Droves of shopping malls worldwide are closing down, while online retailers are increasing dramatically, according to CNN. BYU-Hawaii online shoppers said their shopping preferences have shifted to online shopping over time due to convenience and ability to browse on a budget.
January Yeung, a senior from Hong Kong majoring in hospitality and tourism management, commented, “A satisfying shopping experience means there is sufficient information for me to understand and review products online, and the check-out process is simple, but secure. Products also have to be delivered in a timely manner when free return is available.”
Isabella Bigley, a junior from California majoring in peace building, shared, “It’s most pleasant when the website makes sense and flows with your purchase. Also, you can move easily step by step from check-in to check-out knowing when it will arrive and if you can return it for free. Then, once you purchase it, you can still have a stress-free experience while it is coming to you.”
According to CNN, online shopping companies are taking over and lots of anchor tenants have withdrawn themselves from malls. Experts also predicted the possibility of having around a quarter of American malls closing down in the next five years.
Though online shopping has intervened, Tom McGee, CEO of the International Center of Shopping Centers, said the occupancy rates of department stores are still healthy.
Yeung said she is still part of the department store market because she doesn’t shop for clothes online. “I usually online shop for books and gifts, but not clothes because I like to try on clothes and touch the textures before I purchase them.”
Bigley said she doesn’t think department stores will be replaced by online stores, even though online stores do provide easier access for shoppers. “I think they just provide different experiences. I would rather go and spend time looking through racks and trying on clothes than scrolling through website pages.”
Kammy Hou, a sophomore from Taiwan majoring in hospitality and tourism management, described herself as a “crazy” online shopper because she shops online at least once a month. “Most of the time I do online shopping because shopping malls are just so far from school.”
Bigley offered her tips on how to be a smart shopper. “If you don’t have a time constraint, but it’s out of your budget, wait for the sales, but then don’t get cold feet when there are sales. Just go for it,” she said with enthusiasm.
She continued, “Also, look up all your possible options. This caused me to even make new accounts on websites like Poshmark and Etsy. If the price is really your best interest, then usually it’s possible to find other sites to buy the same product online, but it takes time and thorough investigation.”
Hou said there are certain stores she likes to go to whether they are department stores or online stores. She said she prefers “Sephora, Ross, Zaful, and Romwe because they have many options and discounts, and [prices] are cheaper than other [stores].”
Considering herself a rational and patient online shopper, Bigley said details are important to her. Before purchasing things, she emphasized, “I do extensive research. I always find out how tall the models are and look at their body types to see if the clothing will fit me similarly or not.
“I read reviews from the website and other sources - good and bad ones. I look at what type of material it is and whether it’s been preshrunk. I’ll look through different pictures as well, especially if I want a certain color, just to make sure it’s the one I want. Sometimes I’ll even message the company and ask when I can’t find the answer.
For more information on how online shopping companies are taking over malls: http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/12/news/companies/mall-closing/index.html