Malls are Going for the Ride, and a Financial Advisor Takes Notice
A financial advisor has taken note of the standard shopping center industry’s transition from traditional malls to what he calls “retail and entertainment complexes.” Larry M. Elkin, founder of the Palisades Hudson Financial Group, recently blogged about new projects like American Dream Miami, an example of a “retail and entertainment complex.” He writes that the malls of tomorrow won’t resemble the malls of yesterday. “The malls that survive, and even thrive, today are those that successfully create experiences worth leaving home for. In some cases, this means revitalized urban shopping neighborhoods that also offer high-end dining and services, or malls that mimic such areas. In other cases, it means changing the primary focus of complexes that incorporate both retail and entertainment,” he said.
Putting the “Mall-pocalypse” in the Rear-View Mirror
Many shopping centers and their municipalities have done good jobs of recognizing that tastes and buying habits have changed. Industry observers are pronouncing the turnaround complete as malls adapt and implement strategies to be shoppers’ primary retail destinations. CNBC’s Lauren Thomas noted recently that, “Digital retailers like Warby Parker and Untuckit are currently searching for their own brick-and-mortar shops [a]nd there has been an uptick in international brands like Uniqlo and Primark looking to expand in the U.S.” Turning to Ohio for a regional example, Holly Shively of the Dayton Daily News, reported recent studies showed growth in her area. “Open-air shopping centers are generally seen to be doing better than traditional malls in the retail industry because they are mostly designed to offer experiential shopping in a mixed-use setting,” Shively said. On the real estate side of the coin, investment advisor Hoya Capital Real Estate noted the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding collection of online sales taxes, calling it “game-changing” by “effectively negating the online discount that had helped fuel e-commerce growth” and reiterated that “Physical stores are the cheapest and most economically efficient distribution centers.”
Use Your Data Right for More Personalized Shopping Experiences
“Give the People What They Want.” Whether you attribute that quote to the 70’s soul group the O’Jays, the rock band The Kinks, or to 1940’s actor and comedian George Jessel, it applies to retail today, regardless. Writing for CustomerThink.com, Steve Mast, the president of Delvinia, a data collection consultancy, noted how retail is evolving, but always needs to be (not surprisingly) focusing on the customer. One of the best ways to do that, is make the most of the data collected on your customers. “Every store must be viewed for what it is, a standalone entity with its own unique market. Expectations from shoppers in New York are going to be way different from those in Crown Point, Indiana. Retailers must be ready to hyper-target their research, using geofencing and passive metering, to understand how to tailor a personalized experience in each of their markets.”