortar stores with their digital counterparts set us apart, offering unparalleled convenience to customers and differentiating us from online competitors.

Recognising the evolution of digital commerce, we draw inspiration from multiple platforms where virtual try-on experiences redefine online shopping. Following the trend set by global outlets, we envision a future where customers can try on outfits digitally, echoing the convenience of e-commerce giants like Amazon. Our innovative approach extends to O2O, a model facilitating seamless online-to-offline and offline-to-online transitions.

Omaxe embraces both directions, ensuring a comprehensive and adaptable shopping experience. This forward-looking strategy aligns with global trends, reflecting our commitment to diversifying choices and elevating the retail experience to new heights of excellence in India’s growing market.

How has the current financial cycle been for Omaxe?

This has been a great year for us as our projects witnessed a tremendous response from buyers, backed by immense support from our partners and authorities. We closed a `400 crore loan for the property at Chandni Chowk.

Both residential and commercial projects have been curated to cater to the needs of our customers, and it is with their support and feedback that we strive to deliver the best in class.

Omaxe plans to invest close to `4,000 crore in tier 2, and 3 cities in the next four years. Please elaborate on the new strategy of targeting the smaller towns.

Omaxe Group has been present in tier 2 & 3 cities for more than a decade and we have taken up an initiative, ‘Be Together’ to ensure that these cities are also developed in competence to metros. Almost 15 years back, we have ventured into places like Lucknow, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Agra.

We have delivered numerous projects, including Be Together Courtyard (bus port) in tie-up with Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) in Ghaziabad, Lucknow and Prayagraj.

Our group is strategically embarking on an ambitious expansion journey across tier 2 and
3 cities, spanning Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. This strategy, backed by an estimated investment of `4000 crore, underscores our commitment to fostering growth and development beyond metropolitan hubs.

Which are the other retail projects in the pipeline?

There’s another upcoming development from Omaxe in Dwarka, in association with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). We are coming up with a ‘Sports City’, spread across 55 acres, which will have outdoor stadiums for football and cricket.

There’s going to be an indoor stadium, and Olympic-sized swimming pool, along with a club, service apartments and some high street retail. We have also curated an upcoming mall in Vrindavan. After the development of Ayodhya, people have started looking at spiritual destinations with high hopes and we are happy to contribute to this growth.

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