More consumers shop online than ever before, and foot traffic to malls has decreased in recent years. The coronavirus outbreak has only sped up this trend, as health and safety concerns keep shoppers at home. Malls that want to stay relevant over the next decade will have to reinvent themselves.
And that is exactly what they are doing: shopping malls are changing, and a new generation of malls has been born. In the years to come, they will transform their offerings, moving from clothing stores to more diverse chains of clothing retailers, leisure and entertainment tenants, events and pop-ups, and commercial service providers.
Think about one thing: Why do you like shopping at malls? There are a number of reasons why people shop at malls. Because they are extremely convenient, they provide shoppers with a great variety of stores and shopping opportunities and, also, and perhaps most importantly, because they are great places for entertainment. So, not only do people go there to shop, but they also go there for relaxation.
Keeping his in mind, let me tell you three trends for shopping centers henceforth:
Customers will expect to receive a personalized experience
Shopping malls have a critical advantage when compared to e-commerce: They can create experiences mixing the benefits of online and offline shopping. Today we see that a growing number of customers are demanding experiences tailored directly towards them. They expect experiences that lever both online and offline interaction. So Retail store owners have to meet customers where they are and offer a unified omnichannel experience, with inventory both online and in-store. Did you know that 44% of customers say they are more likely to buy again after the personalized experience?
Customers will increase time spent online in the mall
Customers have increased their online presence. We use our smartphones more than two hours a day (for young people, the amount of time is twice as high). For a shopping mall, it means that for every hour a young customer spends in the mall, they are exposable for digital communication from the mall in 15 minutes. Another important fact is that customers have increased time spent in mall apps doing their visit to the mall.
Technology reveals data on how customers behave doing their visit
With wifi technology, shopping malls can get data on how their customers move around in the mall and which stores they visit the most. The data can even be segmented to measure men and women, and thereby see the different movements based on gender. This data can be used to see areas that customers don’t use, and therefore can be improved – a nice tool for creating interactive environments and memorable customer experiences.
The reality is: malls might look quite different in the not-so-far-off future, and 2021 will be an exciting year for shopping malls. In fact, we think that 2021 may be the turning point for shopping malls. At Flame analytics, expect it to be a year with a lot of progress, and we are looking forward to it. Besides, it’s clear that malls will still have a place in the retail ecosystem. However, they’ll likely have a different look and feel.
Lucía G. Ramos, Flame analytics marketing manager