The Rise of Shopping Malls In Ghana: The Missing Consumer Experience

Overall, Ghanaian shopping malls measure up fairly well, however we believe that the malls in Ghana miss a trick when it comes to the total sensorial experience that Malls in Africa need to provide. In an age where malls and their tenants need to fight more than ever to drive and retain traffic in their real estate, shoppers need to be presented with a complete sensorial experience.
Times are changing in Ghana and Shopping malls are changing with them and in the process are serving as a sort of a customer experience. In Ghana, It used to be that malls were simply warehouses for a variety of stores, a typical example being the MAKOLA SHOPPING MALL in Accra; their main attraction was convenience.
The major modern shopping malls in Ghana currently includes the Accra Mall, Marina Mall, Melcom Malls, Palace Malls, West Hills Mall, A & C Mall, and Oxford Street Malls.
Our study on shopping malls in Ghana disclosed that these shopping centers basically have nothing new or unique about them and there are too many stores that carry the same products and this has denied a lot of shoppers in Ghana of having a Shopping Experience.
Shopping Malls in Ghana lack the Shopping Experience Factor
A survey conducted by Goodman AMC at the Accra Mall and Marina Mall revealed that on a busy day at these malls; for instance on holidays, 68% of shoppers are normally overcrowded at the food courts and the cinemas with 16% of individuals doing window shopping. Only 11% of shoppers; normally tourist/expatriates were making actual purchases from luxury shops and 5% of the shoppers who were Ghanaians were also recorded making actual purchases from luxury shops.
This study revealed that, the purchasing power of Ghanaians has just only begun to rise and that the average person in Ghana visits the mall not to make luxury or retail purchases but to enjoy themselves.
We therefore recommend that, Shopping Malls in Ghana should therefore provide more shops that offer entertainment to Ghanaians. You will realize that most shops in Ghana’s major shopping malls in no time close down due to low patronage, causing a big loss to mall and shop owners. This happens because the basic needs of the Ghanaian shopper is not being met by our shopping malls.
How to create an Experience for Shopping Mall Visitors in Ghana
Our study also showed that Accra Mall has devoted 85% of its shops to retail while Marina Mall has also allocated 80% of its shops to retail;
Take note, the average Ghanaian middle class consumer will prefer to make all their retail shopping from smaller local shops in the market where they can get similar products at far cheaper rates and this is the actual mindset of most Ghanaian consumers.
Our recommendations revealed that, Shopping Malls in Ghana focusing mainly on retail only make them less attractive to the average Ghanaian consumer.
How Shopping Malls can Give Customers an Experience
In order to get the average Ghanaian to buy from shopping malls, mall owners have to get them there, and the entertainment coefficient in a mall is something that builds traffic -pure and simple. Therefore, shopping at any mall in Ghana should offer a diverse experience that the smaller shopping centers in the local markets can’t offer; more entertainment platforms and recreational activities should be incorporated within the experience.
Food court and cinemas and other innovative shops which offer experiences like gaming arcades, high tech-cinemas and indoor children’s playgrounds should be the main priorities of shopping malls in Ghana, for instance many malls in the USA have Flight Simulation Centers, LEGO Centers for kids, Adventure Golf Centers, A House of Comedy, very huge 9d Cinemas etc.
Indoor playgrounds for instance will generate substantial non-peak-time weekday business since homemakers are always in search of locations they can visit while their children play nearby. Food courts are also great locations for meeting with family and friends, with a food selection better than that of individual local fast food restaurants so that each time the average Ghanaian visits the mall there will be a high probability he/she will make some other purchases.
The variety of food courts and restaurants should therefore be increased in Ghanaian shopping malls to target different markets including the price conscious low class and middle class Ghanaian, children, tourists/expatriates. Some restaurants should be first choices when customers consider celebrations, receptions, meetings, and business events.
Shopping Malls in Ghana should therefore devote about 60% or more of their offerings to entertainment, restaurants, cinemas and other unique family opportunities that will give Ghanaian consumers a befitting shopping experience, this will ensure their competitiveness in the changing retail landscape.
The basic strategy for Shopping Malls in Ghana is that they should do more than just sell stuff so that they offer the necessary experience to Ghanaians by virtue of its strategic selection of shops.

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