Case Analysis: Blaming The Pitch
It is time to focus on tuning the game to the playing conditions
Every mall aspires to be a complete destination marketplace. Just like any ‘sector market in Delhi’ or a ‘station market in Mumbai’. A mall hosts several choices from necessities, indulgences to needs and weaves them along with temptations and surprises. That’s what makes destination malls succeed commercially and socially. That seems to be exactly what Quartz is trying for its audience.
In any market place, each of the shops and services play different roles — one-stop shops, necessities, clothing and lifestyle, or impulse offerings. A shopper knows what shops she will definitely visit; she browses, window shops and drifts into other stores. The shops of the latter kind are normally at high street level, to catch our eye and tempt us to enter and shop. Consumer behaviour as well as a business economics, explain why gyms, salons, coaching classes, even destination dining places, do not occupy prime real estate in a market. They are often on upper floors or in a lane behind the glitzy shops.
Gigil and StratNext have to answer this: Is the profile of customers visiting The Quartz in sync with Gigil’s target customers? If the answer is “Yes”, there is no harm being located at lower ground floor (LGF), as long as competing salons are not placed in a more prime location in the mall.
A salon visit is a planned trip 9/10 times. You don’t ‘drift into a salon’ that you don’t already trust, just while strolling by. Mallika is right, services such as pedicure or hair wash can be impulse purchases on a shopping trip. But for the salon, these are low value, low involvement services. Salons build clientele and make money, on regular skin and hair regimens. And haircuts/colour, monthly facials, spa treatments are planned outings. We know we are going to a salon when we leave home. Being conveniently located is a good thing for a salon. But most salons do not have to be ‘prominently’ located, for success.
Both the Gigil business team and the Quartz Mall team know why Volyoom folded up from the same location in the mall and these would reflect in the new agreement in the form of softer occupancy costs, higher visibility on other floors or more variable and less fixed rent component. It is also in the interest of the mall that the retailer like Gigil finds viability. Frequent changes in stores affects the mall’s reputation as well.
As for the concern about the less premium, lower ground floor, it is a popular practice in the most premium malls to have a ‘flea market’ or ‘exhibition’ area. It adds to the overall charm of the mall and keeps the visitors in a curious and discovering frame of mind. Both Select CityWalk at Saket, Delhi or the courtyard next to Palladium, in Lower Parel, Mumbai, have ‘buzz’ areas with earthy, semi-formal and changing offerings. The absence of big brands here and a street market like look can feel ‘non-premium’ at times. However, these features are very popular with the mall’s customers. Hence as long as the customer profile is correct, Gigil should not fuss about being on the LGF.
To use a cricket metaphor, the brand consulting team is applying itself too much to the location in the mall and ‘blaming the pitch’ too much instead of focussing on tuning the game to the playing conditions. There are several ways in which the game can be slightly tuned, for higher success. Gigil can make sure it negotiates higher marketing visibility for itself on the mall façade and on other floors. Taking a clue from Mallika’s insight, it can offer half price pedicure and hair wash vouchers at all cosmetics and fashion stores in the mall. It can inform its current customers in the nearby areas about their new location and offer them a preview service, to trigger a positive word-of-mouth. I am sure Gigil has learnt the craft of good service delivery, which has kept its clients coming back again and again.
It is in the nature of the salon business, that many of its sites will be non-prime. Instead of blaming the turning pitch, the StratNext brand team should design nimble footwork that helps Gigil succeed at Quartz mall. That, incidentally, is also within StratNext’s scope.
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