How are shopping centers going digital?

As a result of the pandemic’s effect on retail stores, most shopping centers are going digital by creating online platforms that allow shoppers to buy directly from stores.

Bal Harbour Shops is reportedly one of the centers that has introduced a way for its customers to shop what is in stores without leaving their homes. The center launched the Bal Harbour Shops Marketplace, an e-commerce site that lets online shoppers buy products directly from stores at the mall for delivery or in-person pickup.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Whitman Family which owns Bal Harbour Shops, Matthew Whitman Lazenby stated that the marketplace is not just an e-commerce site where one can buy generalised products found elsewhere online, but it is rather a place where shoppers get to experience Bal Harbour curated fashions and accessories being featured in the moment. Furthermore, the intention behind creating the marketplace is to reportedly bring the unique experience of shopping at the physical mall into the online realm.

Lazenby reportedly believes that the typical luxury shopper at Bal Harbour is a world traveller who has seen the London, Paris and Milan stores of a luxury brand like Ferragamo. He added that he believes that that luxury experience needs to be carried online too. Shoppers who use the marketplace are said to have the option of buying from several different stores in the center with a single checkout. The sales part of the platform is reportedly powered by Spotify.

Lastly, according to Whitney Livingston, the President and Chief Operating Officer of real estate investment firm Centennial, e-commerce platforms are useful tools to make sure businesses are ready for the future. Livingston added that shopping malls need to innovate and not rely on what worked yesterday.

To follow through with this mandate, Centennial reportedly launched an omnichannel platform called ShopNow! at seven of its properties. ShopNow! is designed to let mall tenants sell their inventory online.