Shopping Centers vs Online Shopping: Who Will Be The Winner?

The New Shopping Centres
By the mid 1990s, despite the growing popularity of the internet, the traditional retailers together with development companies had decided to fight back. So came the next generation of shopping centre. These were mainly located ‘out of town' but some were created from already existing retail outlets within town and city centres. These new centres had to broaden their appeal to customers by offering goods and services that were unavailable on the internet as well as offering the customer a great shopping experience.

The Benefits Of The Shopping Mall
There are many benefits to the new style of shopping malls that have sprung up all over the country. They generally offer free parking or good means of transportation from local hubs meaning that they are more likely to appeal to customers who are not from the local area. If people are coming from outside the local area then this means that they may also be likely to visit some of the attractions that an area has to offer. Somewhere this is apparent is in Liverpool where a trip to the shopping centre there can provide a great basis for days out in Liverpool.

One of the other main benefits of the shopping mall is the fact that it can be an ‘all in one' experience combining shopping with eating, drinking and other leisure activities such as trips to the cinema.

Using The Internet To Increase Shopping Centre Business
For all the benefits of these new centres, there can be little doubt about the growth in the use of the internet but it is clear that the internet and shopping centres can work together to enhance the shopping experience. People might browse the limited selection of goods that a store offers online and then physically go to the retailer to browse further and make their purchase. Also the use of ‘click and collect' where people can order online and collect in store as well as allowing customers to return unwanted online purchases in-store all add up to increased custom and possibly increased business.

Many shopping centres are also harnessing the power of social media to increase their popularity, such as encouraging potential customers to ‘like' them on sites such as Facebook. They are also increasingly using the internet and e-mail to notify existing and potential customers of special offers and promotions.

The new generation of shopping centre is here to stay but it will have to keep changing and improving if it wants to slow the growth in people choosing to stay at home and shop online. If the shopping centres can offer customers more than just a shopping experience and if they can work with the internet rather than against it, then they might just stand a chance.

AUTHOR BIO: Anna Mathews writes regularly on shopping and retailing, both online shopping and shopping in traditional shopping malls, for a range of websites and blogs. She enjoys shopping and has enjoyed several days out in Liverpool.

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