With the change in shopping trends in Tier I & II cities, there is a wave of emerging aspirational brands in East India. The middle-class consumer has been elevated to a higher level, therefore shopping malls are focusing more on Tier II & III cities now. The young generation is shopping and demanding both fashion and quality along with value for money. Junction Mall is an excellent effort to meet these expectations and demands of consumers.
In an exclusive interaction with IMAGES Retail, Arijit Chatterjee, COO, Junction Mall Durgapur, talks about the expansion plans of the brand in the Tier II & III cities and towns.
From a developer point, how do you choose a location for expansion in Tier II & III cities?
Being a developer, we follow the basic thumb rule of retail which is ‘Consideration of Place and People’. From People’s point, we conduct research, i.e. socio economy study of prospect customers of the location in three-time frames – present, five years from now and ten years from the present time. Since population count in the immediate catchment is cooperatively less in Tier II & II cities, we consider or take a study on daily population fl ow to that particular city from other locations, i.e, and daily traffic penetration to that city from neighboring places or event districts. Also, a study on the trend of their lifestyle, expense pattern, aspiration to upgrade etc. is other several factors of consideration. From place point of view, we give the first importance to the look to the accessibility of the property. Preferred location is such where people from the city can come easily and also its easily accessible for the people coming from surrounding cities/ locations.How different is the retail catchment in these cities in comparison to Tier I and Metro cities?
In Tier I or Metro cities, the retail catchment is majorly consisting of the immediate catchment with a high density of population. Mostly the shopping behavior is the same for maximum pie. But, in Tier II or III cities, the catchment is very spread out. Although a major portion of the customers are definitely from immediate catchment i.e., the city where the shopping establishment belongs to, but there is a strong influence of customers coming from surrounding towns up to 150-200 kms depending on the transport system the city has. Taking the example of Junction Mall, apart from the population of Durgapur which is six lakhs, we experience customers coming from Bardhaman, Asansol, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Bankura, Siuri, Bolpur etc. which belong to our surrounding districts, or even neighboring states.
Do you have separate marketing strategies for different cities?
We have to follow different marketing strategy for different cities that we consider as our catchment as every city or town has their own shopping behavior and customer profiling. Since we experience a vast spread out catchment, we also follow different promotional tools. When we plan for cities like Bolpur or Bankura having a good catchment of students and young earning groups, we try to engage our brand with various social events, and we plan our OOH locations accordingly. For cities like Asansol, Raniganj we prefer to go micro level BTL activities to ensure our reach directly to their house, etc.
What attracts more crowds in Tier II cities – the lure of shopping or the FEC segment?
As per our past experience and learning phases, we came to know that FECs attract more crowds in Tier II cities. Here, a customer looks for a destination where they can go for shopping, entertainment for kids and for themselves as well along with good options of F&B and having good facilities as well. Since in Tier II the catchment is spread in a large geographical area, people look for spaces where they can spend longer periods of time which FECs offer them.
Do you think international brands make for a good business there in comparison to the national brands?
This is not always true. It completely depends on the socio-economic class of the catchment and the buying behavior. India is a growing market and always there is a scope of performance for aspirational brands. People always look for up-gradation in lifestyle. International brands attract people, but the end word always stands depending on how it matches the expectation of the customers.
Have you added any new technologies in the mall? Do you plan to in the future?
We are in a phase of introducing new technologies in our mall. Apart from the influence of the digital platform of promotion and Google navigation, recently we converted our parking system with complete end-to-end tech support for better performance in terms of safety, security, time management, etc. Also, we are in framing work to launch “Junction Mall APP” which will be having very the interactive interface which will help customers to know all happenings in the mall along with live navigation, offers running, placing an order in the Food Court, booking tickets for a movie, etc. It will also be rewarding to customers.