Let’s go to the mall

HWM (Singapore) - - NEWS - Zachary Chan Ed­i­tor

Let’s talk about mall cul­ture and the prob­lems fac­ing re­tail to­day. Most peo­ple as­so­ci­ate both to be the same thing, but they can be dif­fer­ent in na­ture. Re­tail in a tra­di­tional sense is the act of phys­i­cally vis­it­ing and buy­ing prod­ucts from a brick and mor­tar store; in a mall or oth­er­wise. Mall cul­ture, is re­ally re­lated to so­cial gath­er­ings. This is bet­ter un­der­stood by watch­ing the Robin Sparkles song, Let’s Go To The Mall, from the com­edy How I Met Your Mother. Sure, it’s a par­ody. But it gets the idea across. The rise of e-com­merce web­sites like Ama­zon and eBay kick­started the down­ward slide of re­tail. And as elec­tronic pay­ment op­tions and lo­gis­tics net­works started to im­prove, con­sumers eas­ily shifted to­wards on­line shop­ping, and malls started to lose their shine.

To­day, we’re in the age of mo­bile shop­ping, which is a fur­ther evo­lu­tion of e-com­merce. Smart­phones, apps and pro­lif­er­a­tion of cash­less pay­ment so­lu­tions meant that in­stead of be­ing able to shop from the com­fort of our homes, we can now buy just about any­thing, any kind of ser­vice, from any­one, any­where.

This is a so­ci­ety un­teth­ered, which brings me back to mall cul­ture. Malls to­day have to re­tool them­selves as so­cial hubs, with more cafes, en­ter­tain­ment and ex­pe­ri­en­tial zones where the phys­i­cal act of shop­ping comes sec­ond. The chal­lenge to re­tain the crowd then, is to con­stantly re­vamp the ex­pe­ri­ence to t cul­tural avors of the month. I nd these so­cioe­co­nomic changes brought on by tech­nol­ogy fas­ci­nat­ing, which is why we’re do­ing a deep dive into the topic this month.

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