The world around us is dynamically changing. What is popular and relevant today, may not be so a year later or even in six months’ time. Malls are also constantly changing, innovating, and adopting trends to keep up with changing times and engage crowds.
With ecommerce’s ever-growing popularity, malls are more than just brick and mortar stores now; as they now offer something different and unique to keep up the growth, and expand their business.
One thing that malls are focusing on is customer engagement. Keeping customer experiences as their top priority, malls are regularly investing on ambience, décor, and entertainment. They are periodically opting for themes based on the current festive season or trend, decking up the malls accordingly. This also serves as a great photo opportunity for customers, and is an added boon for malls to increase their online presence and awareness.
Stores are also constantly changing their layout and are investing more in ‘experiential stores’, to give customers unique in-store experiences. The focus has also shifted to give the customers a personalised shopping experience.
Entertainment in malls is no longer just limited to children. Besides standard year-long entertainment offerings in the mall like the gaming arcades and movie theatres, malls are now trying to introduce new entertainment options that try and cater to a variety of age groups.
Time to time, unique activities, offerings and events are organised for customers to enhance their shopping experiences and increase customer retention. The aim is to create a memorable experience that compels them to visit again. We can expect entertainment-based experiences to increase exponentially in the foreseeable future.
Apps & omni-channel
Mall owners are increasingly trying to embed technology in whatever way possible for smooth functioning and better customer experience. Plenty of malls now have apps that can be downloaded for reservations, discounts, reward system, information on new product offerings, etc. Brands that understand the importance of tapping into technology are investing in going digital, and reaping benefits from it.
Like many other brands, malls are also adapting to the latest advertising trends emerging in the market, one being influencer marketing. Malls are collaborating with social media influencers and are creating more integrated content for their target audience, using their platform to engage with them.
There is more scope of interactivity, allowing customers to be a part of it. Audiences find influencers more reliable, credible, and authentic. Hence, they respond better to influencer marketing over traditional mediums.
With the ongoing pandemic, contact-less services continue to be popular, including digital payments. Even though physical payment options are available, increasingly more people are opting for digital payment services.
Stores are also experimenting with contact-less checkout counters, that would allow customers make payments on their own without a cashier’s assistance. This way stores save out on space and customer saves out on time, as they do not have to wait in long queues. The concept is relatively new in India, but is slowly gaining popularity.
In the light of the pandemic, the mall experience has changed considerably. Patrons entering the mall are now mandated to temperature checks, mask checks and sanitisation protocols. Social distancing norms are also in place, and sanitisation protocols are ensured at every entry and exit points. The whole shopping experience at malls is constantly evolving, and will continue to do so, becoming more customer centric and innovative as time passes by.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)