Meeting millennials where they shop: Shaping the future of shopping malls

By Sangeeth Ram

The traditional shopping mall is under threat. Here is how to meet the needs of digital customers.

Digital technology is transforming global lifestyles and changing the way we live, work, shop, eat, play, and learn. Real-estate developers therefore must provide new ways to meet these needs.

One example is the shopping mall. These sit at the heart of communities in many cities in both the developed and developing worlds. But as consumers embrace digital technologies, developers must redefine the traditional shopping mall to adapt to this behavior.

some most interesting quotes about the Retail & Technology, and some personal opinions (should be, must be)


By 2017, the millennial generation will comprise the largest online audience, and they will have more buying power than any generation ever. Almost seven in ten say they are influenced by friends’ social-media posts; 83 percent say they trust recommendations by friends and family.

They rely on peer recommendations, and increasingly discover products online before going out to shop. But they still want to touch, feel, and explore products before purchasing them.

to know: Millennial consumers want to shop for experiences as well as products.

should be: “Pop up” stores that provide distinctive products for a short period are one significant response.

should be: Experimenting with niche retail concepts such as revolving storefronts, pop-up stores, dedicated space for “glocal” brands, and offline showrooms of online players. 

must be: Creating “virtu-real” formats to provide consumers with a more interactive retail experience, for example, through the use of touchscreen navigation panels, virtual fitting rooms, magic mirrors, and augmented-reality zones.

must be: Merging online and offline retail using “social shopping” technology with digital screens in transport-arrival zones, piazzas, shop windows, and major junctions of the shopping district. 

must be: Using smartphones for e-checkouts and click-and-collect services, to help blend the offline and online shopping experience.

Digital technologies and changing shopping habits are a clear threat to traditional retail business models. But there are positive ways to respond to these trends. To embrace these opportunities, real-estate developers must get closer to consumers and figure out how to meet their evolving wants and needs.