The digital technology has surely changed our lifestyle. Study, work, entertainment, and daily activities have been affected in one way or another. Shopping is another thing that has been affected by the existence of technology. Before the existence of e-commerce, which enables online stores to pop up, people have to visit the department stores or shopping malls to buy what they want and need. They have to make a trip over there. Now, purchasing something is just a few clicks away.
In the US, according to Fantoni, Hoefel, & Mazzarolo (2014), shopping malls these days are facing the same problem, which is related to the existence of online shops. Such trend also forces malls to think of a new way so that people still want to visit the malls. Before, people in the US went to the mall or department stores because they have something to buy. These days, the numbers of people visiting the mall dropped because they would rather buy stuff online, especially due to their busy lifestyle.
The case in different place or country might be different. In Indonesia, for example, a lot of people still enjoy going to the shopping malls, even though many love shopping online as well. Here, people do not go to the malls to only buy stuff they need or to do shopping. They visit malls to hang out with friends in the cafes, for example, or watch movies in the mall’s theatre. Sometimes, malls are also the objects for photography for those who enjoy taking pictures. Therefore, even with the growing number of online shops, shopping malls in Indonesia are not exactly threatened by that. The malls are able to provide various kind of entertainments for visitors thus the added value and purpose for the people.
The popularity of e-commerce and online shops has caused the shift of preference from going out shopping to shop online thanks to its convenience and practicality. Shopping malls were built originally as, like its name, a shopping place. Thus, the branding of it is exactly like that. To provide consumers with various shopping options in one place. These days, that is taken over by online shops. Exactly same function, yet it wins over the actual mall. Even though some still do prefer actual shopping instead of online. Consequently, being a destination to shop is no longer enough for the shopping malls.
In the US when the people live a busy life pretty much everyday, going to the mall is not a priority. Furthermore, the branding of shopping malls in the US is different with that in Indonesia as an example. US shopping malls serve a purpose as a shopping destination. Now, with online shop that saves time, energy, and sometimes even money, consumers obviously have a clear winner for a choice. It forces mall businesses to find a way to survive.
In here, due to the many functions or purposes the malls are able to serve, many are still taking a liking to visit and do various stuff and entertain themselves there. Malls have not only been primarily about shopping. There are a lot people can do other than shopping in there, and when consumers visit malls, they expect to have various experiences more than just shopping. The local malls are able to give that, that’s why nowadays malls are still crowded with people.
The extra elements the malls can add to maintain the number of visitors and give purpose more than shopping may work in some places but may not give significant effect in another. It depends on the people’s lifestyle. What works in Indonesia may work differently in the US. Therefore the challenges may vary as well.
A storm of global trends are coming together at the same time to cause malls to change the role they play in people’s lives. Rethinking a way of operating the business may be able to help shopping malls to regain its relevance among the public. However, a proper look at the people’s lifestyle should be considered. The trend may be changing sometime in the future and maybe there will be something new to offer that will be able to attract more people to visit the malls. Until then, shopping malls need to adapt and strategize well among the online shops competition in order to give visitors the best experience.
Fantoni, R., Hoefel, F., & Mazzarolo, M., 2014, The future of the shopping mall, http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-future-of-the-shopping-mall
Published at : Updated