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Malls creating selfie zones to increase footfall


For malls across India, it’s touch-up time to be selfie-ready. The country’s selfie-obsession is driving mall owners to invest in making selfie-friendly zones.

A year ago, Rajneesh Mahajan, executive director of Inorbit Malls, was astonished to see the craze among shopaholics to click selfies with a heart-shaped bonsai plant. What started as a nursery store’s marketing move to place such plants on every floor escalated into a selfie festival.

In just about a day’s time, the company saw a 30% jump in social media engagement and mobile app download.

Now, Inorbit Malls in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are undergoing renovations. Select CityWalk in Delhi and Forum Malls in the South are leaving no stones unturned to give their consumers an environment for a perfect selfie, a phenomena which has flooded over 28 crore posts on social media platform Instagram worldwide.

Selfie booths

Last year alone, 24 billion selfies were uploaded to Google Photos, according to a blogpost by the company. That boils down to more than three selfies for every human being on the planet.

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Tapping into this opportunity, Delhi’s Select CityWalk has spent about Rs 1.5-2 crore, which is 15-20% of its annual marketing budget, to create temporary selfie booths. A selfie lover himself, Executive Director Yogeshwar Sharma often sees fitness freaks taking snaps around these booths before they hit the gym on the top floor at 7 in the morning.

“We will increase our investments on this by 10% next year,” said Sharma. “It helps us in driving footfalls in creating fun memories and offer something beyond shopping.” Select CityWalk is one of the top 10 checked-in places online along with Taj Mahal and Golden Temple, he claimed. “The credit goes to this, undoubtedly.”

Selfies to sales

Brands are still not sure whether the selfie-zones translate to sales. “Such innovations keep the interest levels among consumers high, so there is of course a stickiness factor. Has this marketing gimmick helped us in sales? I don’t think so,” said J Suresh, managing director of Arvind Lifestyle Brands, which has brands such as Gap and Arrow in its portfolio. Indus League, which sells brand such as Jealous 21 and Converse, reiterated the same sentiments.

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According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University and Indraprastha Institute of Information Delhi, India leads the world in selfie deaths with 76 of the world’s 127 selfie deaths happening in this country between March 2014 and September this year. Second placed Pakistan recorded just nine deaths.

Experts call the initiatives at malls a “short-term tactic”, which is helping them dig deep into the social media marketing. “Malls are now beginning to realise that they need to focus on online marketing,” said S Raghunandan, chief executive of Next Practice Retail, a retail consulting company. “This is all temporary. Malls should focus more on retail improvements instead.”

(Source: Economic Times)