The era of the traditional shopping mall may be coming to an end. Malls all across the America are either sitting with empty stores or, as the case with one locally here in Greensboro, filing bankruptcy altogether.
The common reason for the coming extinction of the traditional mall is the troubled economic times.But that doesn’t hold much water. Consumer spending, while still relatively flat, is rising inch by inch. Consumers just aren’t choosing to spend at the mall.
I could go into all the other reasons why malls don’t attract consumers, including the notion that a few have become, well, for those about 35 years younger than me. But I’d sound like an old crank. (Which I am.)
However, the real reason is similar to that: For many consumers, malls just aren’t for them. And, as all brand strategists know, if you don’t see yourselves in a brand, a product or even a place (to shop), you won’t participate in that brand.
Malls have certainly become victim to a whole host of retail trends, but the largest dilemma facing them is this: Most are all alike, even in atmosphere, so the only brand face they reflect is “average consumer” at best.
Most have done very little to make themselves a destination of choice based on who the consumer is when they shop there, other than as a social gathering for some.
The situation with malls represents much of the problems the entire retail industry is facing. They need help. While it’s not all about brand – we have been talking with retailers about other changes – it’s a smart start to reversing the trend.