The title of this post could have easily been the end of experience in shopping centres… but then going by what most malls did in India for Diwali, experience is not a marketable idea. Instead, a car, gold or an International vacation were better options or were they?
First the good news: Most “Live Malls” or should I say malls that were ALIVE and KICKIN’ did better business than last year.
Now the truth: Most did not do as well as they expected.
Its an interesting story really. Developers expected to get above average returns. They knew the economy was bad. The decision was so easy- Lets just bribe the consumer this time. A sub par performance meant – It was expected, hence we didn’t spend. An above par performance will mean – see we spent little and still got the returns.
The Only Truth: The only sufferer was the MALL BRAND !
The relationship between retailers and malls is not an easy one. Malls seek big brands in an attempt to get easy footfalls. Retailers bank on mall marketing to get the footfalls they want. 0 or close to nothing spends on marketing and over confidence on their brand pull means consumers have stopped caring as to where they headed.
The plethora of malls coupled with their reluctance to invest in branding means, consumers no longer go to a shopping centre X or a shopping centre Y. They go to the mall to buy from a Shoppers Stop or an Allen Solly. Loyalty is nothing.
Infact with almost every mall giving away gold or a car free, the better option would be to go to the mall with lesser footfalls – the odds of winning get significantly better- 1 in a lac vs 1 in a million.
Whichever way you look at it, these are exciting times to be a consumer. You will either be rewarded with an experience or at least have a 1 in a million chance to own a free car… … and so are the chances of the mall developing itself into a world class brand