The space due to the ever-growing domestic demand.

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The history of shopping malls goes as early
as 1922 when the world’s first shopping mall was opened near Kansas City in USA.
From its inception, it has passed the test of time and has become a part of the
economy and modern day retail industry. In the early days the malls were more
like shopping centres with similar type of products being available in most of
the stores. It had a series of small specialty shops leading via a pathway
towards a departmental store. This store acted as the anchor to attract the
crowd. The idea was to attract people to the anchor store who would indulge in
shopping in the specialised store on their way. These centres were ideally
situated near the highway with free parking facilities. The enclosed,
climate-controlled indoor mall was introduced by Victor Gruen, an Austrian
refugee who fled from the Nazis, at the Southdale Shopping Center in Edina,
Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, in 1956. The enclosed, indoor model with
controlled temperature became famous and after few years, open air shopping
centres were not preferred by the customers.

The Indian
retail industry in the last 7 decades has slowly emerged as one of the most
dynamic industries due to the significant growth opportunities available in
this India. Retail industry currently accounts for over 10 per cent of the
country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more than 8.5 per cent of the total
employment generated in the formal sector of the country .India is currently
ranked as the world’s fifth-largest global market in the retail space due to
the ever-growing domestic demand. Indian Retail Industry has immense growth potential
as India has the second largest population with affluent and expanding middle
class, rapid urbanisation.


India’s retail market is poised to continually grow at a Compound Annual
Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 10 per cent to US$ 1.6 trillion by 2026 from the
current US$ 641 billion in 2016. The Total retail market comprising of the organised
and unorganised retail sector is expected to grow at over 11- 12 per cent per
annum. Indian retail market is classified into “Organised Retail Market” which
is valued at $60 billion which is currently only 9 per cent of the total sector
and “Unorganised Retail Market constitutes the rest 91 per cent of the sector. Malls
belong to the organised retail market.

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Malls comprise the official retail sector. As per IBEF, Shopping malls are defined as “one or more buildings
forming a complex of shops representing merchandisers, with interconnected
walkways enabling visitors to walk from unit to unit.” Unofficially, they
are currently the heart and soul of the communities everywhere, the grass root
foundation of the retail economies, and a social meeting point for the
teenagers everywhere. In recent decades, the concept of the shopping mall,
which has its beginning in the U.S. and became a modern retail face across the
world in the post-WWII Years, has proliferated across the whole globe.

Despite its uniqueness and plethora of offerings, the
malls across the world are currently at a critical inflection point owing to
various economic, policy related and geopolitical factors.   Many global
trends are happening simultaneously to cause malls to change the role they play
in our lives. Customers are thinking beyond shopping. Now, when consumers visit
malls, they are looking for customer experiences and unique offerings that go
well beyond the arena of traditional shopping.

Malls need to move in a different direction, staying
away from their commoditized shopping experiences and toward a unique value
proposition for consumers. Innovative  and Gen next malls across the world are
incorporating different  value-added
elements that perceive the mall as the new downtown, including concerts, arts centres,
spas, fitness clubs, and farmer’s markets. These distinct services provide a varied
level of entertainment packages and leisure options that may not be fulfilled
via online shopping. The gen next mall features play options like ski slope, go
karts, balloon rides, bowling and billiards.

From the tenant mix concept, innovative
and gen next malls are strategically realigning the types of differentiated stores
and options that will elevate customer delight and joy. Anchor tenants that
drive the mall traffic are still critical, but a new emphasis on a curated mix
of smaller stores that add a sense of novelty to the mall offering.
Additionally, some malls in India are making optimised use of temporary,
flexible spaces that can accommodate different stores over time. Theme launches,
Car launch, Movie Audio launch, Kiosks, Regular Pop up stores, showroom spaces provide
customers with a sense of the unexpected and elevate their joy.

It is critical that these shopping malls should be more
than the stores present in them. The mix of tenant/public space is currently shifting
from the current 70/30 to 60/40, or even 50/50.The stores generate additional
traffic for the malls while maximizing ROI. Other commercial real estate
opportunities that can add additional revenue to the malls are hotels, office
buildings and airports.

