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South Korean retailers are fighting the e-commerce onslaught with ‘malling’ strategy

Cornered by a low-price offensive from online sellers, South Korean retailers are striking back with a so-called ‘malling’ strategy.

‘Malling’ refers to all leisure activities at the mall, including shopping, dining, and watching movies or experiencing other forms of entertainment.

Retail stores are focusing on children. The logic is that if they create a space where children can play, it will motivate parents to come and be more willing to spend money.

Lotte Mall Suji, which opened in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province last Thursday, features South Korea’s very first indoor ice rink inside a shopping mall. The mall offers various leisure activities, including rock climbing, and 1100sqm kids park.

Shinsegae Premium Outlet in Paju, which reopened on Sunday following renovations, now has a 530sqm kids’ cafe and the region’s largest fashion zone for children.

South Korean retailers are also introducing a variety of attractions to draw in diverse groups of customers.

Starfield Bucheon has recently set up an academy for young mothers, offering programs for childcare as well as other courses for all adults on various hobbies and self-development.

Shinsegae Premium Outlet in Paju plans to come up with a more diverse set of interpretation services for foreigners. On top of Chinese and English, it plans to add Thai, Mongolian, and Tagalog to attract more customers.

Parking space is another critical factor for retail stores as they want customers to spend time at malls without having to worry about parking or other traffic needs. Lotte Mall Suji comes with a parking lot across basement floors 2 to 6 with a capacity to accommodate 1700 cars.

Starfield Bucheon has a parking lot stretching from basement floor 5 to the 9th floor above ground, capable of accommodating as many as 1900 cars.

Shinsegae Premium Outlet in Paju, located on the outskirts of the city that allows for a size much larger than Starfield Bucheon and Lotte Mall Suji, chose to focus on dining, doubling the number of restaurants to accommodate many popular cuisines.

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