AUSTIN (KXAN) — They’re a nostalgic piece of the past for many people: being dropped off at the mall with friends for shopping, food court snacks and giggling at the latest silly knick-knacks in Spencer’s. It’s a pastime many may remember growing up. But, as online shopping, 2-day delivery and curbside pickup become more of the norm for consumers, how will malls adapt to the shift?
Gone are the days where most people are going to the mall to buy clothes. Experts say the next step for the mall industry is to not so heavily rely on those big-name department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom and JCPenney. Now, it’s about making the the mall a place where you can shop but also get a unique in-person experience, like attending an event or concert.
“There are malls that are reforming with an outdoor space that’ll serve as a concert hall. Or, revamp the mall entirely. For example, Highland Mall has been converted into a community college with housing, retail, shops, retail, having yoga at the mall. Anything that’s an experience in terms of ‘Hey, I can’t buy this online, but I can do this at a location. Those are the things that most need to happen,” says real estate reporter for Austin Business Journal, Parimal Rohit.
The Domain in north Austin is another example of a how the mall experience has changed. It has several apparel-based department stores, high-end shopping, restaurants, offices and places to live, exemplifying a model where consumers have a place where to live, work and play.