How will shopping malls be transformed by COVID-19?

Due to the huge and devastating impact the pandemic has had in retail stores and, most of all in shopping malls, they are trying to find a way to avoid closure. According to experts, the industry was already in crisis before the quarantine because of the rapid growth of e-commerce and this situation just accelerated it. But how are shopping malls facing this situation? What is expected in the near future? Keep on reading and find out more.

An initial estimation made by Coresight Research, for 2020 is that in the United States, almost 15.000 retail stores will shut their doors, and could easily escalate up to a 50% more if the situation remains out of control. Situation that is also happening in other countries. Spain, for example, visits to malls has a slightly increased but, in comparison with last year, it declined almost 38%. Undoubtedly, it is a ‘new normal’ that doesn’t seem very friendly.

However, not everything is bad news for shopping malls. Some are confident that this is a huge opportunity to change and acquire a utility for the community and become more useful for them. As we mentioned before, a great opportunity for them is to reuse the large outdoor parking lots and convert part of them into green spaces to attract visitors with small outdoor points of sales.

These kinds of ‘creative’ options, are long-term. In the meantime, the situation requires immediate solutions. Apart from masks, floor signs, hand sanitizer, and other health care measures, shopping malls around the world are exploring other alternatives.

In Brazil, for example, some shopping malls installed pick-up points in the parking itself which allows buyers to pick up their online purchase without having to get out of the vehicle and thus avoid exposure. Something that goes beyond the service that was already implemented before the pandemic, buying online and then picking up from the store. Supermarkets and restaurants were the only ones that used to do it and it has now expanded to almost all the retail industry. It is something, like many other transformations made in response to the pandemic, that seems to have come to stay.

Another alternative several Latin American shopping centers have acquired, such as in Peru and Argentina, has been the opening of drive-ins. An excellent way to attract an increasing number of customers and promote sales to stores within the shopping center who can deliver their products before, during or after the show. Adapt in order to survive. That’s what everyone should do.

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