History of Shopping Malls

History of Shopping Malls

Elevators, bright lights, air-conditioning; todays shopping malls are wonderful places. They have something for everyone. Café culture is alive and well. Comfortable lounges and water features contribute to the relaxing and inviting atmosphere. Malls are a place where you can find almost anything, but how did they all start?

The modern enclosed shopping mall concept is said to have been created by Victor Gruen. He designed the first indoor, climate-controlled shopping centre which opened in 1956. (reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Gruen). There was to be a large centre court, designed to mimic a town square.

One of Gruen’s brilliant ideas was to attract customers into stores by having appealing window displays. Today, the storefront window has become an art form. Some stores have remarkable displays in their windows at Christmas time to appeal to shoppers. Others continually update their front window displays every few weeks to remain fresh, current and appealing to customers.

Innovation continues with shopping malls. Today we have digital signage which allows advertisers to show engaging video content in the quest to appeal to customers. Some boards are so large they hang from the ceilings of the mall. These instantly grab your attention, as they have movement, bright colours and variety, compared with a static billboard poster.

To keep customers buying in their stores, a lot of shopping malls have introduced gift vouchers that can be spent at any of the stores within the particular mall. One key strategy here is to keep customers within their mall, rather than going to shops that are elsewhere.

With the rise of online shopping, shopping malls have had to innovate yet again, to attract customers to their stores. Customers can shop on their computers, tablets or mobile phones! They could even shop on their mobile phone whilst at the mall. To bring customers back to actual stores, the stores are offering ‘click and collect’ services – where you order online, but collect from the store.

As consumers behaviours, wants and needs evolve, the shopping mall will need to continually adapt to attract customers to their stores. The innovative thinking that helped produce the first enclosed shopping mall will be required to keep pace with customers. This could result in almost anything.