Exclusive Interview: Now, experience offline mall online, says MD of Digital Mall of Asia
From payments, tickets to education, in this modern age, almost everything is going digital. But, have you ever imagined a physical mall that is digital? What we are talking about is a mall that provides the experience of a physical mall digitally. An e-commerce platform having the potential to connect many different brands to customers directly, to be precise.
Well, this is very much a reality now as an e-commerce platform that aims at reinventing the global retail market by turning it digital has arrived. This is the DIGITAL MALL OF ASIA (DMA). Rishabh Mehra, Managing Director and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia in an interview with Zee Business Online reveals the frenetic action taking place in this space and the fact that he is in talks with JLL & CBRE for an exclusive Rs 1800 cr leasing project. Here are edited excerpts of the interview:-
(Rishabh Mehra, Managing Director and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia )
Q 1. First of all, tell us what is this Digital Mall of Asia? What's the entire concept? Who all are going to benefit from this new concept?
At Digital Mall of Asia, we are creating the experience of an offline mall online. When you visit an offline mall you get retail shops, hyper market, food court, multiplex and a night club. Similarly when you will visit the online mall you will get exclusive retail shops, hyper market, food court, digiplex(you pay an x amount and watch movies of your choice) and nightclub to party anytime anywhere(you pay an x amount and enjoy the music of your favorite nightclub). It is an amalgamation of real estate and digital space. We call it digital estate as it works exactly like physical commercial real estate. You can now buy a digital shop exactly the way you buy a physical shop.
An expression of path breaking innovation, DIGITAL MALL OF ASIA, a first of its kind project is an amalgamation of Real Estate and Digital space.Each mall in a city is different in spite of being the part of the same portal. It is developed on a scalable, robust, secure and reliable technology to manage an ecosystem of brands.
Benefits for Retailers /Brands
Zero commission charged by marketplace.
Immediate settlement as products are delivered by supplier directly.
Supplier gets exclusive rights for a product/brand in a city.
Logistics cost reduced as the supplier uses own manpower in most cases.
Return will be minimized with offline presence.
Benefits for customers
Delivery time 2 to 24 Hrs.
Every supplier will have offine presence in the city.
100% payment on delivery model for all products and locations.
Offline presence will ensure genuine products are delivered.
Q2. Digital Mall of Asia is in talks with big players like JLL & CBRE for an exclusive Rs 1800 cr leasing. Please elaborate the matter.
We are launching the mall in 20 Indian cities. These are those cities where maximum online shopping happens. Each city has 12 towers, each tower has 10 floors and each floor has 20 exclusive retail shops. There is inventory of 5000 shops in every city. We are in talks with JLL and CBRE for an exclusive leasing contract worth 1800 cr per year for all 20 cities. They will lease 1 lac digital shops with average rental per shop of Rs 15000 per month. Both are global leaders in commercial real estate. We are looking for a long term association with these companies as we will be outsourcing the entire leasing and collections for the next 6 years.
Q3. Can you shed some light on the leasing of digital shops in different cities in India? How does this happen? What are the steps in the execution of this concept?
Leasing of a digital shop means that a retailer or a brand can integrate his physical shop to a digital shop by taking the digital shop on rent/lease for a tenure of 12 months. He will not pay any commission or share revenue with the mall owner or the shop owner.
Currently we have an inhouse team working in all the cities but eventually, it will be outsourced to either JLL or CBRE. We have approached most of the popular brands across the country and already have over 1600 retailers onboard.
Q4. How Digital Mall of Asia is providing an alternative model of business?
DMA operates on a zero commission model; retailers at DMA don’t have to pay anything apart from the rent, a major revolution in a space where all the major E-commerce players charge somewhere between 5-35% of the revenue. Moreover, the organization will provide an immediate settlement of all payments received, ensuring complete transparency and reliability. It is also working towards completely eradicating the issue of the sale of counterfeit or fake merchandise. These unique features, apart from its focus on digital innovation, makes DMA a powerful and pioneering presence in the E-commerce space in India.
Q5. What is the quantum of investment done so far by Digital Mall of Asia in the development of this alternative model of business?
The company has invested approximately 20 million since its inception and dedicated 7.5 million for the development of the application and the web portal.
Q6. What is Digital Mall of Asia doing on the technology front for the development of this platform?
Digital Mall of Asia (DMA) has collaborated with Robosoft Technologies for its top development and maintenance portfolio, aiming to incorporate emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) for an enhanced user experience. In association with Robosoft, DMA aims to digitally re-create the shopping-at-mall experience of an individual. The innovative nature of this initiative will take the form of the “Virtual Trial Room” where a customer will be able to try and browse through the products just like at any other offline space of a mall or a shopping centre. The application interface for the consumers will be available on the web, along with iOS and Android devices. A combination of frameworks like React Native, ReactJS, and NodeJS back the applications and the virtual platform. Meeting a critical need in the e-commerce market, Virtual Trail Room will be the most unique aspect of the application which will allow users to digitally try out the merchandise displayed on the virtual mall.
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