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Malls woo women consumers through special services

Malls woo women consumers through special services
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First Published: Fri, Dec 17 2010. 11 28 PM IST

Special emphasis: Perambulators at Inorbit mall in Mumbai. These form just one of the facilities--from baby care and feeding rooms to prepaid autorickshaws--that malls in different cities are offering
Special emphasis: Perambulators at Inorbit mall in Mumbai. These form just one of the facilities--from baby care and feeding rooms to prepaid autorickshaws--that malls in different cities are offering
Updated: Fri, Dec 17 2010. 11 28 PM IST
Three months ago, Shipra Mall at Indirapuram in Ghaziabad, just outside Delhi, reserved two lanes of parking right in front of the mall for women.
Last month, Select Citywalk in south Delhi started a service aimed primarily at women, allowing shoppers to hire the services of a styling expert to advise them on fashion and makeover. These experts accompany shoppers around the mall and help them choose clothes, accessories and makeup.
The Inorbit malls in Mumbai’s Malad and Vashi have been offering special services such as baby care rooms.
Special emphasis: Perambulators at Inorbit mall in Mumbai. These form just one of the facilities--from baby care and feeding rooms to prepaid autorickshaws--that malls in different cities are offering. Hemant Mishra/Mint
From starting prepaid autorickshaw stands to providing feeding rooms, malls in different cities are courting women customers, who not only comprise a major chunk of the total footfalls, but also ring up larger bills than men.
Manik Dhodi, head of operations at Shipra Mall, said the mall has received an enthusiastic response for the women-only parking.
It has also started a help desk, improved lighting outside the mall, and reinforced security. Dhodi is now planning to add a baby-changing and feeding room. Shipra says it receives more than 60,000 visitors over weekends.
“Women are the biggest spenders, decision makers, and they are the ones who influence men’s shopping,” said Arjun Sharma, director of Select Citywalk. The mall offers feeding room and perambulator facilities. Nearly 70% of its security staff are women, to make the complex female friendly.
Sharma said the mall was designed keeping women in mind. The shops offer a brand mix that appeals to women that constitute more than 60% of the mall’s total visitors. The mall receives around 30,000 footfalls daily and 50,000 on weekends.
“Almost 75% of the merchandise in the mall is women-centric,” said Sharma, who believes a shopping centre should be built around women’s needs.
That’s also the thought behind Prestige Group’s Forum Mall in Bangalore and the new one it is building in Chennai.
Nearly 80% of its merchandise will be for women. “We leased the mall keeping women in mind. We tried to understand from a woman’s point of view what they want to buy,” said V. Muhammad Ali, head of mall operations at Prestige.
Ali said even though Prestige’s Forum Mall in Koramangala in Bangalore has started a prepaid autorickshaw stand aimed at women customers, such facilities have limited appeal and may not give “long-term benefits”.
Sharma of Select Citywalk said his company is planning two more malls, both of which will give special emphasis to women shoppers.
rasul.b@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Dec 17 2010. 11 28 PM IST