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How Shopping Mall Marketing Has Changed Over the Decades

5 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Feb 22, 2019 11:29:25 AM

The concept of browsing for goods and services offered by one or more merchandisers in a complex of shops has been around since Ancient Rome, when Apollodorus of Damascus built Trajan’s Market, which is now considered to have been the world’s first shopping mall. People have always enjoyed the benefits of finding their needed goods in one place, and that has been the one of the most influential drives behind the retail industry throughout the ages.

Originally thought of as a community center were people could meet for various activities, from shopping to cultural exchanges, or social interactions, the mall has gone above and beyond those expectations. In 1931, Dallas became the first city to have a group of stores facing away from the road of access, which also had their own parking lot. The Highland Park Shopping Village became the first shopping center in America, and went on to inspire the construction of many others. Yet the history of shopping centers in the United States goes way back, as one of the oldest shopping arcades, built back in 1890, is the Cleveland Arcade, which in 1975 was designated a National Historic Landmark. With the passing of years, retail centers became more and more present in all major cities of the world, and with the concept of shopping mall gaining notoriety, so did a lot of additional services created out of customer demand.

The growth and development of new shopping malls drew the attention of retailers towards the benefits of having their shops in such a center. As the retail industry kept expanding, the need for reaching a much larger demographic grew with it, therefore retails turned to shopping mall marketing for promoting their business and staying one step ahead of their competitors. And if in today’s technologically-driven times marketing has a plethora of branches and implementation solutions, in the beginning of shopping centers, the possibilities were scarce.

The Early Stages of Shopping Mall Marketing

When we walk the crowded floors of today’s shopping malls, it’s hard to imagine that there was ever a time when retailers could even make ends meet without modern advertising and digital marketing, let alone thrive or outshine their competitors. The fast-pace times we are living in makes it hard to look back on the days that offer us no familiar feelings. Words like ‘marketing’, ‘advertising’ or ‘promotion’ are usually associated with our notion of the modern world, which in our minds encapsulates the present and recent past.

Yet advertising started taking shape as early as the appearance of exchanging currency for good, and was in fact a popular practice even in the Roman city of Pompeii, or the pottery markets of classical Greece. Ancient methods of advertising included placing an ad on objects such as coins, stamped bricks, painting on city walls, or even as far as advertisements on tablets around 100 BCE.

With the invention of printing, the world of advertising and later of marketing changed forever, as leaflets, pamphlets, small newspapers, and other means of promoting goods and services became available to merchandisers. In time, marketing strategies started being developed around the concept of advertising and the means for reaching one’s target audience. Given that shopping mall were usually built outside of communities or cities, their initial marketing strategies revolved around convincing people that finding everything you need in one place is worth the drive.

Television brought advertising in the form of video commercials to the attention of companies from all over the world, and shopping mall marketing was soon aligned to the trend, with famous examples from the 1980s making history in the marketing industry, and all its adjacent environments.

The Trajectory of Shopping Mall Marketing in Our Times

The appearance of digital marketing offered retailers and shopping malls a wide range of marketing solutions, such as email, text, or social media marketing, alongside proximity marketing, which is a more recent addition to the industry. If in the past the focus was mostly on promoting the stores and the benefits of shopping in one place, today shopping mall marketing covers wider areas of advertising, and it is also involved in community projects or events.

Digital technology advances and the demands of customers who feel the need of a more personalized connection with the brands they love has made shopping mall marketing adhere to current marketing trends, and the success stories reveal that this will only get expand with time. The interest in advertising of shopping centers increased with the technological development of the marketing industry and has been focused on returning to the idea of shopping malls as a center for community engagement, beyond the purchasing of goods and services.

Modern Shopping Mall Marketing Methods

Connecting customers with brands and getting them involved in events organized by the local community are two of the main aspects behind shopping mall marketing and the methods retails are implementing in order to achieve it. Whether we are talking about driving sales with the help of proximity marketing, promoting events through SMS marketing, or testing the waters with technologies such as rich communication services, staying one step ahead of competitors means keeping up with the latest trends.

If you own a shopping center and want to attract new customers, being informed and always making decisions based on custom-tailored metrics and demographics is mandatory in order to achieve your goals.

The Future of Shopping Mall Marketing

With more and more shopping centers being developed, the focus is no longer on getting people to visit your business because it is more beneficial to shop for all goods in one place, but to choose you over your competitors. We are no longer living in times when cities were served by just one shopping area, and everyone has no choice, regardless of how the shopping mall advertised itself or the quality of products and services. Today, shopping mall marketing needs to be drafted and implemented based on the organic needs of both customers and retailers, attuned also with community needs and major events. Emerging communication and marketing solutions such as text to chat or rich communication services are the paving the way for a much simpler, highly personalized, and more effective marketing for shopping malls.

According to statistics, it is estimated that the global retail e-commerce worldwide sales will reach an impressive $4.88 trillion in 2021. Therefore, shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers are obligated to not only keep up with e-commerce sales, but also try to surpass them, as expenses are higher in the offline retail sector.

Shopping malls have come a long away from ancient times, and yet the core of their development and growth is still related to creating a space community members can come together, and also save time by handling personal needs such as shopping. More and more customers are driven by the need for brand authenticity, thus staying informed and having all necessary knowledge is key to the growth of your business. Also, make sure that the marketing solutions you are implementing offer you all the features you need in order to properly gather and analyze feedback from both the marketing processes but also from your customers.