Malls have a long track record in providing a space for shopping and socializing. Housing luxury brands, supermarkets, cafes, playgrounds, education centers and movie theaters, malls have become communities of their own.
They draw on the power of offering a diversified experience to cater to a range of different demographics, and more and more are offering retail and pop-up experiences as well to capture the growth of e-commerce companies turning to physical locations to provide for their customers IRL.
- Problem or opportunity?
In relation to the US, the director of retail studies at Columbia University Business School Mark Cohen says, “The Internet is now hollowing out the great American mall.” Mall operators need to innovate as they struggle with increasing numbers of customers shopping online. Global financial services firm Credit Suisse has even predicted that online fashion sales will double to 35.7% within 15 years and that up to a quarter of the 1,211 US malls could close their doors by 2022.
However, instead of reading such developments as the death of brick-and-mortar, what we are actually seeing is an exciting transformation in the industry and a renaissance of physical stores. Indeed, the rise of e-commerce is not a threat to malls, it is a call for innovation and an opportunity for collaboration.
- Pop-up stores to get with the game
Shopping in-stores continues to hold value. They offer an irreplaceable purchasing experience, enable customers to try out and assess the quality of products and they provide a space for salespeople and customers to interact face-to-face.
In fact, giant e-commerce businesses such as China’s Alibaba have recognized this and they are increasingly looking for ways to open physical stores.
Just as e-commerce businesses have been looking to pop up, more and more malls have been looking to pop-up store solutions to combat department store closures, fill vacant spaces and liven up the retail experience. Short-term pop-up stores have shown to boost foot traffic, attract millennial demographics and increase overall property revenue.
Malls are not stagnant centers for impersonal transactions, but living, inspiring and vibrant hubs of consumption and enjoyment that change with the seasons.
Pop-up stores build buzz and are a perfect solution for mall operators looking to liven up the dynamic in their malls. By working with pop-up shops, malls provide a platform for big brands who increasingly use pop-ups to generate buzz and draw attention to new products. In addition, pop-ups are a way for mall operators to open their doors to start-up brands and e-commerce businesses who are eager to enter the physical market and reach out to customers.
Working with established companies, start-ups and e-commerce businesses in the form of pop-ups can reinvigorate malls with exciting and rotating offerings. Pop-ups can bring mall owners another level of liveliness and give customers an extra reason to visit.
For mall and marketplace owners that want to explore a mixed-use or short-term retail concept for your space, Storefront currently attracts globally relevant brands and connects them to the right spaces!