What Does the Shopping Mall of the Future Look Like?

Shopping malls have been at the forefront of commercial real estate conversations for years now.

After a seemingly endless discussion, the future outlook of the American shopping mall remains hazy. We still don’t know exactly what will save malls and bring these public shopping centers back into the spotlight for consumers.

A New World for Malls

Back in 2019, many predictions were made. The most prominent forecast for retail’s revival of the shopping mall was based on experiences. Fun, social, personalized, and specialty – malls were to become a place where you could do it all. Prominent retail brands were teaming up with eateries and entertainment companies to offer a totally new era of mall culture.

However, 2020 happened – and those predictions quickly became irrelevant.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the commercial scene with unexpected intensity, the needs of the American mall took another drastic turn. Right now, the attention has shifted away from luxury experiences and towards health, wellness, and safety.

These pressing demands have changed the course of mall development, but they’ve also added a welcomed dose of certainty. Unlike the quickly passing trends of experience, the ‘new normals’ of the coronavirus are here to stay.

CRE’s retail sector now has a better idea of where to take malls than it has in years, and these actionable items are set to reshape malls in 2021 and beyond.

Here’s an idea of what the malls of the future will look like:

The Rise of Omnichannel

The trend of omnichannel retail has been growing since 2018, but as we move forward, it will become standardized. Brick and mortar will continue to team up with e-commerce to meet consumer demands and keep up with industry competition.

Delivery, BOPIS, and same-day pick-up options for online orders will restructure the way shoppers interact with malls.

Blending with the Medical Space

With COVID-19 displaying immense resilience, health and safety will remain top of mind within mall development.

The addition of minute-clinics and small scale medical offices into the pool of mall tenants is expected to rise in 2020. Not only does this assist in promoting health and wellness for shoppers, but it will also coincide with the growing med space trend of smaller, more accessible offices.

Offering quick and convenient services combined with the need for COVID safety measures will initiate a blend between malls and CRE’s medical arena.

Multifamily Collaborations

The med space isn’t the only sector that is forecasted to merge with malls. Multifamily will also be taking steps to rebuild the modern mall as on-site living options are integrated within these commercial sites.

Multifamily is eyeing malls as a potential place to develop lifestyle communities. Whether the development projects completely recycle a weak mall location into an apartment site or retail and multifamily will be blended in a single asset will vary between projects. This trend of combining work, life, and play into one model is expected to reverberate throughout CRE in 2021. What are your predictions for the next phase of retail’s mall scene?


4 Predictions for Holiday Shopping in 2020

‘Tis the season… but this year, everything is different.

As we flew past Halloween and move towards Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas, all eyes are locked on retail. After such a hectic year, what will this season’s holiday shopping look like?

The 2019-2020 Shift

Last year, even with e-commerce activity at an all-time high, eager shoppers still flooded to stores and malls to do their gift shopping. Despite tons of Cyber Monday shopping, Black Friday’s turnout was impressive across the country. 2019’s holiday shopping season marked a positive direction for CRE’s retail sector – which was much welcomed after a difficult year.

But, that momentum was shot as the pandemic swept through in 2020. Since then, nothing has been the same. As a result, many of those bright outlooks established in last year’s holiday shopping season have been muddied.

This year, anything can happen.

2020 continues to defy expectations. It’s difficult to predict the movements of consumers today, especially with so many different factors pushing and pulling shoppers in different directions. Even beyond sales volume and trending gift items, the commercial real estate market is eager to see how this holiday season plays out for brick and mortar.

To gain insight into the coming months of holiday shopping, let’s explore what experts are forecasting for this season:

Here’s What Experts Are Saying

With COVID still on the radar and social distancing concerns top of mind, consumers likely won’t be hitting the stores like they usually do.

At the same time, e-commerce brands are taking advantage of these pandemic-induced circumstances to win over shoppers during this year’s holiday season. Unbeatable deals, perks, near-instant shipping, and BOPIS will be boasted by online retailers.

All this considered, experts are calling for a major slowdown for in-person shopping this year. The majority of consumers are expected to conduct their holiday shopping on the web, funneling their sales towards e-commerce and away from physical retail.

Now that we know what the experts are predicting, let’s look at how retailers are responding. This is what CRE’s retail tenants are doing to prepare for this holiday season:

Boosting Online Infrastructures

The pandemic prompted even the smallest mom-and-pop shops to open up an online portal to extend their services online.

Now, as the holiday season looms overhead, CRE’s retail tenants are investing in their e-commerce capabilities. Being able to supplement their in-person sales with online transactions is vital for balancing business this year.

Setting Aside Space for Order Fulfillment

With online orders expected to rise alongside a sharp decline in shopper volume, stores are making room for order fulfillment. Portions of retail’s physical spaces will be devoted to inventory, packing, and shipping preparations.

Still Preparing to Welcome Shoppers

Retailers are preparing to welcome shoppers in-store with a pristine shopping experience. Even though the numbers might be lower, retail tenants are still optimistic. Safety, accessibility, and convenience are all major focus points as brands try to win back their foot traffic.

One thing is for sure, whatever unfolds for retail in the coming months has the power to initiate lasting trends for holiday shopping moving forward. Don’t take your eyes off of CRE’s retail sector.