The Mall Story in India: A Positioning Problem?
- Supermarkets: They typically have a catchment area of a few kilometers, and hence can attract customers only from the immediate vicinity. Even in this, most local supermarkets beat them hands down by simply augmenting service options. Example: at Gokul Supermarket, Raipur and Prem Cosmetic, Indore I can get a product replacement even upto a month after purchase; no-strings-attached home delivery; personalised service (I can request for special items and they procure same) etc etc. The learning: the local supermarkets have simply improved their service. Result? Average bill at my local supermarket is 2500, at malls? 100. Only 100. Add to that the simple fact that I can usually get lower prices at my local supermarket. That means, people like me dont spend money at Malls - not on groceries, anyway.
- Electronics: No purchase options available. Simple as that! These items are high involvement purchases, and consumers shop around. You just dont get enough options in a mall. This industry is noted for dedicated markets in most cities with all brands being available in a defined shopping market, making product and price comparison - including price discovery- easier. Only dedicated chains like Vijay Sales and Lotus have managed to make a dent. For that, you require huge space - usually 2 or more floors of space to display brands.
- Apparel: For the most part, the products are quite simply too high priced. A consumer can get equally good stuff outside malls. In the case of branded options - I can recall only Harra, Peter England, Color Plus, Levis. Children wears brands are a strict no-no, since local shops offer quality stuff at half the price. I know since I have used both. Further, some brands keep seperate ranges in malls and outside stores. And, we get better service from these mom-and-pop stores to boot!