First Person: Malls Need to Win Back My Business

Yahoo Contributor Network

I haven't shopped at a mall in close to 5 years. Technically, I've parked in a mall parking lot to eat at restaurants adjoining the mall. However, I haven't stepped inside even to window shop.

Part of the reason I avoid malls is because I end up purchasing a lot of things I don't really need. My impulse buying side comes out when I pass my mannequins dressed in fashionable clothes. Once I try on an outfit or two, I am even more likely to spend more than I intended to spent when I arrived at the mall. Now that the recession appears to be over, I still haven't gone back to the mall to shop.

According to a recent article by Reuters, malls are losing their magnetism due to the Internet era. I know I rather shop online even though the mall was the epicenter of social life for me when I was a teenager. My teenage son never wants to go to the mall. He is constantly finding bargains on the Internet for anything we need.

Shopping the mall for health care

According to the Reuter's article, European malls are evolving to be more than places to purchase handbags and jeans. They pull customers by housing government and medical offices at the mall. I can picture myself shopping for a new pair of shoes while waiting for my number to be called by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles.)

Bringing back community

Although the mall could become a "full-service community center," I think most people are still nostalgic about the small-town shopping experience. I would rather shop at quaint stores. I know in my community, more could be done to create the small-town shopping district. Maybe the allure of the cookie-cutter mall had faded forever. Experts say stand-alone malls are having a difficult time surviving in the new world.

Drawing in mall walkers

I think I would be more willing to go to the mall if I viewed it as a place to exercise. A new mall is being built about 5 miles from my house that will include outdoor walking trailers overlooking ponds and wildflowers. I may go to the mall to take a walk and then wander into the coffee or tea shops. If I'm in the market for a new handbag, I might venture into the different stores. I think the reason I don't walk at the indoor mall in my community is because of all the vendors who constantly try to stop me and ask me to purchase their merchandise. Frankly, it's just annoying when I'm trying to enjoy the shopping experience.

I'm not sure if I'll ever go back to shopping at the mall as much as I did when I was younger or in the pre-recession days. If I can seek medical care, get my driver's license renewed and exercise at the mall, I might end up also buying new socks while I'm there.

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