Shopping malls or shopping centers are entities which form a unified shopping experience by connecting multiple retail shops under one common building.
The shops inside the centers are connected by walkways which enable the shoppers to visit different shops without having to leave the building.
Nowadays, malls' popularity varies by geographical area. In the United States, the golden era of malls was the second half of the 20th century. During that period malls became central social gathering places for the population living in that region.
Because of various socio-economic factors, including oversaturation of malls and construction of other types of leisure centers, malls are slowly going out of business (200 out of 1,300 malls are going out of business ~ Financial Times source.
On the other hand, in Russia, a large number of malls are being built on the outskirts of major cities. The main reason for this is speculated to be the sharp rise of the middle-class buying power, as reported by The New York Times in 2013 source.
Shopping Malls Benefits
Having understood the ever-changing status of malls let us look at what benefits they bring to the prospective retailer:
Plenty of potential shoppers
A well functioning mall is a magnet for shoppers. Malls offer good parking spaces with easy accessibility, a comfortable indoor atmosphere, various entertainment options, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and much more.
A very popular strategy for malls is to inhabit one or more anchor stores, which are supermarkets for fast moving consumer goods, that attract shoppers to the malls.
No matter what the original intention to visit the mall is, once a shopper enters it, it is very easy to browse around and visit other shops. This process brings more potential shoppers than an isolated location ever would.
Variety of shoppers
Connected to the previous point, the shoppers who get pulled inside the malls are of different preferences and shopping mindsets and habits. Because of that, in malls, you can expect a part of shoppers who are not accustomed to your brand making this a great opportunity to sweep them off their feet with a great experience and turn them loyal to your brand.
Outsourced marketing for attracting shoppers
Good mall management takes care of the influx of people coming into the store.
This is done using various marketing tricks such as mall loyalty cards, concerts and performances inside malls, mall-wide discounts and special events such as late-night shopping.
Outsourced navigation to your store
A properly organized mall has clear navigation for each store located inside it.
Beside navigational signs and maps, some malls also offer the possibility to use indoor navigation applications on their mobile phones to find their way around or information desks when you can ask around how to get to the desired location.
Face-off with the competition
Especially for bigger malls, it is not unusual to find different retail competitors very close to each other.
Even though it might sound counterintuitive, such close competition is good for retailers.
Shoppers are more likely to buy if there is a wide array of options. It is also a possibility for brands to prove how they can bring better quality, design, and prices when compared to the competition.
All these benefits sound great on paper but come with a risk.
If the mall does not function properly and is unable to attract shoppers, the retailer is held hostage inside the mall.
In such a situation it is best to close the store inside the mall than to try to attract shoppers by using own marketing funds.
To avoid such a scenario we provide a few telltale signs that a mall is or will be a successful match with your brand.
Telltale signs of a successful Shopping Mall
In the beginning, malls had few entertainment facilities, but nowadays those that don't have them are going out of business. When choosing a mall, pay attention to how much of the space is dedicated to attracting shoppers (anchor stores, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, parks, gyms) and how much is is dedicated to retail spaces.
The more facilities are dedicated to entertainment, the higher is the estimated traffic to the mall.
Shopper attraction efficiency
When speaking to mall managers, check the data on the effort that is being put forward in attracting new shoppers.
Look at the number of marketing campaigns, special events, and promotions. Ask about the average daily shopper numbers and peak times.
If the mall does not have such data, i.e. it does not know how many visitors it has on a daily basis, be very cautious in trusting the estimates the management provides.
The theme of the shopping mall
There are shopping malls with different themes and targeted audiences. A shopping mall which consists of a lot of DIY and low-budget furniture stores is probably not the best location for a high-end luxury clothing brand.
However, this might be a good opportunity for retailers to infiltrate a new market.
Be on the hunt for malls which have accepted innovation and technology as their main modus operandi.
Wi-fi, mall-specific mobile applications, indoor navigation functionalities, attract visitors by offering what is becoming essential in today's modern world.
Furthermore, malls who utilize retail analytics systems to optimize their campaigns and profile their shoppers and their behaviors are on a path of constant improvement which often leads to success.
If the mall is built, take a walk inside it.
How clean are the common spaces? Are there any vacant retail spaces? Does a part of the mall in desperate need of a renovation?
Just by putting yourself in the shoes of a shopper you can be able to tell if shopping there would be enjoyable or not.
If it is not, it is best to search for an alternative.
We hope this article helped you in making the decision to rent or pass on that upcoming vacant mall space.
If you have further questions about how to make choices like this in order to optimize your fleet, drop us a question at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily assist you.