Shopping Malls in Pakistan are transforming to meet the millennial patterns and retail demands in order to stay afloat. Traditionalists may yearn for “good old times” because with conforming to generational changes comes the heavy burden of trying to catch up with the ebb and flow.

>Advancement in Internet technologies is the reason why today’s generation is being dominated by online retailing.

As the pandemic increase, many retailers have been hit hard with the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Even after the ease of lockdowns and quarantines, one thing is clear that the world is definitely a different place. In the month of June, there was a significant decline in the purchase of luxury items and outdoor entertainment. As the Pakistani retail sector is facing many unanswered questions, with major changes we can save the industry from total destruction.

A Shift in Traditional Stores Within The Last Decade

In the past, before e-commerce was ever insight, a trip to the mall entailed a list of steps: planning, driving, back-and-forth walking, followed by carrying the goodies back home. But with the evolution of virtual shopping, no one thinks twice about the past inconveniences.

Generation Z shoppers have become the biggest spenders as they continuously break barriers by being the main reason for major shifts if we discuss cultural trends. There is an emphasis on the way retailers are shaping the modern-day consumer narrative to gain the most out of their shopping experience. It is imperative that malls incorporate great storytelling into the structural concept of designing shopping malls

Altering Shopper Experiences

In Pakistan, shopping malls’ experience is limited because there are limited resources. With the emergence of factors in the rising economic channels, retailers are being forced to experiment with other tools. Personalizing a shopping experience built around augmented reality and visual infographics, are winning solutions but may not be suitable for all brands.

With the challenge to deliver customized experiences that suits individual customers, smaller retailers are stuck in the middle. Since they don’t have the budget size in comparison to that of the industry giants. Holding them back from getting their brand message across to the masses. And with the decrease in offline sales. Companies in Pakistan are reaching out to digital marketing agencies to give them the right tools to tackle the competitive marketplace pressures. All the while educating themselves to choose the right vendor, and altering strategies incorporating the integration of customer experience across all mediums.

Millennials are the main customers that need to be wowed. Malls in Pakistan are offering top-notch amenities that can’t be experienced through online shopping. Being a millennial a moment away from our phone gives us a mini heart attack. Aren’t we all looking for the most Instagramable views to share with our online friends?. Malls can capture our attention by stimulating our visual senses through interesting architecture. Adding high-end restaurants as food options, recreational sports entertainment, and incorporating fitness centers and beauty spas. Don’t just design an experience but rather a lifestyle.

Influencing the Influencers

Since the youth of Pakistan makes up to 60% of the population. With Millennials carrying the retail industry with a spending power totaling more than $200 billion. Shopping Malls are figuring out how to meet their standards. This tech-savvy generation requires an immersive and fresh environment, forcing them to get out of their homes and into the shopping malls. They have no interest in visiting a store and purchasing a pair of headphones. Instead, they could just watch a YouTube review of the product and order it online. Malls should wear their focus on conceptualizing marketing schemes that will entice the shopper to visit their stores.

Moving ForwarD

As we know malls are here to stay, with projects such as Space and Aquatic Mall underway. Things are looking up in terms of providing an alternative shopping experience. Attractions in the Space Mall like no gravity area, a golf simulator, a space museum, and a rejuvenating spa, and much more. This will definitely convince the new generation to regularly swing through this mall. And, thus increasing footfall traffic and furthermore profits.

Post COVID-19 world has expanded the big black hole in Pakistan’s economy. With consumers in distress over managing finances and job security. They are more cautious about the way they spend their money. Therefore for the sake of practicality, consumers are swapping brands, cutting down to investing only in essentials, and using online shopping for convenience.

While in other countries malls are a dying industry with the rise of eCommerce tycoons, in Pakistan a trip to the mall is a luxury to many. However, if malls don’t conform to the consumer needs they are better off closing down their businesses.