ALKESH SHARMA / EMIRATES BUSINESS
Visiting a shopping mall could also be a cumbersome experience for many. Bombarded with countless offers, while boasting the presence of scores of brands under one-roof, a shopping mall could also lead a prospective customer into a an utter cerebral chaos.
Gauging the retail industryâ€™s perennial need to connect malls with the smart-phone by offering a dedicated app detailing about their locations, offers, and specialties, entrepreneur Jaideep Dhanoa, founded MallMate, a new mobile app that streamlines the mall shopping experience.
The app has been developed by a team of entrepreneurs and ethical hackers to integrate information from malls around the world onto a single platform so consumers have a one-stop mobile solution for their shopping needs with an interface that makes the shopping mall experience enjoyable and pain-free.
Grew up in California, Dubai, Mumbai and Singapore, before moving to New York to study at Columbia University, Jaideep started discovered his passion for internet entrepreneurship in Columbia.
His aspiration to be a multi-cultural leader drove him to solidify his international experience through an MBA at INSEAD, the top ranked global MBA programme, where he split his time between Singapore, France, Abu Dhabi, and the US.
After graduating with distinction from INSEAD, Jaideep returned to the West Coast, joining McKinsey & Company’s San Francisco office where he focussed on digital strategy for consumer technology and PE clients, before recently moving back to Asia.
Emirates Business spoke to Jaideep Dhanoa, to know more from the burgeoning world of mobile apps and technology
From where did you get this innovative idea behinf MallMate? What kind of response you have got so far?
Shopping malls are the locus of daily activities – shopping, eating, and entertainment – for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Yet while mobile has transformed almost every industry, the shopping mall is nonexistent on consumer smartphones and therefore the consumer experience has not progressed with technology.
We felt there was a white space opportunity to create something a lot of people would find useful.
We were in stealth for a few years before releasing the app in the UAE last November. Since our launch we have been very happy with the response from the market, ranking as a top 10 shopping app for the last three months.
Currently we are live in 8 cities: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al Ain, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Bangalore.
Our demographics are similar to the demographics of mall goers â€“ which means we have a broad range of customers across age, gender, ethnicity and income brackets. Itâ€™s really an app for everyone.
One interesting fact is that the average user has added over 30 brands to her taste profile, allowing MallMate to provide a highly personalised experience. Additionally, because we know what our users like we are able to keep them informed whenever there is a sale at any of their favourite stores â€“ and have shared over 500,000 personal deal alerts so far.
What is your take on growing industry of apps and mobile technology?
Mobile is ever-present in the things we do. The average person checks their phone over 150 times a day. It consumes the â€˜emptyâ€™ space in our life â€“ basically whenever someone used to be idle, he is now on his phone. And when they are on their phones, they are using apps.
Every industry is being transformed by this mobile phone, both due to the scale of its market and due to the opportunities unlocked as a result of mobileâ€™s always connected, location aware and sensory capabilities. This trend will continue to accelerate in the coming years.
The Middle East and the UAE specifically is no different compared to the global trends taking place around the world. The demographics of millennial are even more representative in Middle East countries and so digital adoption will take place even faster.
Locally, the start-up community has emerged and will leverage digital to create new experiences that will improve some of the grey areas in the region.
Tell us about MallMateâ€™s network in UAE and globally?
We currently have coverage of over 50 malls in the UAE across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain, plus another 150 malls between Singapore, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Bangalore. Our goal is to be a single platform that aggregates all the shopping malls in your city and around the world into a single app.
We have achieved good landmarks but still a lot of work has to be done to achieve our final target.
What is the latest project on which you are working on and what do you expect out of it?
We have a new update in the pipeline that would really improve upon the aspects of shopping mall discovery and exploration experience â€“ weâ€™re very excited about this new release which would be out in the next few weeks.
UAE is looking forward to host the biggest exhibition of the world in 2020, what are your expectations?
Since its founding, the UAE has been known for its entrepreneurial culture and visionary leaders. MallMate and other start-ups like it are simply bringing a 21st century spin to what the UAE has always been known for.
We all are very excited over the innovative avenues that Expo 20202 will open for our industry of apps and technology.
Creativity is one of major aspects of oneâ€™s business that decides the success or the failure, what do you think about that. How has that made a difference in your business?
Creativity is definitely an important ingredient to success, most especially in how you apply it. Creativity is not only about being an artist â€” itâ€™s also how you think about customer experience, business models, customer acquisition, etc. You should always keep an open mind and keep experimenting in life.
Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?
Iâ€™m optimistic that I will continue to build on what we have started at MallMate for the foreseeable future.
Are there any new developments you are working upon that you would like to share with us?
Stay tuned 😉