More and more of these articles are springing up, and while the eyes cast over familiar words such as "competition", "high rental" and "closing, the heart continues to sink with each paragraph (even Mustafa Shopping Centre is set for closure!). The mind wanders back to my malls experience, remembering the familiar layout and stores in each mentioned shopping centre, remembering the good times I had there, and maybe even the smells.
Granted, one knows that such a demise of the shopping malls might happen eventually, with increased shop rental, manpower, import / export fees and shoppers' shift of buying culture. Competition from online stores are more and more common; one may find familiar brands online or discover foreign brands which we previously had no idea even existed.
Even me - stubborn as a mule, loyal to conventionality and outdated user in the virtual world - me who proclaim many times that I will never shop online, have slowly fallen into the allure of buying certain things online. Well, imagine attractive pricing coupled with the fact that goods are delivered to my doorstep (i.e. no fun carrying a sack of rice home?), and the ease of being able to shop 24/7 (i.e. emergency shopping in the middle of the night?), have certainly contributed to me breaching my promise at times. Oh yes, there's also no need to jostle with crowds as well, except for the occasional congested network tussle during a Black Friday sale.
Well this new shift in paradigm in buying culture certainly is good news for entrepreneurs and businesses who jump onto the e-commerce bandwagon immediately, but does not bode well for retailers with actual shopfronts. Fear grips my heart as I try to imagine a world without shopping malls in future, and people stop coming out because everything can be done in the comfort of their homes / offices.
While it is not likely to happen because I doubt the government will allow that, because shopping malls are essential for tourism's purpose, etc, here's 8 Reasons Why You Should Continue Shopping at the Malls, keeping the traditional buying culture alive:
1. Trying Before Committing
While an online order for clothes, shoes or skincare products might sound like a gamble - tossing in the money to see if we've got the dress we really want, lots of trial-and-errors, we are really playing the guessing game until we receive the orders. And then we are subject to risks such as goods not arriving, good being damaged, materials / colors being vastly different, sizes mismatch due to odd estimated measurements etc. Which results in the hassles of having to refund or exchange or not getting anything back at all.
Shopping at the malls eliminates some of these risks, as we get to try everything, feel them, feel their effects on us, before we finally hand over our cards.
2. Personal Service
When we shop online, we tend to spend more time researching and reading reviews about a brand or product. If we are unsure, we either ponder for a long time or just wing it and order, hoping that they are suitable.
When we are unsure in the malls, the helpful store assistants would be more than delighted to advise and help in whatever way they could.
3. Have a Treat
One of the joys of shopping in malls is that there are plenty of nice cafes and bars for us to grab a bite or a drink when we are tired. This is a little difficult with online shopping - unless we are already seated in a mall browsing e-commerce sites.
4. Bonding with Friends
Do you remember how much fun there was when you went shopping with your girlfriends? The times when we appraised each others' choice of clothes to buy, tried on a new eyeshadow shade together, and laughed ourselves silly falling over Nine West heels during a mega sale?
We could hardly attain the same level of fun and bonding with online shopping. What, grab our Ipads and gather somewhere to shop online together?
5. Making New Friends
Sometimes shopping alone leads to conversations with other like-minded shoppers and we end up gaining a new friend during the shopping trip. Try it - one never knows how far a simple comment such as, "I noticed you tried on this dress earlier on, and it looks good on you," or "I like books by the same author as well" could go.
Having said that though, please don't start going around boutiques harassing every single shopper in the hope of making friends. This might lead to a rather unsightly out-of-mall escort by the security guard.
6. Good Form of Exercise
Imagine this - if we are already holding a job that requires us to sit down for at least 7 hours a day (including lunch hour), and we claim that we have no time to visit the gym after work, are we sure we'd still want to sit down for another hour for online shopping? Get out there - crawl the malls looking pretty - this is exercising without breaking a sweat.
7. Minimizing Financial Risks
Anything that goes online has its fair share of risks, and may be subject to information theft, monetary pilferage or even the simple technical glitches that cause major inconveniences. Save yourself from being exposed to such risks by shopping and paying in person (cash for smaller items).
If you wish to see your favorite brand / merchandise around for the next few years, please, please show your support by turning up and buying something. Even in today's context, not every brand or shop has a comprehensive e-commerce website; even some very big brands are unable to list all their stocks online. Therefore please keep the shopping culture alive by visiting them (often).