I like to go to shopping malls when I have a spare time. There are restaurants, supermarkets, retail clothing, electrical equipment shops, book stores, movie theaters, and so on. Then I am wondering what will be a shape of shopping malls in the future.
1. Why do we need “real” shopping malls?
When we are busy and have no time to go shopping, we would like to use e-commerce, such as Amazon.com. So why should we go to a shopping mall? The reason is that we would like to enjoy walking in big malls, seeing products, touching them physically and meeting friends there. Shopping malls are good places to meet people as they are air-conditioned, located at convenient places such as near stations, have big parking lots. In order to keep attracting people to shopping malls, it should motivate people to come there. Strategies might be different from countries. In developing countries such as ASEAN countries, new facilities and malls might be good motivators for people to go there. On the other hand, in developed countries such as Japan, shopping malls are in tough competitions each other. It is getting harder to survive in the competition. Populations of some of developed countries including Japan and Korea are decreasing gradually. Therefore, it is difficult to keep the number of people to come to shopping malls in the long run. Only new facilities are not enough to compete in developing countries’ markets.
2. How can the frequency of visiting shopping malls be increased?
The more frequently people are coming to the mall, the more people purchase products there. The problem is how people can be motivated to come to shopping malls consistently in the long period. I think a kind of mechanism should be introduced. In order to encourage people to come to shopping malls, many events are needed. For example, amateur band performance contests, kids programming contests, digital art museums, touring experience corners. Digital technologies should be used at every event. Amateur band performances might be broadcasted lively through the internet to mobile applications of members of shopping malls. Kids programming contests can be held among several shopping malls by connecting each of them by the internet. 3D digital arts can be projected at super-high resolution level. Virtual Reality enables us experience to go anywhere in the world. These are just examples. There might be many innovations in the future. By supporting digital technologies, Events could be held in parallel with other events in a big shopping mall. Each floor can have different events to motivate people to come there. Therefore, combinations of many events should be optimized so that more people can enjoy them. I would like to call it “Event portfolio management”. To maximize the number of people coming to shopping malls, the best combinations of events should be identified. Costs, spaces and time allocations should be optimized to do that. This is done by “Event portfolio optimization” with digital technologies.
3. New services will emerge to support older people and busy mothers
When you do not come to shopping malls by car, it is difficult to buy a lot of heavy products and bring them to your house. In such case, drones might bring them to your house instead of you. It is a good service for me because I do not drive a car in KL. I do not need to worry about heavy products and continue to walk and enjoy events in shopping malls. This might be good! When I am getting older, it is almost impossible to bring heavy products by myself so I definitely need this service! In addition to that, young mothers may have a hard time to go shopping with many kids. Therefore, small entertainment facilities for kids might be needed. Mothers can take their kids there and go shopping alone. These facilities will take care kids when Mothers are shopping. There are a lot of virtual “puppets” so kids cannot be boring. Kids’ behavior can be monitored and transmitted to Mother’s mobile devices so that mothers can be noticed what their kids are doing. Everyone can be happy there!
Shopping malls are not just hardware. These are communities for people to gather, enjoy, be satisfied with. Therefore new entertainments and innovations are always needed going forward. Supported by digital technologies, they might be changed to satisfy us more and more. It must be exciting, isn’t it?
Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy. The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.
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