For Developers/Mall Owners
Shopping malls in West Africa have been around for over 14 years now and the novelty of such a concept is long gone as e-commerce continues to build an overwhelming advantage. And just so we’re clear, the dip in foot traffic already started before the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic only accelerated what was still going to happen. With skyrocketing rates of digital adoption and dipping traffic in malls, one question continues to loom: Will shopping malls still be relevant in the future? Whether you have an existing retail property or you are about to embark on one, here are a few strategies you should consider for shaping superior experiences and attracting unique and repeat customers time and again.
A WOW FACTOR WITH A LONG-LIFE CYCLE
I don’t think there’s one retailer, mall management, or mall owner that doesn’t realize it needs to adapt quickly to remain relevant and attractive in the long term. And design or redesign depending on the situation can breathe a new lease of life into existing malls or pull traffic for new malls. Design should have selfie-worthy entertainment and leisure components which are very crucial to making shopping malls a regular part of customers’ lives. The design may include decentralising the food court which typically draws significant traffic although a balance must be struck. You do not want to weaken a thriving foot court to create another without a business case for it. We have solutions that can shed more insights to assist in making the right decisions in such situations. Overly diligent service and an extraordinary design that wows shoppers and calls attention to malls will boost visits. The latter applies to both mall owners and tenants. It could be an art masterpiece or other eye-popping aesthetics. Existing malls can do with a facelift, new signages, flooring, light inviting paint, and expand common spaces to create more points of convergence and splendour.
BRIDGE THE DIGITAL GAP
If a majority of shoppers are getting more tech-savvy and spending a lot of their time on smartphones, that’s where malls want to be. Digital navigation, technology, in general, can play a role in delivering a superior customer experience. Customers have made no bones about what matters most to them. It’s convenience. Whether it’s click and collect in-store, purchase in-store or online, the journey has to be seamless with excellent customer experience at every step along the way. And technology in the form of retail digital solutions can provide answers that combine the ease of shopping online with the touch and feel of the brick-and-mortar experience.
For retailers, the question is not if they should embrace the omnichannel approach but when. And the answer is now although retailers can then adjust their needs to their current situation like size and number of locations.
COMBINE RESIDENTIAL & WORK WITH RETAIL
A shopping mall has to offer much more than shopping. Depending heavily on anchors and retail is a huge mistake and will not generate the traffic a mall and its tenant’s desire. The strongest anchor these days will not deliver up to 35% of your total traffic. E-commerce and the hypermarkets and supermarkets clustered within proximity of residential nodes will see to that. And entertainment, dining, and leisure are nutrients that will address that gap. And even that will not matter if it isn’t a pleasurable experience and convenient especially in the long term. Mall owners can add lifestyle to the retail shopping experience which is a good strategy for the optimal mall design. When you infuse elements such as hotels, apartments, and offices, this mixed-use anchored by retail creates an ecosystem in itself attracting tourists and the community consistently.
BUILD A SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY
Clean Energy, energy Saving plans should be part of a successful mall design. Many more companies are realising that wasting less energy is not just good for the planet, but also good for business, the community, and the bottom line. What we call shared values at D&I. And Walmart, the retail giant has keyed in on this which is saving them millions. The initial investment will be huge but the long-term impact would translate to enormous savings.