THE FUTURE OF SHOPPING MALLS

A snapshot of the changing retail landscape and how retail centers are radically adapting to meet the needs of the new connected customer by defining the new rules of brick & mortar retail.

The main challenge with Shopping Malls today, is that it is impersonal, generic and often a copied experience. The popularity of malls in the 90’s & 00’s can perhaps be accredited to it being one of the few commercial social spaces open to everyone. Going to the mall was a leisure activity – it was the public place to be seen, spend time (and money) and escape to. The once 3rd place has now been surpassed by online players like Facebook, Instagram, Netflix and Spotify that offers a streamlined mix of personalised, social experiences as well as integrated and frictionless point of sale.

Further to this, new generation consumers expectation of physical retail is different, inundated with technology they also prefer “doing” over “owning”. This means that malls, in order to remain relevant, needs to create richer experiences beyond transaction. It also requires a change in dynamic, moving from ‘pushing’ product offerings to market to creating destinations that pull visitors and customers to connect with brands through experiences, entertainment and complimentary services. This pull dynamic requires an understanding of the needs and interests of it’s local and diverse consumer market.

In our review we articulate and explore a series of headlines, firmly rooted in industry dialogue and case studies, which we believe is shaping the future of shopping malls.

Hospitality Led Retail

Retail is no longer the anchor tenant. The new kid on the block is all about experience and creating a sense of place.

Experience-led Tenant mix

New generation centres focus less on filling spaces with generic chains and products and more on building a cohesive experience with like minded brands.

Community Engagement

The original intent of shopping malls were about merging of culture, commerce & community similar to a high street or a public square. It is critical for Shopping Malls to continually root itself within it’s community, activating shared value and sense of place.

Hybridity

Malls should be more than just stores. The future Shopping Mall takes on a multi modal existence offering a considered mix of entertainment, wellness, education, live and work opportunities and retail.

‘Phygital’

Digital has changed consumer’s expectation of physical retail. In light of a new blended retail framework, physical retail is liberated by technology. Mall and store environments are subsequently becoming frictionless and able to offer value adding services in exchange for customer data.

The future of the shopping malls presents itself as a mixture of innovation and humanity, brought together in a hybrid physical environment that combines culture, commerce and community. We believe its financial success depends on social success, both at an urban and human scale.

Together landlords and designers need to embrace the new approach to create social environments or ‘3rd places’. Building unique experiences with combination of dining, leisure and retail are key to the future success of Shopping Malls.

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