Malls – One-stop retail shopping destinations!


The Christmas festive season is almost here, as is the end of another year and we look for the best in the New Year. The past 2 years have probably been one of the biggest testing times for the retail industry, especially for physical retail. In the wake of the last year, which seen many known retail brands going bankrupt or shuttering stores, debates on whether physical retail would witness an apocalypse because of the rise of online shopping have been happening across the industry; but it seems like the predictors of the doom of physical retail have been silenced, thanks to the reinvention of retail.

Malls still face a threat from e-commerce shopping due to rising number of consumers preferring to shop online. The major reasons being a wide range of options available online, more discounts on online purchases, convenience of shopping from home while avoiding crowds and even reducing the chances impulse shopping. One of the major debates were whether malls would survive the online shopping or e-commerce onslaught, but the numbers are in favor of shopping in a mall. A recent survey indicated that more than 60% of consumers would visit the mall for apparel shopping as opposed to shopping for clothing online, and another 39% prefer to go to the malls, not only to explore multiple retail brands in one location, but also try on and compare clothing options. Malls offer strategic advantages which are still a hit among consumers.

One of the biggest clicks for shoppers visiting malls is the tangibility of products. Brick-and-mortar retail has thrived on the ‘touch-and-feel’ feature that shoppers love when it comes to purchasing apparel, footwear and other items. Moreover, most retail brands would be present in malls and this allows shoppers a fair opportunity to explore different brands belonging to similar categories and then take a conscious decision on what to buy, from where. Another major advantage that malls offer is socializing. Consumers prefer shopping with family and friends or even interacting with store associates to help them find the right product, as they find it easier to seek opinions and then make a purchase. In addition to this, malls are a one stop destination for shopping, entertainment and eating, thus offering wholesome experiences to shoppers for their time and money.

The bottom line is that malls and e-commerce will continue to coexist as consumers will always look at multiple options to satisfy their shopping needs. However, the catch is to ensure customers get what they want and retail brands are able to do that no matter which channel they use.

Why are physical stores important for retail business success?

The retail industry has evolved over the past few decades and the customers have now become the prime focus. With the advent of omni-channel retailing, the entire ball-game for businesses has been about getting to the customer wherever they are and whenever they are available. This has driven the necessity of creating and offering shopping experiences that can have a positive and long-lasting impact on the customers so that they do not move away from the brand.

The essential advantage of having a brick and mortar retail store is to introduce the products to customer in the context of an allowing them to experience the products and related services and then build on that experience and relationship in person so that it stays with them. This will then foster loyalty and repeat business while also turning these loyal customers into brand ambassadors for the business. Having a retail store is an opportunity for retailers to allow customers experience tangibility of the products and the services as well as leverage the human touch factor by having store associates to engage with the customers directly for assistance and promoting sales. It is a matter of fact that people influence people and this is one major click that retailers can achieve to connect with their customers and build long standing relationships.


One more aspect of retail stores is when the store is not just used to display products and increase sales, rather it is about leveraging the physical space to create moments and memories that go beyond just selling. For example, in the apparel retail business, having trial rooms have always been a big booster for the business as customers prefer to try out stuff before actually going ahead and buying. So also, other retail verticals like bookstores can provide space for reading and collaborating, or furniture stores can demonstrate some DIY techniques, and so on and so forth.

Thirdly, it would not be an understatement to say that retail stores are the best place for the customer to interact directly with the brand, be it touching or trying out tangible aspects of the brands like products or even coming face-to-face with the human aspect of the brand while engaging with store associates who with the right kind of training can definitely be brand custodians. It is at the brick-and-mortar store that experiential retail can be really demonstrated and experienced.

Thus in this new age of retail, brands that continue with the old line of thinking where the idea is to optimize the floor space purely for sales purposes will definitely see their business plummet. Changing the approach by working on re-purposing every square foot of the space to build that kind of a retail experience that will truly resonate with the customers.

Tips to transform your in-store customer experience


Customer experience is the ‘be all and end all’ for retail businesses today. Every retailer is vying to gain the biggest share of the customers’ attention and wallet in order to succeed; and delivering a superior customer experience is the best way retailers can achieve their goals. Therefore, they need to compete in this intense ‘customer experience’ battle ground. Moreover, for brick and mortar retail companies, the competition gets even stiffer as they have to tackle additional contention from e-commerce retail players. With all this competition and other internal & external constraints, offering a fantastic shopping experience for in-store customers is a challenge for your retail business. However, below are a few simple tips that can help you transform your in-store customer experience.

  1. Offering unique and personalized experience

Knowing and understanding customers not only by the demographic characteristics and buying history, but also following their individual shopping journey. This will enable you to go beyond the usual conventions of customer experience and drive you to innovate ways by which you can make the customer experience unique and personalized. Something as basic as knowing that a customer has visited the store on her birthday and presenting her tailored offers can leave a positive impact. Similar kind of unique and personalized experiences need to be created and delivered. This will set you apart in the perception of the customer.

  1. Channelizing store employees

An important element that stores have over e-commerce is the personal touch factor. Store employees can be the brand ambassadors for your business and can thus influence the customers purchase decisions as well as enhance their experience. Therefore you need to mobilize and channelize your store employees and harness their potential to deliver a superior shopping experience. Investing in training your store employees is essential to the success of your brand.

  1. Providing value added services

More is less in the new retail mantra. The modern day customers are demanding and how. They seek more channels for shopping, more choices of products and expect more value for the money they spend. Though this seems to be a challenging situation, you can convert it into an opportunity by incentivizing your customers with value added services for purchasing from the store. This is like an extra layer of customer service that will go a long way in compelling customers to come back to the store. Simple service options like offering to home deliver apparel after alteration or offering to take old stuff and providing cash coupons for purchasing at the store, are some techniques than can be implemented.

  1. Tendering convenience and reducing time

There seem to be a few specific attributes for in-store layouts that have been tried, tested, and proven successful. Some of these attributes include speed, convenience, cleanliness, and product selection. In today’s fast-paced world, where customers expect immediate assistance and instant gratification, making it easy and quick for customers to find their products or information, or providing them with different payment options for convenience and reducing their wait time at check-out queues, can significantly  enhance your in-store customer experience. Using innovative retail technologies can allow you to add these capabilities to your retail stores.

  1. Rewarding regular customers

You must appreciate the loyalty your customers have towards your offline retail business and reward them. Customer relationship management and loyalty programs with attractive reward schemes are proven methods to enhance the brand-customer relationships. The more you reward, the more your customers will come back to buy from you, resulting into a profit churning cycle for your business while offering a superior experience to your customers. Further, these loyal customers would be your brand advocates who in-turn would use their word of mouth to bring new customers.