The developers of a new mall in Qatar knew that they were up against stiff competition.
Shoppers are moving in droves to do more online shopping. It’s fast. The shipping is often free and right to your door. Retail bricks-and-mortar enterprises cannot compete with online prices as they have to cover rent, overhead, stock and more staff. In addition, shoppers who used to love to stroll indoor malls and enjoy the air-conditioned comfort are opting instead for quick and convenient big box stores and ecommerce opportunities.
How to lure them back to retail shopping experiences? Add some entertainment of course! And Qatar’s $825 million-dollar facility has done just that. Among its draws are a digital Formula One race track, Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics and an Angry Birds activity park. The new mall is expected to open next year.
The Mall of Qatar ‘s developers are hoping that their shopping center located at Al Rayyan adjacent to Education City will be able to take a bite of the shopping dollars from the already full retail offerings of Doha. The fact that they will be successful is not a given. Commercial realtors have warned that Qatar is already over supplied with retail shopping spaces. Other malls are planned for Festival City and Gulf Mall. This will add to existing shopping malls atVillaggio and City Center malls.
Shem Krey, deputy managing director of the soon-to-be-constructed Mall of Qatar, is not worried. He believes the new younger shoppers will see value in shopping centers that are fun, entertaining shopping experiences.
The new concept is sort of Epcot Centre meets The Mall of America or Dollywood weds Birch Run. Will it work? Are shoppers now in love with the speed, savings, and convenience of ecommerce likely to return to bricks-and-mortar shopping?Will digital age kids who can have virtual race car and roller coaster experiences online pay admission to have real-time experiences?Time will tell.
9 JUNE 2014, United Arab Emirates