TripAdvisor mentions Dubai Mall as one of the top 3 ‘things to do’ in Dubai. Other malls and various entertainment options within malls also make it into this list. It’s not just tourists, Malls are part of the regular routine for residents too – especially on weekends. However, there are early signs of mall retail being impacted by the growing online shopping behaviour. But shopping malls in Dubai/UAE are not just about shopping. They are leisure destinations to suit every age and income bracket.
During the summer months shopping malls are favoured as people choose to stay indoors. Malls engage in many promotional activities to increase consumer spending. And with cooler months coinciding with festive season, malls continue to attract visitors. Also, one of the biggest shopping festivals – Dubai Shopping Festival – is a major draw for mall visits in the early part of the year.
KPMG in their inaugural edition of ‘What’s the deal?’ – focuses on shopping malls. In their opinion technology will play a key role in the future of malls. For community malls, eCommerce will be the biggest challenge to overcome and will need to adopt highly personalised offerings and services. For niche malls, technology can help determine the best store mix based on customer data. Both types of malls can benefit from providing real time updates to their customers on stock, sales, delivery and other relevant information. For ‘Super malls’ that operate more as leisure destinations, technology will be the next frontier for entertainment. How they incorporate technology into individual experience within the mall and outside will be the key differentiator.
‘Super malls’ operate as brands and therefore brand building initiatives are important to maintain customer loyalty. The Dubai Mall recently announced ‘food waste management’ initiative. This is a first by any mall in UAE and is in line with UAE’s vision for sustainable development. Dubai Mall already has adopted other eco-friendly steps such as energy-efficient lighting, water-flow regulating fixtures and a well-managed recycling process.