Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Archive for May 2012

SSTWO Mall needs some serious help

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I have only been to SSTWO Mall once in my whole entire lifetime eventhough the mall is just 5 minutes drive away from my house. It was a lunch with friends – but we ate and left straight after without exploring much… And I have never stepped on the mall for the second time ….. until two weeks ago.

I decided to pay SSTWO Mall a visit because I got to know a shop called  GNC which sell protein shake there.  Why do I need to buy protein shake? Because when a man wants to buy some protein shake, he will walk in to the mall and buy it.

But I ended up didn’t buying any. Anyway.

But this time, I had the opportunity to take a proper look at the mall. I walked around, floor after floor, to check out what’s cool there. Obviously, I was disappointed as there were nothing remarkable, reflected by all the empty-unoccupied-vacant shops.

Then, I noticed there were a bunch of people dressing very nicely. And so I stalked them for a while, and they were all heading towards Dynasty Dragon restaurant at the most upper level for a wedding dinner. Take away these bunch of wedding-dinner-goer people, and this mall has 50% less people.

The more I looked at the state of the mall, the more I raged. A beautiful mall, but everything is just wrong. What raged me was the lack of direction and purpose of what SSTWO Mall wanna be.  It is as though they are leaving it to fate, hope for the mall to succeed automatically while in reality letting it rot along the way.

And I have thought, they should just let me be the director and manage the mall. I walked around for 15 minutes and ideas just kept flowing in my head on how to improve this mall. And I thought, things will not go any more worse even if I fail in any of my plans.


Out of the 10 biggest shopping malls in the world, Malaysia has 3.  And it speaks volume of how big a shopping culture is in Malaysia and how competitive the shopping mall market is. Hence, to succeed, every mall must have purpose and reason for people to step on the mall. There are basically, two major directions a mall can take to succeed –

A – Themed shopping mall 

Fashion – Sungei Wang, Starhill

High End-ish / Premium – Bangsar Village, Empire, Pavillion

Tech/Gadgets – Lowyat, Digital Mall

Food – Curve, Publika

Bazaar – Amcorp Mall, Curve, Summit

B – Generic shopping mall – Everything under one roof, whatever you want to find.

Example – 1Utama, Mid Valley, Sunway Pyramid, Times Square, Tropicana Mall, etc.

The secret success of a big-ass generic mall is simple, really. You just need to have three things and you are pretty much set to go.

1. Cinema (GSC, TGV)

2. Hypermarket (Tesco, Carrefour, Giant, Jaya Grocer)

3. Plenty of food options.

And everything else is just additional reasons for people to spend time walking around.

This is where SSTWO Mall failed. They are obviously not a themed mall since there are so many rojak shops. They have neither a cinema nor a reputable hypermarket, so they are not competing with the big boys. SO WHO ARE THEY?

Why should people go to SSTWO Mall? No reasons at all. And it builds up the viscous cycle –  less people visiting the mall, less money flow in, shops starts closing down, even less people coming in, even more shops close down and the cycle will  loop perpetually. Eventually SSTWO Mall will slowly die off and become nothing but a ghost mall.

Therefore SSTWO mall should start reversing and creating a positive loop instead. It doesn’t matter which direction SSTWO Mall is taking, whether to be a themed shopping mall or a generic one, as long as they choose one. Just like any business, a mall without any sort of direction or proper goals will die off.


The easier path to take is obviously to push all the way to become a well-defined themed shopping mall .. especially for food or bazaar ala Curve’s style. It is the easiest way out I can imagine with the state of how they are now.

But since I’m already assuming the position of an armchair critic, where everything seems easy to be done as said, then I will just bullshit all the way through with some strategies on how to be a successful generic mall.

Here are the 5 points strategy.

1. Branded hypermarket – When I surveyed the surrounding of SSTWO Mall, all I see was condo, house, condo and more house. It’s basically a mall located in the middle of a housing area. When there are so many people staying in one area, groceries will be high in demand. This is when a hypermarket will come handy. And currently, there’s one supermarket in SSTWO Mall called Urban Food Supermarket. No offence but who the hell is Urban Food Supermarket? Nobody knows about them. People only know about Giant, Carrefour, Tesco and Jaya Grocer. Urban Food Supermarket represent nothing in people’s head. That’s why people go to Tropicana Mall for groceries and not to SSTWO Mall

Action : Get one of the big boys hypermarket in.

2. Cinema – 10 years ago, I learned that contrary to popular belief, piracy did nothing to stop people from going to cinema.  It’s because cinema offers something which almost every household cannot afford – big ass screen and big ass speakers. However, standalone cinema which shows only 1 movie at a time collapse, because there are no varieties offered. GSC and TGV in a way revolutionized cinema by shrinking the size of cinema hall and offered up to 10 ongoing movies at the same time for people to choose. And that was the start of the era of people visiting shopping mall to watch movies in cinema. If you do some surveys, watching movie will always be one of the top 2 activities in shopping mall along with eating. Now that I have explained the history of cinema in Malaysia, does this make any sense to you SSTWO Mall?

Action : Get GSC/TGV in.

3. Entertainment (especially for young people) – Bowling, karaoke, archery, arcade. There is only a snooker place/bar which hide itself at the most top floor. With so many houses around the mall, chances are there are many younger people staying around the area too. Secret of young people – they are allergic to money. They wanna throw it out from their pocket as soon as they can. But first, you must give them reasons why they should throw the money away. And SSTWO mall is not giving people any reasons other than food and maybe some ChaTime.

Action : One bowling centre and a karaoke lounge, and you will be giving plenty reasons to SS2 and Section 17 people why they should head over. Really.

4.  More bars with expensive food – Personally, I’m not a big fan of beer or alcohol but I do recognized the uptrend of people hanging out at bars with expensive western food (which will cost around RM50-RM100 per meal). The great thing  about PJ location especially SS2, Section 17, and Damansara is that it’s a predominantly Chinese population. Which means you won’t lose out a lot running non-Halal business. And Jaya One has set the standard pretty good.

Action : Mix the variety of existing food and restaurants at SSTWO Mall.

5. Free rent and just cover the basic utility cost like electricity, water, management fee – The 4 ideas above is about getting as many cool retailers in as possible – And the best way to get them in is to offer a nothing-much-to-lose reason. What is better than not charging any rent? Sure, there’s still some renovation cost and furniture cost, but free 1 year rent? Pretty good deal, I think.

SSTWO is already leaving a shitty impression to people that it’s a dying mall. It’s now or never before it’s going to collapse if no new retailers come in.

Action : RM0 rent for 1 year.

Few day ago, I was driving across LDP highway, and I noticed that Paradigm Mall is ready for their launching. Such a weird location, but I think they are gonna do well just for the simple fact that they have GSC and Tesco. And they will be having a grand ceremony by inviting celebrities in to perform. I won’t really bet my money on them failing anytime soon. There are plenty of stuffs SSTWO Mall can learn from Paradigm Mall on how to kickstart and launch a mall properly.


Written by elan85

May 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm