NEW DELHI: The Internet has had a radical impact on the way we shop, taking us beyond the traditional store and into a world where we choose what we buy by scrolling through images of the products on offer. But traditional retail could bounce back through the medium of virtual reality, thanks to virtual mall concept developed by the parent of Digital Mall of Asia (DMA), Yokeasia Malls Pvt. Ltd.
While the term ‘digital mall’ was previously used in the context of a physical mall exclusively selling electronic items, DMA aims to redefine the term.
“Ours isn’t just a typical e-commerce platform meant for online shopping. It will house nearly 12 towers comprising retail shops, trial rooms, hypermarket, electronics, education, financial services, food courts and much more,” said Rishabh Mehra, managing director and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia.
Starting in Noida, the mall is set to go live on January 1, 2020. Furthermore, DMA aims to scale-up its business to 20 more cities over next six months covering all the top five metros along with Pune, Chandigarh, Gurugram and Jaipur, to name a few.
Typically, it is designed to let users ‘walk’, browse and shop without moving a single foot. It all comes down to replicating the experience of physically walking through the shop and seeing products lined up side-by-side, just like their real-life counterparts.
According to Mehra, the mall also improves on one of the most bothersome aspects of shopping — fake or counterfeit products.
“To operate on the platform, retailers would be required to have at least one physical retail store in their desired city. Most importantly, retailers operating on our platform won’t be allowed to sell products without the consent of the brand,” Mehra said, explaining this would eliminate artificial hyper-competitiveness — a common concern for retailers on most e-commerce portals.
Furthermore, customers will be able to check the products first before making the payment and the strong local retail presence will also ensure faster deliveries.
The new-age virtual mall will run on a zero-commission model which means retailers will only be required to pay a fixed monthly rent of as low as `10,000 and even buy a digital store for as much as `10 lakh. This model compares favourably to those of other e-commerce giants as well traditional stores inside any mall that charge a commission of anything between 5-35 per cent in addition to the rent.
“Every city will have a different mall, with a total of one lakh shops with each floor having 50 exclusive brands,” Mehra said. Currently, the company has on-boarded brands such as Samsung, Panasonic, LG in electronics as well as Allen Solly, Louis Phillip, Peter England, Raymonds in clothing.
Detailing its investment plans, Mehra noted DMA has raised `22 crore or $3.06 million at current exchange rates in funding from real estate investor Satish Jain through his company Amour Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. These funds will take care of the first phase of expansion, while the second phase will be funded mainly through internal accruals. DMA collaborated with Robosoft Technologies and is working on incorporating modern-day technological tools like virtual reality as well as augmented reality for enhanced user experience.
“We are working to give our customers touch and feel the experience. It’s just a matter of a few months that we offer all the high-end technologies to enhance the experience of our customer,” Mehra said. DMA has also begun the registrations to take its innovation to eight more Asian countries by 2021-end.
Funds raised for expansion spree
DMA has raised `22 crore in funding from real estate investor Satish Jain through his company Amour Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. These funds will take care of the first phase of expansion, while the second phase will be funded mainly through internal accruals.