Our “normal” lifestyle today is vastly different than it was in the 60’s when shopping malls were “invented”. Traffic, longer work days, insecurity, larger cities, technology, Internet shopping and On Demand content (like Netflix) have drastically transformed the consumer; yet somehow, shopping centers have not evolved their obsolete business model and for the most part continue to depend on anchor brands in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.

At Mero Mole, we see the writing on the wall and are convinced that this situation has to change from the ground up, or the only thing that is going to happen is that malls will offer the same old same old, dying slowly, until someone dares to do something radically different (… incidentally, Mero Mole has been working on a design for the Mall of the Future that is totally off the charts amazing. If you’re a developer or innovator, call us up and we’ll show it to you, no pun intended).

OK, fine. If we’re being 100% objective, shopping centers have been going through some changes: developers are including more F&B in their GLA (leasable area), entertainment (although not the good kind – more along the lines of animal shaped carts for parents to push their kids around) and are focusing on mixed use projects (residential, commercial and offices in the same space); but these are not significant enough changes and are very easy to copy and replicate. It would seem that no one is concerned with positively affecting peoples’ lives any more.

The new consumer is much more practical, is tethered to technology and is hungry for new and exciting experiences. Tendencies point to the Millennial wanting to socialize, eat and be entertained in the same space, but we’re sure we haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg as far as what can be achieved.

Which is why this author’s conclusion is that shopping malls must evolve into experiential centers that stun the new consumers. We aren’t at liberty to say a lot more at this point, but we can share with you some interesting data that wasn’t included in the text:

  • Mexico is the country with the greatest number of shopping malls (around 760) in Latin America.
  • In the US, there are over 1,900 shopping centers with anchor stores.
  • F&B establishments are replacing department stores.
  • Any shopping mall with less than 10% of their GLA dedicated to F&B will not be sustainable. A minimum of 25% will be the new normal.
  • 62% of millennials would prefer to live in mixed use developments.
  • Malls are no longer able to compete against the Internet, which is why they need to start offering products focused on the experience and convenience of the consumer.
  • 40% of consumers choose to go to a particular shopping center because of their dining options: “If the food is good, then so is the shopping center”. 

We challenge those of you reading this article to send us your craziest, most innovative ideas that you would like to see brought to life in an experiential center. Thanks for reading!

By: The Top Dogs