Shopping Centers are undergoing a transformation just like everything else in this digital age.
Many people keep predicting the death of the mall and shopping centers.
But don’t think for a second that shopping centers and physical stores are going to give up and go away.
Shopping centers are about to take a digital leap and undergo a major transformation that will breathe new life into old-fashioned stores.
And they will be incorporating all the newest technology, such as Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality, to make this happen.
Instead of focusing on a shopping destination, retailers will now refocus on a shopping experience.
A shopping experience that is better at meeting the precise needs of shoppers, and also gets them excited about visiting a store.
After all. As we have seen over the years, people like to get out of the house and go shopping, either downtown or at a mall.
But relying on the old bricks and mortar model has taken a beating.
So to get competitive, shopping centers will be going high-tech.
Retailers will embrace technology to transform brick and mortar
Here are some shopping trends of the future we see predicted by experts:
Convenience: there will be a super emphasis on convenience at stores. From purchasing to returning. Part of that trend will include mobile-checkouts where you pay by phone or more cashierless-checkouts so consumers will no longer have to wait in line.
Robotics: yep, robots will be coming to a store near you. They will be used to check inventory, stock shelves, run to warehouses and perform other tasks. That will free up humans to help shoppers.
More Pick-up and Delivery Options: buy it online, pick it up at a store. Need to return an online purchase, take it to a store. Rather than fight online buying, stores will now integrate the web into their physical locations.
Customer-Service: Amazon crushes the market when it comes to customer service. For example, they will refund your money before you even return a product. Expect retailers to step it up with technology-driven improved customer service as well.
Visualization: trying something on will go to a next level as shoppers will be able to visualize items on their faces, bodies, in their living rooms, yards or wherever they plan to use that product.
Smaller but Better: look for smaller spaces for retailers and even pre-built out stores and stores with short leases. As we know, many retailers got hurt by going into bigger and more expensive spaces.
Social Media Integration: social media will play an even bigger role then it does now and purchasing will be integrated into the process to expedite the process.
Artificial Intelligence: AI is going to be big. Software will be used to predict shoppers needs and find ways to best fulfill those needs. That may also include facial recognition as soon as people walk in a store to using AI to figure what products would meet the needs of an individual consumer at a specific time.
Abandoned Stores Will Become Warehouses: with the need for speedy deliveries promulgated by Amazon and now Walmart, many brands will be transformed from empty stores into mini-warehouses. This will enable companies to fulfill orders locally even faster.
Faster Supply Chains: products will be move from design to manufacture to distribution much faster. You will also see consumers getting involved in the design process as well.
Sustainability: look for retailers to be big participants in this movement to reduce their carbon footprint. (Which is why many facilities are now installing recycled plastic benches and trash receptacles at their locations).
Rentals: why buy it when you can rent it? See more options for renting products or buying cheaper pre-owned merchandise. Renting also ties into the new push for sustainability…and the reuse of products.
Self-Driving Cars Will Speed Up Deliveries: got a bunch of cars in the parking lot that don’t need drivers? A perfect way to deliver goods to consumers at their homes.
From Stores to Showrooms: with the new model of online shopping, many stores will focus more on becoming showrooms for their products so people can check out the merchandise and then order. In addition, instead of the boring cookie cutter look of most retail chains today, the emphasis will be on creating custom stores for each location. Live in a mountain town, expect a mountain-related motif.
Emotional Targeting: with the use of big data and AI, retailers now will be able do a deep dive into consumer preferences. They will be able optimize promotions to generate emotional responses from individual shoppers, based on their specific demographics and other unique characteristics. You will also see more of these strategies used to generate more point-of-purchase buys.
Brands Will Proliferate: as more and more niches are developed with consumers, more and more brands will be started to meet the needs and desires of those niches. You will see the growth of new companies and brands coming forth, all becoming more and more specialized.
Wow Factor: look for virtual, augmented and mixed reality devices to make shopping a more fun experience. Also, keep an eye out for the incorporation of more voice-related shopping technology as well.
It’s gonna be very interesting.
Retail stores have taken a beating recently. But they will spring back.
Retailers are about to launch a technology-driven counter-attack that will make it more exciting to visit a store and more effective for consumers to find merchandise that meet their needs. And that technology will become very persuasive in increasing in-store and impulse purchases.
We are about to enter a thrilling, Star-Wars level era for shopping centers.
Note: While the future is exciting in regard to the transformation of shopping centers, those retail centers still need commercial park benches, trash receptacles and outdoor bike racks. And the place to find top-grade furniture for malls and shopping centers is still The Park and Facilities Catalog.
We’ve supplied shopping mall benches, bike racks and trash receptacles around the country since 2001. Give our experts a call and let us help you pick the right outdoor site furnishings with the right colors and materials for your specific location. If you need it right away, we also have a ParkExpress program where certain commercial trash cans, metal benches and bike racks are in stock and can be shipped quickly.