Marina Nazario/Business Insider
As the mall as we know it declines across America, a new era of shopping is emerging on the horizon.
High-end, futuristic malls in China and parts of the US are upgrading technology, hoping to attract customers with “smart” shopping centers.
“In the US, the malls look exactly the same they did 20 year ago,” Deborah Weinswig, executive director at Fung Business Intelligence Centre, said recently in a talk at a JDA Executive Luncheon. “We’ve got to make it more exciting, and more fun, and more experiential.”
Changing consumer tastes and the rise of e-commerce means shoppers are visiting malls less and less, with Weinswig reporting that the average American now visits a mall three to four times a year, as opposed to five to six. To compete with online shopping, malls need to match e-commerce in convenience and create experiential reasons to visit the mall that you cannot find online.
Store are also testing retail robots, like Pepper, Japan’s SoftBank’s four-foot tall, humanoid bot who is fluent in eight languages and can serve as a personal stylist and salesperson. The robot can even follow up with customers using emails and text messages.
These new services attempt to give customers tech that they can’t access in their own homes. However, the other major shift in the mall of the future is in customers’ own hands — their smartphones.
Other apps give shoppers a more immersive experience.
New technology helped contribute to the decline of malls in America, as shoppers turned to e-commerce. However, today the tides are turning. Now, with new experiential and smartphone tech, retailers have the chance to use technology to reverse the downfall of the mall.
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