It was found that people preferred
going to malls either in large groups or single. This suggested that the reason
for this behaviour was because the mall supported social interaction. Studies
have shown that the social nature and atmosphere of the mall contributes to its
profitability and popularity. Consumers find a motive, be it social or
psychological, to go to malls and purchase beyond the necessary purchases.
These are mainly that type of consumers who view shopping as a social and
recreational outing rather than a necessity. The retail trade centre has been
the setting for cultural and social events. In mordern contemporary society,
the shopping mall is the retail trade centre. It is an arena which fosters
community interaction and exchange of information, a function previously served
by the farmers market, the church, or the pub. The social interaction in the
shopping mall was more akin to that of the local farmers market than the super market.
This happened because the interactions that happened within the people visiting
the malls and amongst the buyers and shop owners in the mall was of the similar
intensity of that of the local farmers market. In a typical farmers market, the
sellers and buyers engage in conversations thereby increasing the satisfaction
level. However a typical supermarket does not encourages customer engagement at
that level, and without any additional incentive to be there other than the
purpose of buying things, people feel more attracted towards a shopping mall
compared to that. The image of a store present inside a mall and the one
situated in the downtown shopping district was different as well. People tend
to prefer the stores in the mall compared to the store outside as it felt more
sociable. This factor reinforces consumers buying behaviour.

By 1970’s it was reported that
Americans were spending more time in the shopping mall that any other place,
other than work or home. The “mom and pop” stores, individual specialized shops
lost its charm. People of all age group started thronging the shopping malls.
They regarded it as a clean, convenient, safe and cheerful place compared to
other downtown stores. It had become a place where senior citizens could roam
around securely in comfort, where parents take their kids to see Santa Claus,
teenagers socialize and singles court. People preferred going there when there
was nothing better to do. Thus it lead to a study which felt that “there is
something social going on in the mall”. Part of the success of the retail mall
was attributed to the socially stimulating environment that it offered. People
felt more satisfied after visiting a shopping mall because of the level of
social interaction they had. This was found through a study where the
composition of people visiting a downtown shopping area and the local shopping
mall was compared, along with it social behaviour in the shopping mall and the
stores in mall were compared to that of stores that were situated in shopping
centres or downtown shopping district. This study gave a detailed insight into
the Psychology of the people visiting the shopping mall and the reason they
prefer to go there compared to other shopping areas.

The objective of this study is to understand
the various dimensions of customer relationship in shopping malls and how it
impacts customer satisfaction.

Literature review

In India, retailing is the largest private industry and second largest
employer after agriculture. This sector contributes around 10 per cent of the
GDP and almost 7 per cent of employment. India has the highest retail outlet
density in the world with over 15 million retail outlets. Retail industry
witnessed significant development in the past decade evolving from small
unorganized family-owned retail formats to organized retailing. Liberalization
of the economy, rise in per capita income and growing consumerism have
encouraged larger business houses and manufactures to set up retail formats.
Real estate conglomerates, venture capitalists investing in retail infrastructure
has only added to booming retail in India. Many foreign retailers have also
entered the market through different routes such as wholesale cash-and-carry,
local manufacturing, franchising, test marketing and many more. The growth in
organized retailing and unorganized retailers is fast changing their business
models and implementing new technologies and modern accounting practices to
face competition every day.

The Indian retail sector is characterized by the presence of a large
number of small unorganized retailers. However, in the past decade there has
been development of organized retailing, which has encouraged large private
sector player to invest in this sector. Many foreign players have also entered
India through different routes such as test marketing, franchising, wholesale
cash-and-carry operation. With high GDP growth, increased consumerism and
liberalization of the manufacturing sector, India is being portrayed as an
attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in retailing.

Despite the impact of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, the retail
market in India still remains strong, and consumer spending power continues to
grow. The shopping-mall format has been widely accepted by Chinese shoppers,
although this format is quite different from their traditional mode of
shopping. Extant literature has previously examined consumer behavior within
the shopping mall context in Western societies.

