Many mall developers, retailers, consumer product manufacturers and even vending operators are facing demographic, economic and technological challenges, as 12% of consumers are moving to urban areas annually, according to a study, titled: Digital Malls: The Next Generation of Self-Service Shopping, by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). Additionally, 8% of retail sales have transitioned to e-Commerce channels and high levels of unemployment continues to dampen consumer spending.
To combat these challenges, the study pointed to three technology-enabled, self-service retail trends that hold promise: innovative vending machines, micro-markets and virtual stores. Though developing individually, when combined they could create a new retail business model ― the “Digital Mall” ― a vision estimated at $7 billion, according to Cisco IBSG. Characteristics of the model include high interactivity, low labor and target locations in densely populated areas such as airports, large offices, resorts, stadiums and universities.Read more: Help Yourself: Digital Malls Represent A $7 Billion Opportunity