NEW DELHI: India's mall owners are employing a range of promotions, novel tactics and loyalty programs to attract consumers, as footfall decreases and sales slow.

One such, the owner of Neptune Magnet Mall, in a Mumbai suburb, told Daily News & Analysis he had intensified customer engagement activities during 2013 and had seen footfall up 70% since January.

Another, Anupam Yog, marketing director of Virtuous Retail, said he planned to hold film festivals to entice shoppers. "If the consumer comes and spends time at the mall, it will likely convert into sales," he said.

The necessity for this approach was highlighted in a recent Assocham survey which found that than 47% of the total mall space in nine cities was vacant.

DNA noted that engagement activities included flash mobs, singing and dancing shows, hobby classes, wrestling programmes, reflexology sessions and massages, talent competitions for children, as the mall slowly mutates into an entertainment destination.

And where such events had previously been restricted to the weekends, they were now taking place seven days a week.

Mall owners have also taken a leaf out of the retail playbook and developed their own loyalty programs.

Santosh Pandey of Mumbai's Growel's 101 mall said that consumer response to its loyalty program, which includes free parking, sales previews and cashback facilities, had been "phenomenal".

"This has really boosted sales, especially of food items," he added.

The Times of India recently observed that malls were becoming the favourite hangout spots of Keralan youth thanks to the range of activities and entertainment on offer, while the air conditioning was also an attraction.

In addition, schools were organising day trips and malls were now dating hotspots.

Data sourced from DNA, Times of India; additional content by Warc staff