A lot of research related to the Indian retail market has made
significant progress over the last decade. However much remains to be explored
and further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of this rapidly
changing market. For example, how the personality of the mall and fashion
orientation might impact Indian shoppers’ intent and behavior remains
unaddressed. Hence, this study to determine the relationship between the type
of store/mall personality and customer behavior is intended to generate
meaningful information and contribute important knowledge to the existing literature
of mall shopping in India at both theoretical and practical levels.

In today’s world, shopping is no longer an exercise to obtain the
preferred product(s) or service(s). Consumers frequently expect multi-sensory,
interactive, and holistic shopping experience that entertains, stimulate, and
emotionally affects them. Prior studies have shown that measurement of customer
satisfaction provides better means to understand the needs of customers and to
empower them by creating customer-centred services. In India, department stores
attract affluent consumers who seek emotional gratification as consumption
motive. Therefore, the actual happiness they receive in-service consumptions
directly influence their satisfaction. The research (Mala Srivastava, Dimple
Kaul (2014)) shows that customer experience performs the role of mediator
between the social interactions, convenience and satisfaction. It demonstrates
that customer experience is the key to customer satisfaction. Henceforth,
customer experience in retail context is extremely relevant. In hypermarket
retail stores where the retailers connect themselves to the customers with the
help of hedonic shopping motivations such as entertainment, exploration,
gratification, social, status, idea, and value shopping which helps in
generating customer satisfaction, loyalty and assistance intentions in the
customer. The study (Atulkar, S., & Kesari, B. (2017)) shows that
entertainment facilities are considered as a most important competitive tool
for creating satisfaction in the customers. In UAE, a similar study (El-Adly,
M. I., & Eid, R. (2016)) shows that value of mall has a significant
positive effect on both customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. The above
circumstances present retailers with opportunities to differentiate themselves
from competitors by designing retail environments that will create memorable
customer experiences.

The aforementioned research has also indicated that customer purchasing
decisions are influenced by the following:

Perception: The customer’s selection, organization and
interpretation of information to form knowledge reflects his/her
Motivation: The customer’s desire to meet his/her own needs
reflects motivation. The learning out of motivation is reflected on the
customer’s behavior while meeting these desires.
Attitude: It is reflected on customer’s steadily favorable
or unfavorable assessments, feelings, or inclinations towards an object or
Beliefs: They are reflected on customers’ thoughts about
a product or service (Kotler & Armstrong, 1997)


The Factors of
Consumer Purchasing Decision:

There are many factors influencing customers on how consumers make any
purchasing decision. The purchasing decision process starts before the actual
purchase and continues long after.


Convenience was offered by retail which was the main motivating factor
for purchases. Convenient access to product information could facilitate and
help shoppers’ making a purchases decision (Loshe & Spiller, 1999).


Price is another critical factor for a customer on retail shopping (Heim
and Sinha, 2001). However, Li et al. (1999) argued that often retail shoppers
were not price-sensitive, cause of these consumers’ price comparisons among
different retailers on each product was time consuming and the price difference
was very small.


Brand is defined as the quality related to the products or services.
Brand is often referred as the seller’s reputation and consumer loyalty. Brands
and features increases as more information is obtained, knowledge of the
available and consumer awareness (Kotler & Armstrong, 1997).


Security was a critical successful factor for retail. Retail would fail
if customer feels lacking a great degree of confidence (Kesh et al., 2002). The
primary reason indicated of the most buyers who didn’t shop online cause of
afraid to reveal personal credit card information to retailers or over the
internet (Rao, 2000).

