According to the Wall Street Journal, shopping mall vacancies hit a 7-year high last fall. Despite the mass closing of big-box stores, those with an eye on economic development can find opportunity in vacant malls to capitalize on the current economy.
Rather than going down with the ship, it’s time to think about the retail experience in a whole new light. Several different approaches have been recommended to revive the struggling shopping mall as we know it. E-commerce and online competition seems to be the biggest culprit of the fall of the mall. Retailers and landlords must think outside the box and create new ways of attracting consumers. Armed with these ideas, economic development offices may be poised to put new plans into action and see results with what remains of “fallen malls.”
Redefine the mall experience
What does it mean to go to a shopping mall? Does the experience align with how people are living their lives today? If the sole reason for going to the mall is to make purchases, companies need to re-think their vision to adapt to the new consumer environment. Shoppers can easily make purchases with the tap of their finger. Are they given the same opportunities online to smell, taste, try and engage their senses as when shopping in-store?
Shoppers should be encouraged by the redefined mall experience to activate their senses with unique and appealing activities that draw them through the door. Many retail companies have seen success in utilizing omni-channel, customer-oriented approaches to marketing and sales. If companies fill mall vacancies with more experience-first opportunities, they could revitalize the mall as a whole.
Strengthen community ties and culture
By taking an interactive approach, there’s an opportunity to strengthen the culture and greater community of the mall’s patrons. After all, the mall should be a place where people can interact and take part in shared experiences. Why not consider filling vacancies with libraries or museums, health care and education centers, office space, fitness studios and more? Studying the relevant needs of a specific city or region can indicate gaps in a community engagement plan that vacant malls may be able to fill.
By utilizing real-time commercial listing data, economic development agencies can attract and retain the right businesses to occupy vacant malls.
At RealMassive, we are collecting the data economic development organizations and commercial investors need to gain better insight into the needs and demands of their community. Above all, obtaining this data is the first step towards creating custom solutions for revitalizing their region.
Contact us today to learn about how to utilize real-time commercial real estate data to your community’s advantage.