Malls aren’t just for shopping—and retail property owners realize that to compete with e-commerce and a growing digital ecosystem where brands are pushing their online presence, the “shopping mall” as we’ve traditionally known it needs to change.
Basically, shopping malls must offer much more than stores. According to a McKinsey report, The Future of the Shopping Mall, consumers visiting malls are looking for experiences that go beyond traditional shopping. Malls can’t compete with the convenience of online shopping. But, they can do something much more powerful: Create a sense of community.
As the McKinsey report notes, “Malls need to move in a different direction, away from commoditized shopping experiences and toward a broadened value proposition for consumers.”
But what does that look like? Here are five ways to engage guests and boost your mall business.
Create Gathering Spaces
Carve out spaces designed especially for gathering and appoint those areas with comfortable seating. Think of these spots as mini cafes equipped with charging stations and, of course, free wi-fi. (That’s a must for retailers today.) Inviting shoppers to relax and enjoy the environment not only encourages them to stay—but also to have an experience that goes beyond shopping.
Host Community Events
Invite the local high school choir to perform, or offer to host a dance recital. You’ll attract families and friends of the performers—not to mention, you’ll create an atmosphere of community. Guests who come with the purpose of watching a performance will likely stay for a bite to eat. You’ve got them in the door, so now you can offer a memorable experience. Most importantly, you’re positioning your shopping mall as a welcoming community hub.
Welcome Entertainment Tenants
Rather than filling a storefront with another clothing shop, why not consider an unconventional mall tenant that gives people a reason to come and play? Consider laser tag, a play space for children or a fitness center. Giving guests something to do differentiates the mall experience from online shopping, which is all about browsing and buying. Again, focus on customer experience and how your retail center can engage visitors who aren’t necessarily interested in purchasing merchandise.
Rather than eschewing digital transformation, progressive shopping malls are embracing the power of technology and creating deeper connections with consumers because of it. For example, social media can generate buzz about new stores or events taking place at the mall. Also, digital capabilities that introduce e-commerce into malls via virtual storefronts allow malls to offer more and feed consumers’ interest in this type of interaction. For example, Taubman partnered with Twentieth Century Fox to put virtual storefronts called “Fox Movie Mall” in 18 luxury malls, allowing shoppers to purchase movie tickets by scanning QR codes.
Ultimately, barriers between the digital and physical are blurring, and retailers that embrace this will attract and engage shoppers.
Start a Club
Host a walking club that will draw regular visitors to your mall. Not only are you providing a wellness outlet by offering a way for residents to improve their health, you are creating a sense of community. A walking club, or another type of group that meets regularly, brings people together for a common purpose. You’ll increase traffic, and you’re giving guests an experience they can feel good about.
Enhance Your Commercial Property with Neave Management
We want to help you increase your shopping mall traffic and stay relevant so you can thrive in the community. Aside from these ideas, we have other strategies in mind to attract guests to your property and increase its value. Commercial property enhancements can attract tenants and customers to your site. Let’s start a conversation.