Shoptalk Series Part 2: Reimagining The Mall

Malls today must become stages, where retailers and ideas can come to life, offering new experiences and content that draw consumers together to socialize, eat, be entertained and discover new brands.

In the second episode of our four-part “Retales From the Frontline” Shoptalk series, presented by Mastercard, host Matt Rubel spoke with two mall experts from different sides of the world to talk about reinventing the mall. Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne is CEO of Dubai-based Emaar Malls, operator of The Dubai Mall, which drew 83 million visitors last year, and Kevin McKenzie is EVP and Chief Digital Officer of US REIT Macerich and its new concept, BrandBox.

According to Bousquet-Chavanne and McKenzie, here are 5 ways mall owners and its retailers alike can revive the shopping experience to attract new generations and brands:

  • Build stores that resemble great magazines. A brilliant magazine might have travel, food, entertainment, fashion and electronics sections. A mall should offer the same kind of thoughtful selection, across products, brands, store formats, food and beverage offerings, entertainment, and experiences.
  • Curate spaces with non-traditional retail experiences. Malls and shopping centers are becoming multi-use spaces. While they offer, built-in benefits like great restaurants, movie theaters, ample parking and, of course, shopping, there are also non-traditional retail uses like housing, co-working spaces, and event and entertainment venues that are bringing experiences to life.
  • Leverage the humanity in physical retail. Social media has swiped stores from the social aspect of shopping, but by making malls community gathering spots, offering dining options and entertainment, younger consumers will feel more compelled to incorporate malls into their everyday lifestyle.
  • Create a stage to incubate new ideas and brands. Digital natives can only grow so big before they need a physical space to deepen their connection with customers. Mall and shopping center operators can attract online brands by providing flexible real estate, analytics and a platform to experiment.
  • Provide convenience and services that make shoppers feel special. Online operators can’t compete with malls when it comes to services and the human touch. Think pickup points, personal shoppers, same-day free shipping from the mall to the customer’s home and car services that take VIP visitors from hotels to the mall and back.

In the past, the cost and real estate access prevented many retailers and brands from opening in traditional malls and shopping centers. To hear how mall operators today are attracting new brands, tenants and generations, listen to the full episode.