Mall personality and
shopping value:

Prior research revealed that shopping activities can generate both
hedonic and utilitarian outcomes for consumers (Fischer and Arnold, 1990;
Sherry 1990). Utilitarian values often refer to the functional, instrumental,
practical, and task-related benefits, whereas hedonic values refer to ones that
are aesthetic, experiential, emotional, and pleasure-related (Batra and Ahtola


In order to understand the various dynamics involved for customer
relationships with malls , customers themselves should be segregated into
two  buckets

 1. Tourists

2. Locals

 As per the existing research of
perceived perception of tourists for malls in a tourist destination (1), the
following factors were considered critical:

Quality of retailers


Mall environment


Customer service

Overall customer satisfaction

The correct prioritization of these factors should be ascertained in
order to understand the customer relationship to malls at a tourist destination
at any point of time to understand changing customer preferences and shifting
of loyalties.

Moving on to the category of local consumers, with the advent of
globalization as well as modern technology , shopping malls today have become a
shopping experience (2) and it was found that shopping mall experience has a
correlation with the satisfaction and loyalty towards the brand of the mall.
However, it was found that even though there was no significant relationship
between shopping complex brand Personality and shopping complex loyalty, there
was a relationship between shopping complex satisfaction and shopping complex
loyalty which led to an increase of the shopping complex loyalty.

Facility Management:

Facility Management is imperative in all realms of the service industry.
The quality of FM service plays an important role in the overall service performance
of shopping mall (3).  The empirically
relationships between overall perceived customer satisfaction and satisfaction
came down to nine FM service dimensions:

MMCF: management
and maintenance of communal facilities
 CSC: cleaning staff and cleanliness
 WR: wash room
 PRO: promotion
 PMS: property management services
 SG: security guard
 SS: security services
 MCA: management of common areas
  OPMS – Overall property management

Mall attributes and
customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction, defined as “the number of customers, or
percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its
products, or its services (ratings) exceeds specified satisfaction goals.”
gives a reference to retailers to tailor a strategy for customers (Ferris et
al., 2010; Tse and Wilton, 1988; Oliver 1999). According to Kim, et al., (2004)
customer satisfaction is customer’s reaction to the state of satisfaction, and
customer’s judgment of satisfaction level. Wong et al., (2012) there is a relationship
between shopping mall attributes and customer satisfaction.

In order to investigate the personality of the retail store, two
different Martineau (1958) categories of retail store attributes i.e.
functional and psychological which directly and indirectly to customer

The functional
category includes attributes like location, assortment of products and
store layout.
The psychological
category represents the feelings generated by the functional elements of
the store.

The above research into mall choice by the customers gained more
attention over former attributes than latter. For supporting the review in the
study of a grocery store attributes, customer looked upon the price, product
variety, one-stop shopping, quality, location of the store, advertisement,
general appearance of the store and convenience (Doyle 1975).
Manana, (2009), suggested that Consumers evaluate the malls on the basis of
products and different features of mall e.g. location, employees and
atmosphere. Retail businesses are spending on getting and sustaining locations
appropriate for their products and consumers, as mall location is vital factor
of retail business (Hernandez and Bennison, 2000)

The factors which are affecting customer in shopping and selecting the
shopping place, fall into five groups i.e. Features of price, accessibility,
environment, mall image, regarding the consumer buying behavior, convenience
and rewards (Wong et al., 2012; Dawar and Parker, 1994;) determined other
dimensions of mall selection behavior e.g. decoration, atmosphere, exterior and
cleanliness of mall (Newberry et al., 2003).

A research done by Wang & Ha, (2011), nine features of mall make
significant the consumer to loyal towards shopping in mall that are mall
atmosphere, after sale service, brochures and pamphlets, communication,
convenience, quality and assortment of products promotions, expected behavior
and rewards as discounts etc. Isaksson & Suljanovic (2006) during the study
of “different factors in retail environment affect customer experience” in IKEA
experience suggested that the most apparent reasons for people choosing to shop
is cost advantage with their wide variety of products being relating cheap in
comparison to others retailer and product assortment is wide and constantly

Location is another factor in IKEA which add something extra to their
shopping. Furthermore another study done by Kumar and Vikraman (2012) comparing
organized and unorganized retail outlets suggested that organized outlets
provide price, self-service, visual merchandising and essay accessible layout
to find out the product. In selection of location, Reardon et al.

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