What is the future for shopping centres?

In a week when the chancellor announced that he will cut business rates by a third for almost half a million small high street shops, an article in the BBC warns that close to 200 shopping centres are on the brink of collapse.

The demise of "major anchor stores" like BHS and Toys R Us and the rise of online shopping is blamed for this downward spiral, leaving many places at risk of becoming  “ghost malls” that have no appeal and are a negative asset for the towns.

Too many centres fail to attract visitors for two key reasons: the offer is not what today's customer wants or expects and, fundamentally, there are too many of them, doing exactly the same thing.

Shopping centres need to adapt if they are to survive

It's clear that for centres to prosper, they have to be canny about expanding their offer. What has proven to work in many places is becoming a “hospitality brand”. The shift to the 'experience economy' has resulted in food and beverage now accounting for over 20%* of total spend in some of the newest schemes.

"Some of the big centres in the UK are incorporating Sea Life Centres, ice rinks, indoor ski slopes. These are the shopping centres that, in my view, will survive. There's no doubt that if shopping centres don't deliver an experience consumers want, they will fall by the wayside."

Mr Blackley, from the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre


So what do you think? #WDYT?

Is this how to beat the online experience that is being blamed for their demise? Does offering more present the winning formula to trump Amazon?

To support this year’s theme of “Transforming reality – Physical in the age of Digital” at Mapic, we are working with Innesco and using social listening, AI, and a bespoke chatbot to ask consumers to share what makes a great retail experience.

We are asking 1million consumers across the world to share their thoughts on what they want from their retail experience.  This is the biggest social listening project in the commercial real estate sector.

You can see how this works here:

By way of a taster we are finding (so far) :

  • 83% of people research online before buying offline
  • 64% of people say they use their phones in a shop to research something
  • 70% of people who go to a movie want to eat and  21% also want to shop

The really juicy bits about the experience we will hang on to until we are done and all results will be shared at once  I speak at Mapic on CREATING PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES & EMOTIONS IN A DIGITAL WORLD on the 15th November.

We would like to know, what do you think? Please add your thoughts here - we plan to reach 1,000,000 people, and it would be great if you are one of them.

*Source.  National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre