India’s retail sector is booming – projected to grow from $672 billion in 2017 to $1.3 trillion in 2020. There is huge private equity investment in physical retail here, and that means a multitude of new shopping malls opening their doors to the public in 2019. Developers and retailers are learning to devise winning formulas for these new spaces, and they are increasingly turning to technology to help them manage, monitor and grow their sales performance.
Abundance of new mall ventures
We are seeing the Indian mall revolution swing up a gear in 2019. According to Anarock research, about 32 new malls spanning nearly 13.5 million sq ft of retail space are slated to become operational in 2019 across the major cities and several tier 2 and 3 cities. The city of Hyderabad alone will have five new malls in 2019. What’s more over the next 5 years a total of 85 malls are expected to launch in India. Local retail chains are expanding, and international names such as Adidas, Nike, Apple, Bally, Accessorize, Ikea and Marks & Spencer are growing a presence through franchising and joint ventures.
ShopperTrak has worked with large-scale retailers and mall owners across the globe, helping them enjoy the commercial benefits of traffic insight. With two decades of experience in the field of managing traffic solutions, we are now assisting retailers and landlords in India as they plan their futures.
“It’s an exciting time for organised retail in India, driven by a realisation that using technology to gather and act upon data will really help build solid retail businesses for the future,” says Vivek Singh, ShopperTrak’s Regional Director for India. “However, because Indian mall retailing is relatively new, building additional business intelligence into the retail strategy is a steep learning curve for many and the benefits that can be gained are not always clear. Retailers and developers rightly want to invest in the technology that will deliver measurable results, and really power growth in their business.”
Manage – professionalising the store
Singh says that forward-looking retailers and mall owners are getting to grips with traffic counting and are learning from the valuable insights it provides. At a basic level, the tech helps retailers know what visitor numbers their stores are attracting, and crucially, how many of those browsers convert to shoppers. Traffic and conversion patterns emerge over time, so that a retailer learns when the peak and troughs of the trading year take place, including what happens, for example in the weeks around Diwali, which is such a vital time of the business year. Store employees are a vital part of the service offer, so naturally retailers want to match the numbers of sales assistants they have on the shop floor, with the predicted traffic demand. A huge advantage when you have traffic mapped out over a typical week, month or year, is that you can optimise your labour, ensuring costs are managed well, and customer service is always the best it can be. Conversion rates can be boosted significantly in this way, simply because enough people are on hand to serve and sell.
Measure – refining the real estate strategy
Because there is so much new retail space in India, it’s vital to measure and assess performance over time, and this is helping retailers plan where stores are likely to thrive. Mall owners are also using traffic data to measure the popularity of their properties and plan their rental strategies around what traffic they are achieving. As most retailers pay a fixed rent, it’s essential for the landlords to accurately measure shopper numbers, to confirm that the rent is set fairly. Often when a new mall opens, there is a knock-on effect to existing retail space in the vicinity, so again, traffic data gives a clear picture of where the hottest sites are, and where traffic may be dropping off. In recent years the smaller Indian cities have been witnessing major infrastructure upgrades, coupled with growing consumer awareness about brands and products. Monitoring footfall in these evolving markets is a must for organised retail.
Grow – using insights to boost conversions
Ecommerce is growing rapidly in India, but malls are booming in popularity because they offer an experience. Shoppers love the touch-and-feel benefit, as well as the air-conditioned comfort, convenience and emotional enjoyment which online shopping can’t provide. In India going to a mall is an outing for the family and for friends, typically combined with a meal at the food court and a movie at the cineplex. The massive Indian middle class is embracing this experience, but retailers know they must keep improving their offer, to retain these shoppers’ long-term loyalty in an increasingly competitive market. With traffic data, a wealth of insight becomes possible – marketing programmes can be improved based on learning what drove conversions and what didn’t, and store teams can be empowered with data that helps them know when the busy ‘power hours’ will be, and when conversion are most likely.
So much change to come
In 2019, mall developers will continue to give major emphasis to food courts, multiplexes and entertainment centres in malls as shoppers’ quest for ‘experiential’ shopping will only rise. Retailers will also be trialling new in-store features and services to keep pace with the needs of digital-savvy young shoppers.
With so much change, the danger is that retailers face uncertainty as they pursue growth. But with traffic data that needn’t be the case. Real-time insights are there to be found and utilised for powerful business advantage. No wonder modern Indian retail is falling in love with tech and data and leaving guesswork in the dust.
For more information on the benefits of traffic counting in retail please contact Vivek Singh, Regional Director, India at ShopperTrak
Phone: +91.9716299331 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Retailers planning future growth in India can learn about best practice use of traffic data with our free eBook.
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