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Can Startups Help Shopping Malls?

The decline of shopping malls in recent years has been well documented, due in large part to the changing retail landscape.

Big box retailers such as Macy’s and JCPenney, are facing competition from discount retailers. This competition has led to a decrease in sales at traditional anchor stores for malls.

And on the other side, online shopping continues increase in popularity. After Black Friday 2015, a record $4.45 billion was spent online, according to research from Adobe. This represented a 14 percent increase from 2014.

During the same period of decline for malls, startups have been seemingly popping up everywhere. Every day a company is demonstrating a new approach to old processes.

Now, startups and shopping malls are converging.

Startups and Shopping Malls

One of the largest shopping mall operators, Westfield Corporation, recently announced its intention to partner with startups in the hopes of innovating the mall experience. One of the malls is located in San Francisco, a city that serves as a global epicenter for emerging tech companies.

According Recode, the startups will work with some mall anchors such as Macy’s.

One of the startups, Happy Returns, is trying to devise a process that would allow customers who bought an item online to head to the shopping mall to return it, if need be. As another example, The Wall Street Journal highlighted how Simon Property Group recently invested $20 million into 18 startups.

In the near future, Union Station, an online bridal dress rental service, may open up locations in malls owned by Simon Property Group. Investing in new ideas and businesses is one way malls can drive up interest.

Elsewhere, mall landlords are turning to technology firms for more behind the scenes work. In an era where shoppers can access information easily on their phones, malls are partnering with startups to improve the in-person shopping experience to help find sales, parking and more, The Journal highlighted.

Where Does Storage Fit?

When new tenants arrive to a mall, the space they occupy will likely need to be remodeled. In these instances, mobile storage containers can come in handy in multiple ways.

First, construction crews can utilize a smaller container to store tools and equipment, while new tenants can use the containers to store merchandise and other accessories. This way, there’s no need to travel back and forth to an off-site storage facility.

As malls continue to innovate, mobile storage containers can be used along the way.