To enable customers to shop from the complete selection of multiple mall offerings and retrieve their purchases from one place, European mall operator Citycon is creating a buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) service. Citycon runs 40 shopping centers throughout Estonia and the Nordic nations, Bloomberg reported.
CEO F. Scott Ball said per the report that the addition of BOPIS offerings will provide consumers with a further rationale to travel to malls going forward. Ball said he doesn’t think that online shopping will “ever replace bricks and mortar.”
“At the end of the day people are still social beings, I don’t think you’ll see online becoming the primary way people shop,” Ball said, according to Bloomberg.
But Ball did note that eCommerce is “here to stay” and that “there’s a real opportunity for us to parlay this and become the last-mile delivery answer.”
Companies that own shopping centers are exploring different ways to harness their properties as merchants scale back and reap the rewards of increasing online shopping.
The news comes as a new online shopping platform emerging from the Alibaba Group in Southeast Asia is bringing a unique business model to facilities in the area, one that could offer a model for shopping destinations facing difficulty in the United States.
Lazada, a company owned by Alibaba, is spearheading the platform to bring shopping centers into a digital place. The solution is named LazMall, and it rolled out in the summer of 2018. The core Lazada business is focused on online shopping technology, which has been brought to LazMall.
Separately, PREIT (Philadelphia Real Estate Investment Trust) is putting together its first online shopping offering in what it said is a special way to engage shoppers from a multi-retail perspective. The sMALL Surprises curated box of items from different PREIT shopping center locations is a nod to boxes based on subscriptions.