There is huge potential for businesses opting to provide commercially-designed experiences to customers, effectively combining retail and entertainment
In a tumultuous global scenario, India has managed to make long and steady strides in sectors which earlier played a minuscule role in the country’s growth story. Now imagine the phenomenal growth the integration of retail and entertainment — retail-tainment — offers to businesses. Today, when people are hard-pressed for time, they look for all-inclusive options where they can enjoy a good meal, a movie or a theatre performance and then indulge in some spur-of-the-moment shopping under the same roof, and retail-tainment is the name for it.
Retail-tainment is not a new sector, but a developed concept from the West, which is present in India too, though negligibly. Going by the definition, retail-tainment means a commercially-designed experience intended to combine entertainment and retailing.
Chalking the opportunity
While the West to its credit has amazing retail-tainment platforms, India too has had some of its success stories in smaller cities where the perfect blend of retail with entertainment in a seamless manner has been achieved and these models can be replicated to suit customers’ tastes in other parts of the country. It is a good proposition to explore new markets in tier 3 and 4 towns to expand business as spaces in big cities are evaporating really fast.
As India is a nation of movie buffs, the attraction must be harnessed to create family entertainment centres where two-screen movie halls, chosen retail outlets and sumptuous food courts can be developed to cater to the tastes of customers in non-metro regions. It is expected that 15,000 multiplex screens will come up in the country by 2020 and the industry will have to play a proactive role to translate this number into a reality.
The government is also facilitating the private sector to develop retail-tainment in districts and towns by engaging in PPPs (public private partnerships). The industry giants are welcoming the new wave of collaboration as government agencies are readily making land and permissions available to stakeholders in tier 3 and 4 cities at a fast pace.
But retail-tainment has some challenging issues to address. As India is fast transforming into a customer- centric economy with a young demographic dividend, it is really a daunting task to hold the attention of the customer who is spoilt for choices and would not shy away from moving to your competitor for an enhanced experience.
Keeping up with the challenge
Burgeoning e-commerce platforms are threatening the very existence of the brick-and-mortar retail sector and making it difficult for them to sustain their market shares.
This clearly indicates that businesses will have to step out of their comfort zone and innovate to provide the customer a shopping and entertainment experience, which is not just memorable but enthralling as well. Here, it must also be considered that the customer looks for value for money and if not satisfied, there will be no more repeat footfalls.
Retail-tainment is fast catching up in India with multiplexes and shopping malls revamping their strategies to satisfy customer needs.
Technology is a disruptor, but keeping pace with the fast changing consumer preference is the biggest disruption for the industry. To persuade new-age customers, retail-tainment players will have to be technology savvy to deliver customised solutions. Innovation and engaging experiences will have to be created for young India, which tends to get distracted easily and shows signs of unpredictable purchasing and market behaviour. No business can succeed without a well thought-out market strategy.
The industry will have to be sensitive yet assertive in its approach while marketing the concept of retail-tainment as Indians are not adventurous when it comes to spending.
These are exciting times as India witnesses one of its glorious economic phases with sustainable, inclusive and smart growth. But in the competitive world, only those stakeholders will remain afloat who will be risk-takers, forward-thinkers and do not hesitate to change their market strategies with the times.
By- PV Sunil
The author is CEO & director, Carnival Cinemas