Shopping Centers of the Future: Which Trends Will Mark the Future of Retail?
The future of shopping malls is uncertain. After the impact COVID-19 had on physical stores and shopping malls, interesting new trends have emerged.
Shopping centers and physical stores will continue to be a fundamental pillar of the retail sector, but how are they changing? Being aware of these changes prepares retail businesses to keep up and stand out in the future.
Retailers are preparing for the future of retail by investing in online platforms, enhancing customer experience, and strengthening the creation of in-store experiences as shopping malls continue to transform.
What will be the future of shopping malls?
The pandemic forced consumers to shop online, creating additional demand for omnichannel online sales and multiple ways to purchase, receive and return items, creating a new and enhanced shopping experience for customers.
“During the pandemic, e-commerce sales represented only 14% of total retail sales, indicating the importance of integrating store-level inventory within the digital supply chain.” (Deloitte). Reaffirming that much of retail shopping continues to happen in stores.
This leads us to believe that creativity and collaboration between mall owners and retailers will be essential.
New challenges transformed into opportunities
For shopping centers owners adopting a holistic vision will be of great importance, since “Offering a physical space for consumers to purchase goods is no longer enough; retailers must engage consumers with richer experiences that foster a sense of community.” (Deloitte)
This is an opportunity to create experiences that customers want to come across, so that retailers, together with mall owners, can carry out experiences that attract customers which ultimately leads to a mutual benefit.
4 Visions of the Future of Shopping Centers
Consulting firm Kearney believes malls of the past are evolving into Consumer Engagement Spaces, in which consumers will find experiences that relate directly to their specific needs and wants.
Thus, the consulting firm shares 4 visions about the future of shopping centers that we present here with an analysis of the future:
1. “Destination Centers: Large spaces centered around great attractions”
Having an anchor. Kearney tells us, this is a compelling social experience, “perhaps having an indoor ski slope, a roller coaster, a concert space, or a museum that provides immersive, experience-based entertainment.”
Examples of this are found in Xanadu in Spain, Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, and The American Dream Centern which is under construction in New Jersey and Miami. Visiting places like these will have without a doubt lots to say about the future of retail.
2. “Innovation centers: “intelligent” spaces where grouped tenant data is used to create specific offers”
Big Data seeks to make inferences about consumer behavior within the stores. Data collected on the flow of people and their activities inside the shopping center can be analyzed, yielding information that helps retailers know what to offer to their customers.
Kearney tells us that “a certain percentage of space can be designated for test stores that use the data collected on new concepts.
3. “Value centers: spaces that extract their identity and that of their tenants from shared values
Tell me what your values
4. “Retail spaces”: “lifestyle centers” or living areas aimed at specific demographic groups”
The “retaildencial” spaces are retail stores and services created for specific population segments. These can vary from age, and preference all the way to socioeconomic levels.
Kind of like environments that are focused on the lifestyle of specific people, in which residential, commercial, retail, entertainment, and experiential opportunities are found and ideally within walking distance.
For example, you can find this in Mexico City, in an area called Carso which even though doesn’t target a specific population segment, does offer various shopping malls, offices, museums, and entertainment centers. All this is situated in the midst of new residential development that comes complete with all kinds of amenities and facilities.
The area is visited by thousands of people looking for recreation and passing through the malls to hang out and shop.
Shopping Centers and the Retail of the Future
The retail landscape is changing. Shopping malls are becoming experience centers, with stores offering interactive experiences and entertainment. Retailers are also offering more personalized experiences, such as in-store events and additional services that consumers are looking for.
They are using technology to create a more seamless shopping experience through mobile apps or in-store. And they are rethinking traditional store models, examples of this being new specialized stores or pop-up stores.
Perhaps we’ll also find that shopping centers of the future will be constructed out in open-plan spaces. Examples of these can be found in The Grove in Los Angeles, California, and multiple locations in Mexico City like Antara mall, Artz plaza and Oasis mall found in the southern part of the city.
Retailers will leverage data analytics to personalize the shopping experience for each individual customer, focusing on creating engaging and convenient experiences that keep customers coming back for more.
As consumer buying habits change, retailers will have to adapt. Malls of the future will offer everything ranging from art installations, shows, and concerts, to cooking classes, wine tastings, game rooms, or interactive themed hotels. And all experiences yet to be imagined.
By offering unique experiences and utilizing technology, retailers will future-proof their businesses and position themselves for success for years to come.
Many retailers are already entering the retail of the future in shopping centers of the future. Are you one of them?
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