Chinese malls try a creative new way of attracting shoppers

Global Business

Rising e-commerce in China is changing the way people shop which means less business for traditional retail centers. That leaves stores trying a new way to attract shoppers offline.
CCTV’s Lin Nan reported from Shanghai.

Chinese malls try a creative new way of attracting shoppers

Chinese malls try a creative new way of attracting shoppers

Rising e-commerce in China is changing the way people shop which means less business for traditional retail centers. That leaves stores trying a new way to attract shoppers offline. CCTV's Lin Nan reported from Shanghai.

The Shanghai K11 Art Mall was transformed from a traditional mall and reopened in 2013. Apart from the shopping areas, it provides a theatrical shopping experience to bridge commerce and art. There are sculptures and installments on different floors. Farming areas next to a juice bar, and an art space displaying exhibits throughout the year hope to excite shoppers out of their homes and into the spaces in the hopes they’ll buy goods.

“There is always some exhibition at K11 Art Mall. I take my kids here from time to time to get close to them,” a visitor said.

The effort has paid off. In 2014, a three-month special exhibition of the Master of Impressionism, Claude Monet, brought 350,000 visitors to the K11 Mall and boosted sales in the mall by 30 percent. Competition among shopping malls in Shanghai is getting more and more fierce, as additional newcomers join the game.

Shanghai’s Huaihai Road is one of the country’s most famous shopping streets. There are nine shopping malls, taking up less than one kilometer (0.62 mile) side by side, including anything from high-street bargains to high-end luxuries. That means they all need to work really hard to stand out from the crowd, and beat the online competition.

The Internet has hit the traditional retail industry badly in recent years, but it can actually help them instead of hurt them. The Shanghai NO.1 Yaohan Shopping Mall is the first joint-venture of its kind in China. Opened in 1995, it attracted over a million customers on the first day of opening and set a world record. The mall uses social media to catch up with customers nowadays.

“We opened two accounts on the social media app Wechat. One is to publish the sales information to attract customers, and the other is to interact with customers and provide them with a service guide. On Dec. 31th 2014, sales hit 712 million yuan ($113.8 million) on a single day, the highest record in 11 years,” Lin Ling, manager of NO.1 Yaohan Shopping Mall said.

As the business environment changes, shopping malls face big challenges from peers and e-commerce and only by catching up with customer’s needs will they be able to stay in the game.