E-comm is a big opportunity to increase reach: Puneet Varma,Inorbit Malls

Inorbit Malls, a group company of the K Raheja Corp, began their journey by opening their first mall at Malad, Mumbai to the public in early 2004. Since then, Inorbit has repeated its success with malls in Vashi - Navi Mumbai, Hyderabad - Telangana, Whitefield - Bangalore, and Vadodara - Gujarat. The company recently initiated its annual campaigns – ‘Pink Power’ and ‘Baccha Bollywood’ – across all Inorbit locations. 

Pink Power is a unique campaign for women that aims to fulfill their business dreams. The first Pink Power activation was held in 2015 in two Inorbit Malls at Vashi and Malad and had received 748 entries in just three weeks. In 2016, the activation was taken to other cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vadodara as well. 

Keeping in mind the craze for Bollywood films amongst Indians, the ‘Baccha Bollywood’ initiative seeks to create a differentiated workshop for kids during their summer vacations. The initiative provides a huge platform for kids to explore various aspects of film making. 

Speaking further on these two activations, Puneet Varma, Associate Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Inorbit Malls, said, “Inorbit Mall creates unique campaigns that become platforms for budding talents. The ‘Inorbit Pink Power’ campaign is an initiative by the mall to give women entrepreneurs an opportunity to realise their business dream.” 

With this initiative, Inorbit Mall supports the most innovative business ideas of budding women entrepreneurs by offering them a free kiosk space for a period of 9 months at the mall to run their businesses. Inorbit also invested in creating a retail mentorship programme for the winners, in partnership with retail organisations like Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) and Retailers Association of India (RAI) and also partners with Central Bank of India to offer soft loans to the Pink Power winners. 

Varma added, “The campaign was launched in the year 2015 on Women’s Day. After a successful first edition in Mumbai (Malad and Vashi) with close to 748 entries, Inorbit hosted the campaign in other cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vadodara in 2016 and garnered 1,476 entries. Inorbit Pink Power Campaign was recognised at the DMA Asia Awards 2016 in the Gold category. The other awards received by the campaign include Effies, Abbys (first by any shopping centre in India) and finalist title at the Asia Pacific Shopping Centre Awards. This year, it is the third season of Pink Power and Inorbit has received close to 1,411 entries across five locations. Soon the mall will be announcing the winners in Mumbai at a grand felicitation ceremony.” 

“‘Baccha Bollywood’ is a unique platform that gives exposure to kids in various aspects of filmmaking. Inorbit Mall hosts various workshops where children can not only learn acting, but also learn the art of script writing and direction too. The first edition of the campaign was started in the year 2015 and Inorbit continues to host this campaign every year across Mumbai (Malad, Vashi), Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vadodara. Children participating in these workshops not only learn the art of film making, but are also mentored by the experts from the industry. Some of the Baccha Bollywood participants had the opportunity to act in short films with talented actors like Raghubir Yadav, Amol Gupte, etc.,” Varma informed. 

The ‘Pink Power’ and ‘Baccha Bollywood’ campaigns are hosted once in a year. For such campaigns Inorbit invites entries, evaluates and felicitates the winners. With such a format these campaigns go on for three to four months. 

Inorbit extensively uses print, radio, digital and in-mall communication to advertise these campaigns. Varma claimed that such campaigns excite shoppers and on an average, the malls witness a 10 per cent to 12 per cent increase in footfalls. 

According to him, shopping is all about a great ambience and a good experience. Inorbit Mall has been offering shoppers a mix of food, fashion, and entertainment, besides hosting several consumer connect events and activities throughout the year. Varma informed the malls across cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vadodara host more than 250 events in a year, which include The International Clown Festival, celebrity visits, cause related events like Tree of Smiles, organ donation campaigns and Dogs Day Out, among others. 

Inorbit also has its presence across various social media platforms, through which the mall keeps consumers updated with latest information like offers, new brand arrivals and upcoming events. 

While consumers’ growing preference to shop on e-commerce portals have begun to affect the retail business, Varma sees the growth of e-commerce as a big opportunity to catch and ride on this wave of online shopping and reach the customers who are not able to visit the mall regularly. 

He added, “Consumer preferences and habits are changing over time due to increased digital penetration impacting their lifestyle and choices. Looking at this changed scenario, we have recently introduced India’s first omni-channel online shopping programme, merging the online shopping convenience with our brick & mortar space. Our website and Inorbit mobile app have an integrated ‘Shop Online’ feature, where we offer the dual convenience of online shopping with same day delivery promise and a unique service to reserve the product online and pick up from the mall. We are the first mall in the country to introduce the shop online feature for our Mumbai locations, that is, Malad and Vashi malls. We are planning to gradually implement in other locations as well.” 

When asked about GST’s impact on festive season shopping, Varma felt that it was too early to comment on this. “I personally believe that within 6 months, once the dust settles, we will fully comprehend the impact of GST on the retail business. In fact, it may even help retailers to drop prices in most categories, which will push overall consumption,” he concluded.


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