The giant shopping mall concept in America was first seen as a great improvement on having to go downtown where the traditional merchants were located. The large mall offered convenience to shoppers who could easily drive there, park their cars without paying for parking and avoiding the rush hour traffic and the dangers and worries of being in the inner city.
Many consumers would make an occasion going to the malls often with friends for hours of carefree shopping, often stopping at the food court to eat lunch or dinner. There were those who’d even go to the cinema to finish off their fun day shopping. But the evolution of the large mall has changed and several factors have served to alter the choices facing the mall shopper of today.
The internet, Amazon, and eBay have stolen shoppers from the more conventional mall retailers. But the idea of the mall is not dead or even dying because other businesses are seeing these huge spaces being offered for now more reasonable rentals and jumping at the chance to operate from a mall, again because of convenience and being away from often blighted downtown areas.
Schools, especially colleges, and government departments are locating in malls. Specialty shops are seeing a way to excite consumers, and formal restaurants and eateries find possible diners amongst the shoppers. Malls are indeed coming back from the dead and enjoying success.
History Of The Mall Concept
Sears, K-Mart, and Wal-Mart were the first to establish the idea of a “Big Box’ retail store. Those three operated huge building and attracted customers like moths to the flame or the blue light special. The prices offered were in the discount range and the quality of the merchandise ranged from passable to excellent. Shoppers were happy.
Wal-Mart saw the potential and opened Super Stores, some open 24 hours a day. They put in banks, barbershops, opticians, places to eat. These superstores were the one place to go for almost everything.
The mall trend furthered its continuation with the introduction and development of the elegant malls where fountains and elevators transformed the shopping experience from the main street to Rodeo Drive. This may have been the beginning of the demise. Not all shoppers needed or wanted the elegance of the upscale environment and their high prices, valet parking seemed out of place for people restocking their kitchens and bathrooms.
Many of these upscale malls lost renters and sadly often seemed moribund to customers who decided to see what was happening and entered to find an almost deserted atmosphere with few shoppers wandering inside.
The Mall In Today’s Culture
There has been a decided winnowing out of merchants who flocked to become tenants of the upscale malls. Practicality now reigns and in steps to shore up a crumbling mall situation those mall decoration companies who choose to redesign and reconfigure existing malls are taking over. There are decorating concepts that can vitalize any mall in America. Good design and pleasant colors combine to give the new mall shoppers the best of all worlds because the prices can be held down to satisfy shoppers. Seasonal displays can be used over and over again and thematic music piped through the mall. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day should be celebrated and the mall music, elevator music, should be designed to entertain these shoppers. School groups could reenact seasonal themes with plays and costume presentations and the food court should amp up its cuisine to match the theme of the festivities. These new mall designs and the decorators that transform the tedious into the entertaining will bring new life to any mall, anywhere.