Malls woo kids, make parents shell out more

Malls woo kids, make parents shell out more

KIDS DAY OUT

Every kid dreams of meeting their favourite animated character in person, some day.

So when Doraemon arrived at DLF Place Saket and Chhota Bheem’s Dholakpur was set up at Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden, there was almost a stampede! Kids of all age groups came from all parts of the City and even NCR to meet and greet their favourite cartoon characters. With vacations in progress, this new mantra of the malls seems to the new way to boost mid-season sales.

Last weekend, the City Mall’s organised three events which brought alive cartoon characters with huge paraphernalia to attract the kids and thereby the whole family. 

Since cartoons have been sure shot crowd-pullers, malls took the onus of combining the reel and real experience in their premises and reap benefits of footfalls and increase brand positioning.

These events are planned at the beginning of the year to be added in the mall’s annual calendar and seeing their specific potential, are at times made larger through cross promotional strategies and advertising. In the case of Chhota Bheem, the awareness was created through sale of merchandise and contests where the winner gets to meet the character up close. There is a lot of research that goes into conceptualising the whole idea. Ashwin Puri, CEO Pioneer Property Zone (the mall management company for Pacific Mall) says, “There is a certain kind of value proposition attached to a cartoon character as it is larger-than-life and has a wow factor!

“Our research found out that Chota Bheem appealed to the Punjabi community living in and around Tagore Garden.” Well researched! And why not, if huge sums are invested and equal profits expected. The mall also set up a Summer Star event where kids tend to land up everyday to play mind games and become a star!

Through this, malls intend to increase not only the “footfalls” but also the “spend.”

Likewise the positioning is strategically spread throughout the mall. If a-particular area exhibits a problem in sales, a part of the activity is shifted there. Also, the events related to kids are usually placed next to stores which have kids clothing or near foodcourts, so that the upcoming event can be registered in the minds of young ones.

After all, since “children are the deciding factor”, the family knows their next destination for the weekend! Having handled a huge crowd at ‘Meet and Greet Doraemon’, Benu Sehgal, vice president, mall management, DLF Place Saket says, “Kids had brought along their whole family and for me it seemed like a kumbh ka mela!” She informs, “The main event was located in the main atrium, as it is spacious and can accommodate a big gathering but to push customers into the mall, various side activities related to the event were spread across the premises. Promotions were a part of this. For example one had to produce a purch­a­se invoice of Rs 500 to be able to go into Doraemon’s ho­use.” She says she personally instructed security guards, who formed human chains to control crowds and ensure customers’ safety politely but firmly.

But why bring alive these characters at a shopping store?  “Kids remember things like ‘I met Dora at Landmark’,” says, Lijin Thomas, head, marketing, Landmark. The store’s outlet in Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj recently organised ‘Picnic Day with Dora’ to build relations with their customers. Lijin says, “Cartoon characters have a great influence on kids. We not only make them meet their favourite cartoon character but also make the merchandise created by brand/channel available to them. Since kids are hooked to TV and films, there is a high influence which makes them look forward to branded products when their parents go shopping.”

While the kid’s imagination is captured, the sales are automatically taken care of. Ashwin says, “The idea is to solve the problem of parents who want the children to be busy during vacations. While the adults shop, we keep kids busy and aim to push sales by at least 20 per cent during the dwell time of the customer.”

A similar figure is shared by Lijin who adds, “The net sales are not influenced on the day of the event but before and after it, by 11-12 per cent.” Benu says, “I cannot reveal the exact figure but in any mall the sale is highest around Christmas and after Doraemon, we matched the same target! The retailers at the mall personally thanked me for organising such an event.” Now you know where your salary vanished!

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