Big data will infiltrate — plus 3 other trends changing the mall experience
The Mallrats of tomorrow will wear Lululemon and Louis Vuitton.
And the mall store owners of tomorrow will know a scary amount about them — from what color underwear they prefer to how much they weigh.
Snootchie Bootchies, Gen Z!
Indeed, as e-commerce booms and consumer preferences change, the traditional mall is dying — and in its place is rising something a 90s kid may not fully recognize, beyond the physical structure. Here are four big ways the mall for the future will look way different.
They won’t even be called malls anymore.
Since 2014, malls have been renovating like crazy (90 regional malls spent about $8 billion to do this) — and when they do, they often rebrand, according to a study by investment company Jones Lang LaSalle. Roughly 1 on 5 removed “mall” from their name post-renovation, the study found, opting for new calling cards like “village” or “towne center” or “shoppes.” It’s a trend, experts say, that will continue as malls become more about lifestyle rather than just shopping. Malls that require “a community presence” will be in higher demand as “you can’t order those types of spaces online,” says Nick Pennebaker, the digital marketing manager at Northstar Commercial Properties in Denver. A name like village or town connotes that these are places where you need to be present to enjoy their perks.
Gyms, health clinics, play and office spaces will replace many traditional stores.
To that point, traditional stores in malls are being replaced by stores in which you need to go in person, like doctor’s offices and gyms. “More and more shopping centers and malls around the country are losing big tenants like Macy’s and Sears. The Internet is winning, and we are seeing more and more shopping centers or malls be converted to healthcare real estate, office space or for other use,” says Shane Lee, a data analyst and communication strategist at real estate site RentHop.com. Indeed, just this month, Hudson’s Bay, which owns department store chain Lord & Taylor, sold the department store’s flagship location in New York to coworking space WeWork.
So the mall of the future will be “incorporating experience into all that they are doing. This includes the integration of the ability to shop, eat, stay and workout all in one place. The best retail environments will create a true sense of arrival, destination and community,” according to a report from Retail Design Collaborative. Lee adds that you can expect to see even traditional retailers doing things like hosting hands-on activities and experiences in their stores.
Luxury will rule.
Though Macy’s and Sears might slowly disappear from malls — as well as the smaller stores that rely on the traffic from them — “high-end luxury brands will stay and invest more in attracting foot traffic,” says Lee. That’s likely because before you invest in that super high end bag or watch, you want to go in and touch it, see it in person. “If malls have any place in the future, they will be locations where one can go and look, feel and smell one example of every product,” says James Tupitza, an attorney at Tupitza & Kalia, which represents some
Big data and artificial intelligence mean retailers know a scary amount about you.
Retailers will likely be mining everything from your social media posts to your internet browsing habits to your past purchases at theirs and other stores for insight into what you like and don’t like. Combine that with something like facial recognition software — which is already employed by some large retailers, though largely to combat crime — which can scan your face as you walk into a store, and the mall retailer of the future might know everything from what color sweater you prefer to wear in the fall to the mazimum amount you might pay for such a thing. “It’s like Minority Report,” Andrew Feldman, a broker who deals with commercial real estate firm Triplemint, jokes of the futuristic Tom Cruise film.
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