The shopping mall doesn't need to exist anymore, at least not for me as a consumer. When I was younger, it sure was fun to go to the mall. Perhaps it was the youthful independence, and perhaps it was because the consumer-oriented Internet did not exist yet. As I walk around the mall today, I can't help but wonder how it will survive. Apparently, I am not alone in that conclusion as one article suggests that the shopping mall of the past may need to evolve in the future or face fading away. At this point in my life, I have little use for the mall.
Frankly, I enjoy buying just about everything online. It is convenient, and in many cases I can compare sites and get the lowest price available. Why go to the mall, pay full retail and wonder if I got a good deal? Obviously there are certain items that are still convenient to buy at the mall. It is difficult to try on clothes and look at them in a mirror when shopping online. However, just about every other item can be had at your friendly, neighborhood website. I try to avoid the mall, particularly during holiday seasons. In many ways, the mall has been relegated to times when planning ahead is not possible. I try to minimize those times as a consumer. If I must go, I will have my barcode-scanning app at the ready so I can check prices.
Obviously the malls in this country are not going to go down without a fight. They will adapt, attempt to add new services and seek to draw in new customers. The challenge will be whether there will be enough brick-and-mortar services to attract. Will I visit my doctor or dentist at the mall? That is already a practice in some places. Dining? Entertainment? Car repair? Yawn. Many of these aspects are already in place. I still like to shop around, and going to the mall is not a default anymore. It is just one more consumer option among many others. I don't see myself working particularly hard to keep the mall as a shopping destination.
As a consumer, I do agree with the article when it suggests that the warehouse store has become the place to be. I do not have much use for the mall, but I love the warehouse store. Granted, I can also buy many of warehouse store items online. However, I suppose the warehouse store has partially replaced the all-encompassing department store of the past, and has enhanced the experience by adding a grocery store component. One-stop shop? Sometimes that is exactly what the warehouse store provides.
A place to hang out
Admittedly, I was at a mall recently. What I observed was a lot of people who did not necessarily seem to be engaging in a lot of shopping. There were certainly shoppers, but there were also a lot of people browsing, eating and just hanging out. In other words, it seemed like it was a social destination, particularly for certain age groups. That's fine if you are a teen looking for entertainment on a Saturday night, but commerce is about an ongoing audience. I don't need this type of entertainment. When it comes to the mall, I am less and less a part of that particular audience. Online shopping is the way to go.
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