In a freewheeling chat with Moneycontrol, Mukesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Infiniti Malls, said that individuals will still visit malls
The footfall through Infiniti malls is expected to rise by 15-20 percent year-on-year (YoY) despite the rising trend of online shopping.
In the previous fiscal, the metro work in Mumbai’s western suburbs Andheri and Malad restricted the growth in footfalls to nearly 10 percent.
In a freewheeling chat with Moneycontrol, Mukesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Infiniti Malls, said, "The overall consumer experience offered by malls cannot be replaced. Individuals will still visit malls and we are expecting a 15 – 20 percent YOY growth in footfalls."
Infiniti Mall, owned by Raheja Constructions, opened its first property at Andheri in 2004, followed by another one at Malad in May 2011.
Infiniti Mall (Andheri) is spread across 310,000 square feet with 65 stores, a six-screen multiplex (PVR Icon), a food court, a family entertainment center and restaurants besides shopping.
Infiniti Mall (Malad) is one of the biggest malls in Mumbai and is spread across 1.20 million square feet with more than 180 shopping brands, a multiplex, 36 food outlets and a Family Entertainment Centres (FEC) spread over 60,000 square feet.
Kumar, who began his journey in retail with the launch of Infiniti Mall, Malad in 2011, said that Infiniti Malls will continue to set new benchmarks in the retail business and reinforcing their position in the retail industry.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
Q) What is your take on the changing concept of malls in India? Now that e-commerce is picking up, do you see enough traction towards malls?
While e-commerce has played a pivotal role in changing the fabric of the retail business, it cannot completely replace the experience that malls offer. Customers go to shopping malls not just to shop, but for leisure and entertainment as well. Moreover, when it comes to shopping, individuals still prefer physically inspecting the product themselves before purchasing, a feature not offered by e-commerce websites. Owing to this, we still expect to record significant footfalls and traction in our malls.
Q) What is the kind of growth in footfalls are you expecting?
The overall consumer experience offered by malls cannot be replaced. Individuals will still visit malls and we are expecting a 15 – 20 percent YOY growth in footfalls.
Q) You have 2 malls in Mumbai. What are your expansion plans, would you also be looking at other metro cities?
We already have a strong footing in Mumbai with an Infiniti Mall located in Andheri and Malad. We now want to take our legacy forward and contribute towards enhancing the standard of living with our malls and are seeking avenues to expand in Tier II towns in the country.
Q) Which model would you be looking at for building malls? Will you be buying the land outright for building malls?
Evaluating the dynamics of setting up a mall is a complex procedure. For our expansion plans, we are exploring both the models.
Q) Infiniti Mall was one of the first few malls that decided to go Omnichannel. How has been the outcome so far?
Infiniti Mall always strives to innovate and offer the best services to its valuable customers. While we have decided to go Omnichannel, we are still on the test run phase and will disclose additional details at a later stage.
Q) What role does customer centricity, physical experience, personalization play in keeping a customer engaged? How is Infiniti different from others?
As the adage goes, ‘Customer is King’, it is imperative to have a customer centric outlook. After acquiring great success at the Andheri Mall, we decided to go one notch higher and as a leader in retail, Infiniti Mall has transfigured shopping experience to visitors since opening its doors in the year 2011 at Malad.
In the current times, we understand that the new age customer is tech-savvy and providing digital experiences can go a long way in retaining a loyal customer base. We have the Infiniti app that provides the convenience of our offerings and updates with a click of a button. We also have a unique loyalty solution program that allows customers to earn and burn points at the time of shopping.
Q) Tell us about the technological innovations in your mall that help enhance consumer experience.
Technological innovation has gained rapid momentum in the past decade or so. Infiniti Mall is also endeavoring to go digital and hence we launched a Point of Sale (POS) based loyalty program. In order to expand our loyalty rewards, we have replaced the traditional loyalty program with a unique loyalty solution. This customer-friendly program which allows customers to earn and burn points at the time of sale itself. We believe this will enhance the overall consumer experience.
Q) West India, especially Mumbai has a plethora of premium malls. How do you cope with the fierce competition for footfalls and profit?
There is no dearth of premium malls in Mumbai which cater to customers across the spectrum. However, at Infiniti Mall, we are always striving to surpass our customers’ expectations and offer a unique experience. We actively host differential conventional and non-conventional events throughout the year to engage with our customers. Our first of its kind rewards program incentivize them to come back again.
Q) What initiatives do you take to pull in crowds in the non-festive season? Give some examples.
At Infiniti Mall, we are always conducting engaging activities and events that allow us to connect with our customers on a personal level. We not only do so these during festivals, but also carry out these acitivities during non-festive seasons to keep the momentum going.
Q) Are you planning on introducing new brands, national or international, to any of your properties? Which ones?
Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to us and thus to cater to the needs of the visitors, we always endeavor to bring a suitable tenant mix of international and national brands.
Miniso, Home Centre, Tom Tailor, MI, etc. are some of them. We are continuously evaluating entry of new international and national brands based on their trading densities to give customers a wow experience.
Q) Where do you see Infiniti Malls in the next five years? What do you aspire to be perceived as by the stakeholders?Infiniti Mall has been on the forefront to provide the best brands, offerings, entertainment, and recreation facilities to customers all under one roof. We will continue setting new benchmarks in the retail business and reinforcing our position in the retail industry.