Shopping Center Development Strategies: How to Win Against Online Retail

While the shopping center experience is far from over, it’s safe to say that shopping center developers and owners are working harder than ever to compete for foot traffic. The rise of on-line shopping has been a boon to retailers, but if we are honest, it has been detrimental to commercial general construction, with the closing of many brick and mortar retail stores.

That’s why savvy shopping center developers are developing new strategies to compete and win against online retail. This strategy to create an experience, rather than just a shopping mall development with a lot of big name retailers is a step in the right direction. By creating an entertaining environment, shopping center developers are betting that it will bring foot traffic back to the mall. This crowd may not be there for a shopping experience first and foremost, but the longer they stay the better chance they have of becoming a traditional shopper.

By partnering with experienced commercial general contractors like Beier Construction, shopping center owners are redeveloping or adding on entertainment options at shopping mall developments that may not have been the norm 10-15 years ago. These new options create the desired experience that shopping mall owners are trying to achieve.

Some of these new shopping center development options include:

  • Fine dining
    • While retail items can be purchased on-line from the comfort of your couch, the fine dining experience cannot be replicated at home. People who want a break from cooking and to be served in a pleasant atmosphere still have to go to restaurants. Shopping mall owners are discovering that upgrading their developments with high-end restaurant construction can be a key in driving traffic to the mall.
  • Entertainment options
    • Recently, trends such as adding entertainment options like bowling alleys and video arcades have become popular. While not typical retail construction options for shopping malls, owners know they do drive foot traffic to their shopping centers.
  • Movie theater enhancement
    • Sometimes, it’s not enough to just offer a movie theater anymore. Shopping mall owners are trying to lure movie theater operators that have developed a new experience, thus, hopefully driving new traffic. Several movie theaters are providing options such as reserved seating or valet parking to differentiate themselves and create a new experience.
  • Create a town center feel
    • Sometimes, it’s not enough to add new retail concepts. Creating an environment that can lead to several different experiences can be a game changer. Live music being heard almost any night of the week at several venues and family entertainment being provided throughout multiple stages within is an excellent example of this. Shopping center developers that cater to family entertainment have an excellent chance of wooing multiple generations of shoppers.

It’s clear there is no single answer to enhance a shopping center development and make it relevant, but with retail construction projects that approach the traditional shopping mall in an innovative way, shopping center owners may create an experience that keeps them competitive in the new age of on-line retail. In Louisiana, this trend hasn’t hit the mainstream market just yet, but in the next few years is certain to become more prevalent throughout our communities.

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