What does the future hold for malls as e-commerce grows?

Black Friday Shopping
Posted at 12:37 PM, Nov 30, 2021

Online shopping is on track to top $200 billion for the first time.

Adobe Analytics is predicting e-commerce spending will hit $207 billion in November and December. That would be a 10% year-over-year increase.

The success of online shopping is hitting some malls hard. A prediction from earlier this year from UBS thinks 80,000 stores are expected to close over the next five years.

But other stores and malls are taking advantage of what e-commerce is offering them.

“There's been the embrace of curbside and mall owners actively supporting retailers with parking spot pickup lanes being able to support that side of it,” said Bill Thayer, a cofounder of Fillogic.

Thayer says physical stores are also becoming essential for fulfilling online orders.

“Our big pushes, we believe physical retail is not dead. It's in transformation, but what it's going to transform to is a little bit unclear, but the physical retail location, will have a, you know, a heavy grade logistics infrastructure to support sort of the future physical retail and we think that the mall owners are very much poised to understand and embrace that,” said Thayer.

Thayer says big companies like Target and Walmart have done a good job converting their infrastructure during the pandemic to support both the online and offline customer. His company is helping other stores do that as well by setting up small distribution locations in malls.

Basically, it’s taking existing space in malls and using it differently.

Retailers that are opening new physical stores realize they have to offer something different.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is adding stores with batting cages and rock climbing walls, while Levi-Strauss plans to open smaller stores with tailor shops, where customers can add patches or colored rivets to their jeans.