Nigeria is presently experiencing consumer revolution with large shopping malls opening up in various parts of the country with positive implications on job creations and taxes, especially in Lagos where the state government emphasises tax payment.
In Lagos alone, there are several shopping malls located in strategic corners with more expected. Analysts say some of the factors driving opening of shopping centres include one-stop shop experience, shopping convenience, Nigerian consumers are becoming brand conscious and the need for ever busy Nigerians who want to shop after close of work.
To offer Ikeja and its environs the unique shopping experience, Ikeja City Mall valued at over N16 billion, which combines shopping with fun and offers a time out for the whole family, opened for business in December 2011. Norman Sander, the centre manager, who tells BusinessDay that the idea is to replicate the type of shopping malls shoppers see in other major economies, says the consumer traffic has grown by more than 25 percent.
In an attempt to grow the Ikeja City Mall brand among consumers, the centre recently embarked on promotions among shoppers, “we want to boost loyalty to the Ikeja City Mall brand. We want consumers to recognise the brand and to come here for their shopping experience. This year, we are building loyalty,” Sander says.
For the promos, shoppers were encouraged to make purchases from any store in the mall, then wrote their names and numbers behind the receipt before dropping them into drop off boxes, strategically positioned in the mall. Through a draw, the winners were selected. The 10 winners were treated to a candlelight dinner for two (winner and spouse).
Just coming from the recently concluded Scavenger Hunt, another promo that was keenly contested where consumers were also encouraged to drop as many entries as they wanted to stand a better chance of winning. The contest involved locating and identifying letters from shops in the mall which spell ‘Ikeja City Mall.’ First winner was rewarded with N100,000 shopping , while other nine contestants got consolation prizes.
Explaining why he thinks more Nigerians are keying into shopping in malls, Sander says it is simply about convenience. “Nigerians are busy just as other people in the world with limited time to shop in the traditional market, which have very short time to open. But malls close very late and families can shop in the evening and bring their families for a meal or movie. It is about comfort, convenience and security. In malls, shopping can be done under one roof,” he says.
On the belief that prices of goods in shopping malls are higher, he says “I think if retailers in the shopping malls increase their prices, they will suffer the consequences. They better get the prices right, otherwise they will fail. It is not all the time that the prices are competitive compared with traditional market. Some goods are competitive while some are not. It is left to individual retailers to decide how they want to manage the the pricing.”
According to Sander, the Ikeja City Mall, which comprises 27,000 square metres of gross built area and 23,000 square meters of let-able area and accommodates about 100 shops, including Shoprite’s latest generation store of over 4,400 square metres, offers unique experience. It offers a large variety of goods and merchandising, though I have not done a study of the market but that is the feeling I get from the market.
The Mall is a community centre with 22,000 square meter. People are not prepared to drive hundreds of kilometres to do their shopping. You can do that in UK because the roads are good but in some other places, consumers are not prepared to do that.
Looking at the future, the centre manager sees a number of people who are going to London to shop changing their minds to shop at the nation’s shopping malls; “I see the growing middle class showing more loyalty to malls.”