Retail industry in the UK is facing the wave of apocalypse. Large shopping centers like Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, or Debenhamas are facing the destruction of retail businesses. They even performed below the expectation. The National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Center warned that more than 200 shopping centers in the UK are entering the door of bankruptcy.
What actually caused the destruction of retail businesses? Many factors can be responsible. They include ongoing battle with online retail and the shift of customer preference in shopping things. These lead to downward trend of retail sales in brick-n-mortal stores.
How to Survive from the Destruction of Retail Businesses
Actually, these shopping centers have not lost hopes. They still can do something to survive. The following are some strategies for the shopping malls to survive the destruction of retail business:
Adapting to the New Retail Trend
The retail businesses have no choice but to adapt to the new trend in retail world. Yes, the landscape of retail industry has been changing. The shopping centers have to admit this. In the past, retail industry was dominated by higher demand. As a result, shopping centers had more room the control over the pricing and product designs.
Nowadays, supply-and-demand state has been changing. Since 2009, retail industry has been going oversupply. There are more sellers than buyers. Accordingly, sellers have less flexibility in controlling the pricing strategy. They are now competing with other sellers to target the same customers.
Knowing Your Customers
The customers are now getting smarter. Their habits can be changing dramatically. Therefore, the shopping malls need to get in line with the trend. They should focus on understanding their customers rather than expecting that the customers understand them.
Successful shopping centers have one similarity in common. Yes, they understand their customers well. Understanding your customers mean knowing their needs and designing strategies to meet them. In the future, a store should not be a mere place to buy goods. Instead, it should be a pleasant place to eat, to discover new things, to play, to learn, to work, and even to borrow money. In other words, the shopping centers will turn into a local community.
Befriending with the Online Retail
Never treat the online retailers as the enemy. Instead, they are potential partners for established shopping centers. Both can build mutually beneficial partnerships. How does it go? Online retailers and shopping centers can share the space. The online retailers can have a physical presence to build their brands. On the other hand, the shopping centers can extend the marketing reach with online presence.
A good example of such partnership is between Amazon and Kohl in the United States. The customers can get their products in brick-n-mortar and online stores. When shopping at the mall, the customers can have everything in a single place. The same thing happens when the shop online.
One thing to remember: shopping centers are not dead. They still have many opportunities to return to the mainstream. Shopping centers still have a special place in the customers’’ heart. Some adjustments can help them survive and even thrive.