The Strategies Suburban Regional Shopping Malls have Adopted to Compete with Online Malls


Marketing strategies may impact a business positively or negatively, determining its failure or success. Additionally, marketing strategies consider several elements in a business setting, such as the most critical emerging trends affecting consumer purchasing decisions and behavior. While the advancements in technology have resulted in a surge in e-commerce, causing a decline in traditional visits to malls or convenience stores, suburban regional shopping malls are not invincible to emerging retail habits and consumer behavior trends.

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Notably, suburban regional shopping malls have enacted strategic changes such as renovating and introducing zonal merchandising and entertainment to mitigate emerging challenges. According to Iarocci (2018), a decline in traditional retailing practices has adversely affected department anchor stores in suburban regional shopping malls. However, suburban regional shopping malls’ performance continues to decline despite the strategic changes. While suburban regional shopping centers have contributed to economic development, challenges such as competition and shopping behavior changes continue to persist, prompting the identification of new retail concepts that will improve performance and increase adaptability to emerging trends.

Lake Forest Mall Solutions to Reduced Performance

Lake Forest Mall in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was developed in 1978 as a suburban regional shopping mall. Initially, the store had four significant anchors; JCPenney, Sears, Lord and Taylor, and Macy’s. However, the recent decline in the suburban shopping mall led to the closure of three anchors in 2019; JCPenney, Sears, and Lord and Taylor leaving Macy’s as the only anchor. Lake Forest shopping Mall’s performance has declined due to changing consumer behavior and increased competition in the retail market.

Changing Consumer Behavior

Primarily, consumer behavior has evolved due to advancements in technology and the introduction of e-commerce. Notably, keeping track of changes in consumer behavior enables a business to meet customer needs, choices, and preferences (Vatamanescu et al., 2017). Consumer behavior influences purchasing decisions that impact businesses positively or negatively, depending on the company’s marketing strategies. Lake Forest Mall, similar to other suburban regional shopping malls, has declined in performance because of increased demand for a multi-channel purchasing experience. In the past decades, the improvements in comprehensive services and reduced shipping time in online purchases caused an upsurge in e-commerce. Customers keep shifting from traditional in-store purchases to online purchases depending on the urgency and needs. Therefore, Lake Forest Mall should incorporate e-commerce channels like websites for the anchor and other stores to ensure customers enjoy a multi-channel purchasing experience.

Increased Competition from Brand Retail Establishments

Additionally, the upcoming retail shops for major brands increase competition. The new retail shops offer subsidized prices for their products because they avoid using middle people, who increase costs. Conversely, the Lake Forest shopping mall anchor shops and other business outlets engage middle people’s services to acquire products. The product prices are higher than a brand’s retail shop. Introducing brand retail shops as part of anchor tenants will enhance the performance of Lake Forest Mall.

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Shopping Trends in the Next Ten Years and Their Implications on Suburban Regional shopping malls

Omni-channel Shopping Approach

The recent shift to e-commerce due to the Covid-19 pandemic increased online shopping by a considerable percentage. According to Shi et al. (2020), an omnichannel customer experience is a trend likely to gather steam in the next ten years. Businesses had to roll out new technologies and services to meet the demand. The significant areas of consideration in e-commerce are omnichannel customer experience, e-commerce optimization, and increasing delivery satisfaction (Shi et al., 2020). The omnichannel development will shape and impact retail shops because it meets the needs of an evolved customer base by providing in-store pick-up options, online service delivery, and shops. Essentially, omnichannel provides the customer with unified and seamless physical and digital channels for shopping.

The Suburban regional shopping malls already feel the impact of an omnichannel approach, indicated by their declining performance. The suburban regional malls were developed to provide customers with a physical shopping experience, and most business outlets in the establishments have not invested in the current technology. Therefore, increased omnichannel utilization in retailing will lead to a further performance decline unless the suburban regional shopping malls transform and embrace the newly created digital spaces.

Flexible Payment Options

The growth of e-commerce has led to flexible payment methods to promote customer satisfaction. Most businesses are moving from rigid payment options to a buy now, pay later option, which encourages impulse purchase (Pham et al., 2018). Moreover, the development of digital payment companies has increased payment options from the traditional pay-on-purchase method that required visiting physical shops. As earlier stated, consumer needs, choices, and preferences are vital in the success or failure of a business. Therefore, providing various payment options will increase traffic and expand the customer base.

According to the structure of suburban regional shopping malls, the most suitable payment option is a pay-on-purchase approach. Moreover, the lack of digital shops prevents shops from engaging customers and providing several payment options. The continued growth of payment options may impede progress and derail development in suburban regional shopping malls. Also, customers are likely to shift to other business centers with flexible payments option leading to the closure of anchor tenants and other business outlets in the suburban regional shopping malls.

Emerging Retail Concepts and Strategies for Learning the Emerging Concepts

The Convergence of Traditional Omni-channel and New Retail

In essence, online stores allow customers to incorporate technology into the shopping experience, while physical shops provide traditional in-person purchases. Perrault, Cannon, and McCarthy (2021) illustrated that the development of e-commerce has led to a strategic move by retailers to integrate offline and online shopping experiences. The new concept in retail entails the integration of offline, online, logistics, and data to enhance customer experience. The new model prompted various brands to shift from a single channel to a multi-channel and omnichannel, which provides avenues for customer interaction.

Marketing research is an effective strategy for learning about new retail concepts. Information is a driving force behind development, and research provides a way to gain valuable evidence-based information (Perrault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2021). Businesses thrive in new markets and challenging environments because of informed strategic decisions. A business must research emerging trends, competition, and new business approaches. Also, acquiring information on customer needs, choices, and experience is critical in implementing marketing strategies. Therefore, learning about new concepts in retail is best done through research.


Overall, marketing strategies are essential for the growth of a company. In the modern economic market, there exist different challenges facing business entities’ performance. For instance, the suburban regional shopping malls have experienced a declined performance due to competition from developed brand shops and the upsurge of e-commerce in place of brick-and-mortar establishments. The challenges adversely affect performance and thus need a prompt and immediate solution. E-commerce has impacted consumer buying behavior, leading to regional shopping malls’ closure or decline. Embracing technology and integrating traditional and emerging purchasing preferences can mitigate the adverse effect on businesses. Additionally, marketing research ensures that retailers remain updated on emerging trends and implement strategies aligned with emerging consumer needs.



Iarocci, L. (2018). Reviews: From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store. Journal of American Studies, 52(2). https//:doi.10.1017/S002187581800023

Pham, Q. T., Tran, X. P., Misra, S., Maskeliūnas, R., & Damaševičius, R. (2018). Relationship between Convenience, Perceived Value, and Repurchase Intention in Online Shopping in Vietnam. Sustainability, 10(1), 156.

Perreault, W. D. Jr., Cannon, J. P., & McCarthy, E. J. (2021). Instructor’s Manual to Accompany Essentials of Marketing: A Marketing Strategy Planning Approach. 17th edition. McGraw-Hill.

Shi, S., Wang, Y., Chen, X., & Zhang, Q. (2020). Conceptualization of Omnichannel Customer Experience and its Impact on Shopping Intention: A Mixed-Method Approach. International Journal of Information Management, 50, 325-336.

Vatamanescu, E. M., Nistoreanu, B. G., & Mitan, A. (2017). Competition and Consumer Behavior in the Context of the Digital Economy. Amfiteatru Economic, 19(45), 354.

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