Monthly Archives: July 2011

Optimall Solution !?

From the Crucibles of JPS Customer Value Academy 

                                Just Plain & Simple                               

                                ….. Helping Create Customer Value

The Indian Optician, March-April 2011 Issue

The last decade has seen a mushrooming of malls across all city classes in India. It has been a revolution in retailing. Retailers of all types rushed to find their space in these malls and customers thronged them. Results have been mixed though and so are opinions on whether the malls are an alternative to traditional Indian retail.

There sure is a novelty value and an initial surge of visitors leads to quite a substantial footfall. People have rushed in for all sorts of reasons ….. to get a feel of the new ambience, to stay indoors and spend time in cool/dust free environs, to hang around in restaurants/coffee shops, to visit the multiplexes, or for plain window shopping. The initial debate of sales not being commensurate to rentals and/or footfall continues, though in various measures, for different cities and retail types. What is the reality; where will the system reach a dynamic equilibrium !?

As with all other retail categories, so also have our very own optical stores, and rightly so, moved in to occupy their rightful place in such malls. Speculation and debate is very much alive for this category also. But compared to any other category, be it foods and grocery, fashion accessories, shoes, garments or bookshops, the debate on how opticals are faring, or will fare, is probably a little more tricky.

Questions abound ….. the neighbourhood optical store is more convenient; malls have a lighter/fun environment and hence not suitable for an eye check up; when in a mall, frame of mind is different; eye-checkup is more serious stuff; impulse purchase or non serious purchases are OK in a mall; specs are a predecided/pre thought out decision and hence one goes to a predecided regular destination store …..

For various categories, the ambience of malls has broken old habits. One sees foods and groceries and vegetable buying habits also in for a change. Internationally, where mall penetration has been high for quite a long period of time, opticals and even pharmacies have had a decent and profitable presence. The trend is also, in the recent past, towards even medical clinics coming up in malls ….. these, however, will ride on the convenience provided by a pre-existing mall culture/habit. They promise speed, transparency and convenience, though the ‘regular same’ doctor concept may not be fully practiced as yet.

But what does all this bode for opticals in India ? Will it be a tough ride going forward ? Will it be a game changer ? Will serious eye checkups never pick up in malls ? Will only impulse/less ‘serious’/fashion led products like sunglasses do well ?

Whatever be the case, one thing that optical stores will have to gear up for mall presence, beyond ambience (which has been mastered), is staff quality, to be able to match the type, style, spending ability, mood and aspirations of a mall customer. This is one area which leaves a lot to be desired.

While optimism rules and there is every hope and reason that hygienic and clean  ‘mall’ shopping habits should build up, there also is likelihood of a shakeout and as the old saying goes ‘survival of the fittest’. In the meanwhile, it may not be advisable for any multi-store/multi location optical store to miss a presence in the malls ….. lest they miss the rise when the wave sweeps high !!

J.P.Singh,

Justplainandsimple Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

JPSConsulting

Just Plain & Simple                               

….. Helping Realise Potential

JPS Customer Value Academy

Just Plain & Simple                               

….. Helping Create Customer Value

Blog :http://jpsingh.wordpress.com

Website : www.justplainandsimple.com

Twitter : @jpsingh55

2,030 total views, 2 views today