MAPIC is a meetingplace for the international retail property market. 800 exhibitors from 80 different countries gathered in Cannes for four days in November.
Traditional malls suffer from a decrease in footfall. There has been a lot of talking about dead malls in the US, and in Sweden sales in shopping malls slowed down a bit in 2017, after more than 30 years of steady growth.
–Many of us grew up spending Saturday afternoons in the local mall, but times have changed, says Julie Villet, Director of URLAb & CSR at Unibail-Rodamco.
Today web shops provide convenience and low prices. Families do not bother going to the mall just to shop. To attract, the mall has to be a good place to hang around.
Malls tend to look more like amusement parks. In Abu Dhabi, Reem are building a gigantic mall, Al Farwaniya, with a ski resort inside, 350 shops, 100 restaurants and lots of entertainment. All completed in 2020. With an average outside temperature of +44 C in the summer, the mall will be nice and cool.
Of course it is a great place to take the kids. They will have lots of fun, and the family will surely spend money. To many people experiences are more interesting than buying stuff.
But if your shoes are worn out, your dishwasher broke down and you really need a new pair of jeans, then you need some undistracted shopping.
So you go online. You order three pair of shoes, return the ones that did not fit.
Because you could not try them on.
Is that sustainable?
The solution is omni channel.
Lina Appelqvist, from Royal Design group is certain:
– The future is omni, she says in a hearing at MAPIC.
Royal Design Group started as an e-tailer in 1999, opened their first shop in 2010 and now runs 14 shops. 85 percent of sales are online, but the shops drive the on-line sales.
– It is essential that people come to our stores, to get inspired before they go online to do the purchase, she says.
Shane Eldstrom is Chief Executive Officer at Al Farwaniya Property Developments LLC in Abu Dhabi, the company building the spectacular mall with the ski resort inside, says that malls are not just about entertainment:
– In the future, shopping malls need to be logistic hubs. We need to help retailers being omnichannel, by providing space and helping them to do home deliveries in a few hours .
In the US, old shopping malls turn into Amazon hubs.
The amusement park-trend might not be sustainable. People will eventually get fed up.
But truly omnichannel, smaller shops where you try and feel, order what you like for home delivery the same evening, or you can order online and pick up in store, won’t go out of style in a long time.
Omni will be a natural part of modern life.