29 June, 2009


“Play MJ Hits today and see your sales soar five times” – I told the young boy who was managing the music section at the Landmark Outlet. It was my first visit to this location – I wonder why people call this a Mall. It isn’t, in reality. It’s a building that houses some Retail, a food court and a few cinema screens. A first of its kind mall that I have known in the recent past without an atrium or a central area – no place to “hang around” – just do business or leave! I am referring to the recently inaugurated Swagat Garuda Mall, near or rather in Jayanagar. One would remember the infamous erstwhile Swagat cinema here, a place that was popular among the young and the old and credited with showcasing among the biggest hits of yester years.

The ground floor houses a Westside Store, from where you walk up to the first floor which opens into the Landmark Outlet, welcoming you with well segregated Books from across various categories. And this floor leads you to the second floor that begins with some pefumes and gifts and deep inside is the Music section. We were trying to reach the fourth floor which has the INOX multiplex – our main reason to visit this place was to watch the latest Hindi superhit, New York, based on the traumatic effect on people in the US from various religions and backgrounds after the fateful 9/11. We still had some 20 minutes and decided to walk through the store. While Westside was looking normal with its usual collections, Landmark was a bit better. Too many merchandise and too little ventilation and airconditioning makes these outlets stuffy. Wish the project guys doubled up as salesmen too or atleast visited these places as customers, that they don’t repeat such bad planning!

As I was walking past the western/pop section (and remebering my good’ol days at Musicworld), I was remined of the Pop sensation who breathed his last a few days ago. I called for assistance and said, “Where can I find the Best of MJ India collection”. The good samaritan took me to the section, searched for the album and handed it over on my hand. Wow. I was quite surprised with that – quite rare to see, honestly, that a sales guy actually gives you what you actually wanted and that too in a jiffy. I thanked him and was looking at the other collections. However, this was what I wanted and moved towards the billing area. While some other music was playing all along, I suddenly heard “Black or White” on the speakers. The same salesguy who assisted me, was preparing his day, planning his work, saw me again. And I said, “AirPlay MJ Hits today and see your sales soar five times” and I could see a wide grin on his face, for he knew I wouldn’t be wrong. It’s not just a commercial proposition that Retailers must cash in on, certainly not. That would be cheap and may not take them long. But, it’s great service to remind customers and highlight the collection of the world’s most popular pop singer and honor him atleast with that respect, after all that he went through before he finally died. Even as I write this piece, News channels are showcasing various reports, most of them their own thoughts with some facts thrown in here or there.

After billing, we walked up to the third floor, some food outlets bunched up in a low ceiling food court, which made us to test our fast-walking skills. And then, finally headed to the fourth floor. It was a delight to see the entrance of the cinema hall! But I must admit that the overall layout of this location was not all that bad – afterall it brought more customers through the shops and the food court, increasing footfalls and probably inducing conversions. And just then remembered why we were there. I asked myself if I would have bought the music CD of the movie that we were going to watch and the answer was yes. Just that I didn’t remember to. Probably because I wasn’t reminded. What a wonderful opportunity it was to sell music CDs at the Cinema Hall or even just before one entered. Such a simple thought which am sure would have stuck the area sales executive who went to check out stocks at the Landmark Outlet, but probably missed out. If not a great grand display, atleast an Airplay would have helped. Yes, I bet.

This was the first project that I undertook as a Management Trainee straight out of B-School 8 years ago. And the results were startling. Whenever a particular artist/album was played on Airplay (that’s the common music that you hear at the retail stores), chances of that particular album’s sales going up was over five times. And there were days when we have played the same CD for over 6 hours – continuously. One such example was K3G or Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, a hindi movie released in 2001 that featured the Shahenshah and the Baadshah together (that’s Amitabh Bachhan and Shah Rukh Khan). After all, nothing better than AirPlay. It not only holds customers within the store, but also creates great conversions. Just that one must remember, to play. To AirPlay. If only.

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