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Shopping malls across Canada have experienced fluctuating vacancy rates as a result of recent big store closures, increased competition and consumers’ changing tastes. Despite these factors, this article in the Toronto Star examines how U.S. malls near Dayton, Ohio have achieved a lower vacancy rate compared to malls in other cities.
How Stores Can Stand Out
We have to bring up the "M" word here: Millennials. Studies have shown for years that millennials are more easily sold by experiences than material things, and you can successfully bring the two together in modern shopping malls. The article shows that overall, shopping malls that focused more on experiences than efficiency had lower vacancy rates. In the past, shopping centres were literally a one-stop shop for everything people needed to buy. Now, trends have shifted so that mixed-use facilities are becoming more popular. These can compete with online competition as they offer shoppers a mix of retail, dining, entertainment and events to attend.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Literally. Open-air shopping centres are generally seen as successful in the retail industry because they offer experiential shopping in a mixed-use setting. Big store closures, like Sears Canada, also have less of an effect on vacancy rates in open-air centres because they are typically located in traditional shopping centres.
The major takeaway from this article is the emphasis on creating a meaningful shopping experience for customers. Brick and mortar retailers may struggle to compete against online retailers when it comes to providing a convenient shopping experience. However, they can differentiate themselves by providing customers with unique products and a rounded, valuable shopping experience.
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