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02.10.2019

The future of shopping centers – trends and forecasts

A place where we can choose from many brands and visit stores of various specialties. A place where you can discover new brands and products, as well as eat something and meet friends. These are  the principles that the shopping centers were built on.

Today, all of these activities (including ordering food) can be carried out online. This does not mean that shopping centers will soon cease to exist. However, they should give people new reasons to visit them.

Below we describe three trends that, according to experts, will be characteristic for shopping centers of the future.

Unique experiences

In a world where we can now all shop for whatever we want instantly in the internet, customers should find other reasons to visit the shopping center. Even discovering and seeking inspiration is today the domain of the internet. Shopping centers must therefore offer something that is not available on a computer or smartphone screen. Hence the increasing emphasis on entertainment in shopping centers. The role of shopping centers will evolve towards leisure time management. This is not just about cinema (after all, movies can also be watched online today), but more about unique experiences that can be provided, for example, by amusement or water parks. An attractive field for building unforgettable experiences is also music. More and more shopping centers organize outdoor concerts and even music festivals. An example from the Polish market might be Manufaktura in Lodz.

Niche brands and specializations

Although it may seem that shopping centers are too big to cater to niches, focusing on niche brands associated with a particular lifestyle can help shopping centers position their offer and attract a specific customer segment. The Life Time Center in Boston focuses on a healthy lifestyle, and visitors can go to the gym, to the spa, visit a doctor or have a meal in an organic restaurant. Luxury is another niche that offers big opportunities. Bal Harbor Shops in Miami focuses on serving the well-off. The center is located in a wealthy neighbourhood and attracts wealthy clients from all over the world. While many shopping centers need to look for the tenants, Bal Harbor boasts a queue of companies interested in renting retail space.

New technologies

Thanks to innovations, shopping malls can strengthen their position against competitors from the e-commerce and m-commerce sectors. Such innovations can take different forms – it can be e.g. the use of new technologies to view and buy products or the introduction of 3D printers that will ensure the continuous availability of products in any size. We can add to this interactive screens presenting the store’s offer, shopping on tablets, virtual fitting rooms or solutions using Augmented or Virtual Reality technology.

Despite the anticipated changes, the shopping centers of the future, just like now, will be spaces for communities to come together. However, the offer for this community will be different than it is today. Customers will visit shopping centers not only for shopping, but also, and perhaps above all, for unique experiences.

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