How Malls are Becoming Vibrant Community Spaces

Mar 24, 2020Landlord & Malls0 comments

The value proposition has changed for REITs (real estate investment trusts). For the past decade, with a sizeable portion of shopping dollars migrating online and a shifting consumer base, the retail game has just gotten a lot more challenging. A millennial would rather go hunting for Pokémons than bargains at the mall. Today, a consumer’s approach to the buying process is more knowledgeable than ever, with more available options at their fingertips. As a result, if mall owners and retailers want to flourish, win over traffic and get consumers to choose their brands, they need to re-invent themselves by innovating, getting creative, and offering a true lifestyle experience


The Challenges Facing Retailers and Mall Owners

Malls in North America are re-positioning themselves as the modern-day community hubs. The suburban shopping mall is undergoing an evolution, with the addition of rapid transit, mixed-use spaces, and various community amenities. With online shopping’s greater convenience, this has turned the decision to go shopping in a mall more of a conscious one. Mall retail space is becoming more focused on people and the environment. There is an increased diversity of tenants, which not only include retail stores, but also more restaurants, entertainment spaces, medical clinics, health and wellness, as well as places to socialize. People need more reasons to visit a mall―shopping just can’t be THE thing to do. This rise of experiential retail is producing a transformation of the new shopping environment. It’s all about convenience, curation, and culture.


It’s All About Convenience, Curation, and Culture

As more people shop online, there is a base level expectation for speed and convenience. Since many malls have embedded hurdles, they need to make up the difference between curation and culture. That’s why we are seeing a mix of custom-curated tenants for local markets. Another trend is digital-native brands are discovering that to make lasting connections with customers, they need to meet face-to-face. We are seeing a return to the real sense of customer experience, where consumers are experiencing the ethos of a brand through the sales associate and the physical space. A physical store acts as both the customer acquisition point and a site for awareness and exposure to the brand. Indeed, great brands need both the in-store and online experience.


Optimizing In-Store Experiences

Working with customer behaviors & desires and the need to stimulate transformation, one of the best solutions lies in delivering excellent customer experiences. Retail is resurging as a renewed and legitimate career path. At Wirkn, our recruitment platform is tailored to the tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zers. We are attracting storytellers, creatives, and experienced specialists to the workforce needed in the retail sectors for shopping centers. Having quality employees throughout the retail stores of the shopping center sets it apart from the others while providing memorable experiences. Our REIT clients are recognizing that having excellent and engaged employees is a valuable asset to and extension of their brand.