In India, the festive season – which begins for almost all ethnicities around the month of September – is the time when consumers all over the country buy new clothes as well as white goods. During this time, many get their homes whitewashed, interiors re-done, and increase spends on theme-based household goods such as upholstery, furniture, electronic appliances, etc.
Aside from this, festivals in the country have always acted as catalysts in boosting the economy. For shopping centres in India, this festive quarter i.e. October to December is the most important time of the year business-wise. This year, however, COVID-19 has adversely impacted the retail and shopping centre industries, in turn affecting the way people celebrate festivals and special occasions.
However, as the pandemic continues and a vaccine still months away, the sentiments of home weary consumers are improving, with many of them eager to step out and shop – albeit with precautions.
“With the onset of the festive season, it becomes imperative to engage with consumers actively. It is crucial to communicate about the key offers and latest offerings at the mall with hygiene and safety protocols being of utmost importance. For example, we are focusing on celebrations and festive season at DLF Avenue and DLF Promenade with Bride Tribe campaigns respectively. We have carefully crafted campaigns that will mesmerise the customer and at the same time instil trust and reassure customer of DLF’s commitment to customer safety,” says Pushpa Bector, Executive Director, DLF Retail Malls.
“Engaging with customers ahead of festive season is really important to spark the spirit of vitality prevalent among the masses. This is an ideal time to connect with the local sentiment, reiterate the mall experience by bringing in the nostalgic factor. It also helps us build impulse to socialise, shop and dine-in. The vibrant and novel nature of festivals makes it an ideal time for communicating store launches and unveiling the arrival of Autumn-Winter collection,” adds Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Group.
The pandemic has altered – perhaps permanently – consumer shopping behaviour and expectations of safety and hygiene. People are no longer stepping out of their homes unless necessary. The braver consumers who want to visit stores, want to do so with the best of precautions, and then too, visit only once they feel safe. Their thoughts on touch and feel have taken a U-turn. In such scenario, retailers have turned to ‘Phygital’ retail and the entire discovery process is increasingly becoming digital. This is trend is evident as we see only serious buyers stepping into the mall and thus the conversion rates are highest.
“To maximise sales while keeping in mind the ‘New Normal’ of consumer shopping behaviour, we have started various services that bring the mall to apprehensive customers rather than expecting such customers to come to the mall. This new way of doing retail business integrates both the physical and digital worlds to enhance the shopping experience,” says Sachin Dhanawade, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Retail & Real Estate, Grauer & Weil (India) Limited.
“Infiniti Mall is adopting both, traditional and digital mediums, to reach consumers ahead of the festive season. We are also planning to provide various attractive offers such as shop and win, etc., to incentivise customers to visit the mall,” adds Mukesh Kumar, CEO, Infiniti Mall.
“This festive season, we will continue engage our audience on our social media platforms with shop and win, contests and virtual parties. We also have invited multiple bloggers to come and showcase the festive collection to our customers,” states Naviin Ibhrampurkar, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Inorbit Malls.
“As we approach the festive week, the consumer spending will only go north and reach a peak a few days prior to the festival day. Viviana Mall being one of the leading brands, it has always been our endeavour to provide our consumers will an exciting shopping experience. We have been actively communicating with our customers across social media platforms. Especially after the lockdown has been lifted, we have been promoting mood-building campaigns on multiple online and digital platforms. Daily, we have surprises in store for our lucky shoppers. Additionally, during the upcoming festive season, we are planning to give away gold coins as part of lucky draw gift every week. One lucky winner will drive home a car as a mega prize,” adds Rima Kirtikar, Chief Marketing Officer, Viviana Mall.
“We are engaging with customers through a digital-first strategy to create maximum engagement. Social and digital marketing efforts to induce demand, requirement specific enquiries and connecting them to our online platform for shopping – creaticityonline.com and also help them to visit by appointment in a safe and hygienic environment at Creaticity are being implemented. Our special features like Look book marketing to create demand for a complete home look, design to build orders for customized solutions and product selection support are some unique features that are being implemented to engage with homemakers,” says Mahesh. M, CEO, Creaticity resonating the same thoughts.
DLF is working on curating engaging and interactive content and campaigns through social media channels, print ads, OOH and influencer programs for consumers during this festive season. These will focus on latest trends, promotions at the malls and initiatives being taken to provide a safe and pleasurable shopping experience for them.
“Select CITYWALK is all set to welcome its visitors for the festive season. The coming of the festive season brings with it hope and renewal and better consumer sentiment. The shopping centre has always catered to customer’s safety and concerns for the utmost sanitization to make it as safe as possible for them to step out. For the coming festivities, considering real-time scenarios and requirements this festive season too will be special for our customers. We want to make sure that this pandemic doesn’t hold back any of us to celebrate the festivities. We plan to enhance the festivities with mall decor in a way where everyone can enjoy and be part of it. Mall décor attracts a lot of visitors to the mall and at the same time, it allows retailers to showcase themselves in the most creative forms by showcasing their new collections and launches,” says Yogeshwar Sharma, Executive Director & CEO, Select CITYWALK.
“Our focus is directed on emphasizing micro-market campaign in immediate vicinity, creating fresh campaigns for customer to drive them towards visiting malls. Promoting the deals and offers running in our mall via local influencers and communities. Retargeting the existing patrons via our databases and optimizing the social media platforms through geo-targeted campaigns,” adds Bansal.
New Services Introduced
INORBIT MALLS: “Curbside Pickup, WhatsApp Video Calling and Home delivery are the new services introduced to ease out and provide safe shopping experience to customers. Services like contactless parking and dining at the food courts has also been introduced,” says Naviin Ibhrampurkar, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Inorbit Malls.
INFINITI MALL: “Infiniti Mall is planning to start a Drive-in Theatre and Play & Win (Tie-up with Fantasy Cricket),” Mukesh Kumar, CEO, Infiniti Mall states.
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