Why are virtual shopping malls the future of retail?
Retailers and shopping centre owners around the world are trying to figure out what the future of retail looks like. With foot traffic declining and online traffic increasing, the structure of the shopping centre offering will change significantly in the next year – in fact analysts have reported that COVID-19 has accelerated the retail industry by five years, writes Kelly Slessor. Kelly Slessor is the founder and CEO of Shop You. Virtual shopping malls are the future of retail.
The new future will be impacted by several factors. Some of which existed long before the coronavirus pandemic hit:
- We have just trained 4.57 billion people to shop online. A friend shared a story about her 80-year-old grandmother who is now doing all her grocery shopping online. Before COVID, she never would have considered jumping online
- We have developed a crowd-averse and safety-first mentality
- Convenience is a commodity that we will pay for
- Shopping local is convenient
No one could have expected what 2020 would look like, and no one could predict what happens next. However, we can make assumptions based on consumer behaviour. We can be certain that shopping behaviour will fundamentally shift.
The question is not whether we will shop online or in a physical store. It is about how does the physical store and the virtual world connect to provide a seamless customer experience.
This opens the opportunity of a virtual shopping mall connected to the customer’s local mall comes into play. Customers now have more choices and access to brands and alternatives than ever before. It is not a quick COVID-fix. We need to build a sustainable platform for growth.
This is an exciting opportunity to rethink retail and the customer experience.