E-malls: The New Frontier
  • January 20, 2021
  • 6 Mins Read

E-malls: The New Frontier

The New Consumer

Consumers today know exactly what they want. They’re well-informed before stepping into a store. Foot traffic in malls was already falling pre-pandemic and now consumer behaviour has become fully entrenched in the new way of shopping – online.

Yet, today’s consumers face opposing forces. Post-pandemic, they will continue to want a quick in-and-out shopping experience having done all their research, but will also seek to interact with others and socialise.

The Retailer

“73% of shoppers are omnichannel consumers¹”

Weaknesses in business strategy have been exposed. Retailers are scrapping lower performing stores and are making heavy investments in technology, strengthening their brand through an omnichannel presence.

The Retail Revolution

Retailers are swapping their five-year plan for a five-week plan and experimenting with different business models. They are creating omnichannel touchpoints to meet consumers where they spend their time.

More than a product, consumers are looking for a brand experience through multiple channels. Multiple retail touchpoints translate to a greater likelihood of consumer purchases and increased spending.

Customers with multiple touchpoints will expect more options at each stage of the transaction such as delivery and logistics, point of purchase, pickup options and social distancing protocols.

Fact: Omnichannel consumers are loyal and are more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends.

From Mall to Destination

To stay relevant, malls need a reason for consumers to come back post-COVID by facilitating dynamic and engaging experiences.

Collaboration with Retailers is Key

Future malls need to work with retailers to balance consumer desire for social interaction with a seamless, safe and convenient shopping experience. This means finding innovative ways to organise their stores, interact with customers, collect payments and deliver products.



Community Feel for Consumers

Even pre-pandemic, consumers favoured one-stop-shops for daily essentials, but as the pandemic restrictions ease, people will venture out for more social interactions. What this means is consumers will be looking for places to socialise that will offer leisure and entertainment.

Consumers told Deloitte² what the top innovations are that will bring them back to malls post-pandemic, and the citations were quite impressive:

  • 35% look for great assortment of food,
  • 33% prefer local artisans or shops,
  • 30% suggested green spaces,
  • 30% required a variety of parking options,
  • 26% needed centralised returns for online and in-store purchases.

Embracing Technological Innovation

“78% of consumers expect online shopping to increase post-pandemic³”

Malls and retailers need to take pointers from digital-first companies like Amazon and Apple. They’ve channelled their business to operate both as an online store (the clicks) and physical store (the bricks), integrating the two into a single retail strategy and offer customers an omnichannel experience and it has proved profitable. They understand that customers are looking for, a digitised experience online and in-store, enabled by technological innovation.

Synergy: Parts to Ecosystem with ZeMaas

“There are no traffic jams along the extra-mile.” – Roger Staubach

The mall’s role has traditionally been leasing and managing retail space, but now they need to step up their game and attract retailers who have invested heavily in technology to stay relevant. This may include offering free or discounted delivery and mobility services.

ZeMaas’ B2B and B2C platform can deploy a seamlessly integrated ecosystem connecting restaurants, retailers and customers through the mall’s (whitelabeled) app. The app will attract consumers who will hang around longer (dwell time), resulting in greater foot traffic, sales and profitability.

ZeMaas will help you:

  1. Create a model for retailer loyalty
  2. Collect data analytics on customer behaviour
  3. Determine targeted marketing campaigns
  4. Deploy omnichannel touchpoints leading to customer loyalty
  5. Facilitate the new norm of mobility and delivery services

The pandemic has shaken up many industries, particularly retail and mobility services. Malls became vacant while taxis and limousines lay dormant, however, through the power of disruptive technologies and a willingness to optimise services using the shared economy model, it is possible to bring the best of both worlds together and thrive once again. 

Consider these scenarios and cases:

In short, ZeMaas’ technology platform can help bridge the gap between mall owners’ needs and the needs of mobility services companies.

  1. Building a community online that is streamlined offline in your mall’s personalised portal.
  2. The ability to support and work with retailers deploying their “endless aisle” distribution strategy by delivering their product within 24 hours.
  3. Addressing pain-of-parking by offering free rides during peak hours.
  4. Sending push notifications to customers during flash sales, or pop up shop notifications.
  5. Partnering with hotels to drive a group of people to the mall and back.
  6. Packaging free taxi pickup and drop off services with movie tickets.
  7. Offering free delivery to a patron buying a business suit tailored to their size and liking.

Malls may need to change, but it doesn’t have to be painful. With the right technology and more importantly, the right partner, malls can reap the benefits of today’s challenges by getting ready for tomorrow. ZeMaas will lend you a helping hand to achieve your ultimate goals and boost your business. Contact ZeMaas to explore what lies ahead for your mall.


(1) A Study of 46,000 shoppers show that omnichannel retailing works by Emma Sopadjieva, Utpal M. Dholakia and Beth Benjamin
(2) (3) Deloitte: The future of the mall
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