Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Mall mania reduces

This DNA article notes that mall mania is fading in Mumbai thanks to the slowdown and many mall spaces are becoming residential or general commercial spaces. While that is true, there is also another contributing factor - which is the proliferation of malls. When the first mall in India was opened - the Crossroads mall - it attracted people from all over the city. People even got their visitors from other parts of the country to visit the mall. And then as malls opened across the country a similar thing happened. The mall was a happening place - it was the place to go visit, hang out and perhaps do a bit of shopping. But as malls proliferate, in most cities, it is unlikely that somebody will go across half the city and visit yet another mall to shop.

Now, malls are mostly about local catchment areas except malls in places where people would meet up like say, an MG Road here. People in general go to the mall near their place of residence (or thereabouts). Unless the mall is a clear differentiator. Which honestly, most malls arent. They have the same brands in the mall and the shops in the mall also have the same items. There was a certain individuality in terms of the way that a mall was constructed, but that is not a lasting reason for someone to keep going to a mall. So, if malls want to attract people they need to differentiate either by way of goods or services or both.

So, malls become more of social meeting joints for people who don't live "near" and more of shopping destinations for people in a 'catchment area'. So, yet another mall, well, while it adds to the competition, does little else by way of interest. So, mall designers out there, please create a unique shopping experience and you will get more people..

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