Skip to main content

Zombie Shopping Malls & 8 Ways to Survive Them

Does the combined aroma of Cinnabons paired with Chicken Teriyaki have a scent if no one is there to smell it?

Wanted: Shoppers.

American shopping malls may elect to echo Mark Twain’s famous quip, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” However, they may wish to reserve the word, “greatly.”
Green Street Advisors, a real estate analysis firm, forecasts that 10 percent of the largest 1,000 malls in the U.S. will fail within the next 10 years. That forecast may be conservative. According to CoStar Group, another real estate advisor, only 80 percent of America’s large malls are “healthy,” with vacancy rates of 10 percent or less, and the rate of decline is increasing, rapidly. CoStar also reports 200 malls with vacancy rates of 35 percent, or higher.

The market is bifurcated high and low: High-end malls continue to perform well, as do many outlet malls. It is the middle mall, the one of an undefined value proposition, that is struggling.
The trigger points for mall anemia are plentiful: the country is “over-retailed” with too many stores and too many malls, major anchors with old business models are either ill, dying or dead, ecommerce has grabbed over 10% of purchases, traffic congestion, demographic drift, global warming, and, significantly, customer expectations and retail engagement have changed. 
Control of the general merchandise market has shifted from the manufacturer - if we build it, they will come; to the retailer - if we stock and display it, they will come;to the consumer - if I want it, they will make it available when, where, and how I want it.
Today’s consumers are educated with a greater amount of highly accurate and readily available information about products, brands and pricing than ever before.
The consequence for failure to evolve is extinction. 

All is not lost.

The American shopping mall is at an inflection point; retailers, suppliers and malls will need to reinvent themselves in order to survive. There is a lesson to be learned from the relative success of today’s high-end and high-value malls.
To avoid the living dead, success requires great competency in one, or more, of the following eight (8) attributes:
  1. Differentiation in brand, product, presentation, or service.
  2. Ease of shopping; efficient use of customer's time.
  3. Tangible value offering; price/value ratio.
  4. Persuasive draw as a destination; planned shopping.
  5. Impulsive purchasing; Compelling and instant gratification.
  6. Omni-channel integration; "showrooming" and "click and collect."
  7. Engaging consumer experience; surprise and entertain.
  8. And most importantgreat products; offer things which people crave.
I can think of no greater irony than this; on November 3, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that internet and ecommerce server farms are taking over vacant mall space. “Empty Department Stores Are Converted Into Data Centers.”
Inhale deeply and take a whiff of the future. Do you smell Chicken Teriyaki?
(c) David J. Katz - New York City - January 12, 2015

Popular posts from this blog

Discounts, Discovery & Delight: 3Ds for Retail Success

In fashion and retail, Dopamine is the drug of choice. Technically, Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of “desire.” Dopamine leaps across synapses in our brain to control our reward and pleasure centers. It enables craving. It induces repeat behaviors. It makes us want more. Therefore, it is in our best interest to create products and experiences which induce the release of dopamine in our consumers. We could use some dopamine for ourselves, too. In our fashion and retail world, there are three primary stimuli, "3Ds," we can control to deliver hits of dopamine: Discounts, Discovery and Delight.

Taking Tips From a Younger Generation

Phyllis Korkki, an assignment editor at The New York Times, visited the garment district in Manhattan to interview designers as part of a story for the newspaper’s Snapchat account. Credit George Etheredge/The New York Times
What Could I Possibly Learn From A Mentor Half My Age? Plenty.

How on earth did I become an “older worker?”

It was only a few years ago, it seems, that I set out to climb the ladder in my chosen field. That field happens to be journalism, but it shares many attributes with countless other workplaces. For instance, back when I was one of the youngest people in the room, I was helped by experienced elders who taught me the ropes.

Now, shockingly, I’m one of the elders. And I’ve watched my industry undergo significant change. That’s why I recently went searching for a young mentor — yes, a younger colleague to mentor me.

Beware of Wombats & Other Vampires

You are surrounded by dangerous WOMBATS. They’re everywhere. Sometimes they hide in plain sight, easy to spot. Other times they are well camouflaged, requiring heightened awareness to identify them. You need to stay alert, it’s important to avoid them. WOMBATs resemble ordinary, productive tasks. However, they are vampires for time and resources, weapons of mass distraction.WOMBATs are seductive. Working on a WOMBAT feels productive.WOMBATs are bad for your career.WOMBATs are bad for your business.WOMBATs infiltrate your work day (and your personal time). Strike them down.WOMBATs may be be ingrained in your company culture: “We’ve always done it that way…” WOMBAT Metamorphosis Alert: A task or project that wasproductive in the pastcanevolve into a WOMBAT in today's environment.Your comfort zone is populated with WOMBATs.More on comfort zones, here.Some people are WOMBATs in disguise. Stay away from them, they are vampire WOMBATs.If you don’t control your WOMBATs, your WOMBATs will…