Remember when you failed last time in school & your teacher or parents scolded and said you are worst. But then they gave you reasons & worked on area of improvements together with you. Sadly today when everyone talks about “The Online Vs Offline Retail War” and foresee the offline retail failing or loosing the battle, as an ultimate consumer who cares for experience its time to work with this weak student of class.

It’s not the story of existence of one, as the trade has clear rules of coexistence. Importantly we find the real Consumer or Grahak oscillating between price & experience.

We all know online is about data & making meaningful decision on data which translates into sales. Every online consumer is pampered with exciting offerings from e-tailers on click of a button and a virtual touch of customer service with soft voice from contact centers.

Few Large Format Retailers (LFRs) also show some guts of standing strong as e-tailers but the customer satisfaction keeps on going down as we move from LFR to a Small Shop.

How can a small offline retailer survive? How can markets stay as happening as they were few years back? How do Air Conditioned Malls make a profitable story?  

Increasing growth in number of malls & area of malls getting bigger is not luring the shoppers. Concept of Showrooming: Trying at Offline Store & Buying Online is seen quite often. The once customer buzzing place faces desertion. Shoppers are hardly or even not seen to visit these malls or markets.

Owners who once had a stable profit gainer are now desperately looking for other options. Many have converted these malls into commercial offices, LFRs, etc in order to make them profitable. The country’s plan on the business sector is scaling down its plans on malls development.

India has 570 operational malls (as of May 2013) with a total area of 180 million sq ft compared to just 225 malls that were up and running five years ago, according to numbers collated by a real estate consultancy firm which were shared with TOI exclusively. The new projects as on date have been put on hold or are suffering the delays.

So what has really led to all this? The major attributor is the emergence of e-commerce. This has been a big shark to this business. It has taken hold of many consumers with their online websites and baseless discounts. The growing land price was another factor. This was more worrying to the mall owners. The increased land prices translated to increased rental prices. This made the malls unfeasible and in turn discouraged many investors and developers. Who would want to pay more rent while the consumption is completely on the low? Nobody!

However even with all these adversities, Mall owners are still hopeful. They have continued to invest in malls and hold on to ‘the situation can be made better’ Notion. The question though among many is whether the mall boom and buzz is going to be regained. That is left questionable. The Robin Hood of Offline Retail is building a hope in the midst of struggling time.

With – India’s 1st Mall & Market App, the ecosystem looks for revival.

  • Capturing the consumer footfall to welcoming in store.
  • Creating Exciting Offers & Knowing what works & what not.
  • Connecting with your loyal customers & making then feel special.

These are few ways of coming back with a fresh energy & momentum. What all is needed from Malls is mind share to address this issue. Like every retailer in a mall gets maintenance, similarly they have to get a technology partner who can let him stand connected with ultimate consumer like online websites do. Every retailer must have freedom to talk to its consumer whenever he wishes viz Offers, Discounts, Greetings etc.

So, Instead of Sorry Story of Indian Retail lets build a great story of co existence. Online retailers play by the rules & offline retailers step up a technology ladder.

Yogesh Huja, Founder
Freedom Smart Labs Ltd