Mobile Malls - Digital Destinations of the (not too distant) Future
If there's one irresistible force of globalization it must be the growing swell of shopping malls. As consumers in the emerging world take wing, bigger and shinier is seen as better. With many of the world's largest malls now opening for business in China, India, Malaysia and elsewhere, we are witnessing a "malling of the world" at an unprecedented scale. Teen hangout or shopping mecca, multiplex haven or anchor store-ville, malls mean different things to different people--yet with an astonishing sameness around the world. Like them or dislike them, malls with their in-your-face consumerism and frustrating staggered escalators are here to stay.
Mash up the mall phenomenon and the mobile device (phone or pad of your choosing) with applications, brands, and even merchandise and some really interesting possibilities begin to emerge. Just as physical mall operators provide real estate, HVAC and utilities to retailers and brands who set up shop, mobile malls will offer brands and retailers the ability to reach out to consumers, create their own branded retailing zones, and offer a safe and secure shopping experience to consumers.
And who knows, this may even turn out to be the teen hangout of the future, where social applications converge on brands, each vying for the attentions of their target digital consumer.
Far fetched, you say? Not *that* far. Many of the business models and technology platforms are already in place. What we're talking about are new ways of assembling ecosystems around user behaviors, devices and services. App store today, mobile mall with brand zones tomorrow.