Shopping malls have been flourishing in China with estimates of 300 new malls opened in the country each year. With the luxury spending slowdown, how will mall operators ensure that they attract the well-heeled shoppers they need to thrive?
Adam Cook, Retail Project and Development Services Lead at JLL Asia Pacific, shared new trends that will shape the future of Asian luxury mall shopping.
1. Cook with a Celebrity Chef
Luxury malls need luxury dining options to give their customers a place to unwind and refuel. While some shopping malls are attracting Michelin-rated restaurants, others are taking it a step further with experiential luxury. One project in development—details remain confidential—will offer wealthy customers the opportunity to experience “cook-a-long” dinner parties in which they cook with a celebrity chef in a state-of-the-art kitchen and dine in private dining rooms on the roof of the shopping center.
2. The Bespoke Experience
Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and they expect quality, customization, and attention to detail not only from luxury brands, but also from retailers’ customer service. Many luxury malls are beginning to offer services such as on-site stylist concierges. Customers can relax in the salon with a drink while designer clothes are presented to them by the concierge.
Some emerging fashion labels are opening pop-up shops in luxury malls where the designers themselves offer bespoke designs and fittings for high-end customers.
3. Accomodating The Jet-Set Customer
Asian luxury malls will begin to see a lot more traffic from private jets as China’s private aviation industry takes off. New high-end retail centers are exploring the addition of private airstrips, including immigration and customs desks to accommodate international luxury shoppers.
4. The Digital Valet Custom Shopping Experience
One unnamed global developer is exploring new technology that will digitally create a custom shopping experience. Wealthy customers will receive a platinum key fob that, upon entering the mall, will activate user-selected environmental effects, including customized music playlists, signature scents, and mood-adjusted lighting. As customers approach storefronts, the device will alert the retailers’ personal shoppers so that they can ready fitting rooms and pour champagne.
A smartphone app will be integrated with the virtual valet that will provide additional benefits, such as hands-free elevator operation, gift services, restaurant reservations, and it will even remind customers if they forget to visit one of their favorite stores.
5. Social Media Integration
Many luxury brands and retailers are using social media to enhance the shopping experience, including creating a Mobile Adventure, making a Shanghai store a futuristic shopping arcade, and offering an exclusive front row seat at a fashion show. More than ever, social media is influencing Chinese shoppers, and new apps are allowing shoppers to get style advice, share their outfits with friends, order in-home delivery, as well as other perks such as receiving in-store discounts.
6. Embrace Fitness
New malls are attracting the physically-fit, wealthy customer by creating athletically-themed entertainment destinations. These shopping centers offer everything from workouts with professional athletes to youth sports clinics to live sporting events with up to 10,000 spectators. These malls contain a carefully curated mix of luxury shops and athletics stores.
image source: flickr/trey ratcliff