Westfield launches virtual shopping mall

Over the past few weeks the Australian media has been following closely over the past weeks the push from prominent goods retailers to lobby the government to ban tax-free online shopping in Australia, which has seen a significant public backlash against the retailers.

This week, Westfield announced the launch of a new ‘virtual mall’, grouping its “bricks and mortar” tenants into a one-stop website, where customers can purchase goods and services from any of the stores within the Westfield complexes.

As online shopping habits increase, seeing 83% of Australians beginning to substitute some form of online shopping for the retail experience, we may see over time an impact on parking demand due to decreased numbers of customers physically traveling to the shops.

As shopping and consumption habits are affected by online alternatives, the role of the retail centres will need to remain relevant and responsive to consumer needs; and, as a result, continue to drive strong demand for their services and goods (including parking!). With the introduction of technologies such as Parking Guidance Systems, retailers and operators have already made a first step in improving the parking and retail experience for their customers (as well as aim to improve occupancy and turnover). They will constantly need to improve and optimise their services as consumer preferences shift and technology advances.

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