This evening the UK’s first online shopping mall goes live, with more than 250 fashion retailers to choose from. Casobi.com has rounded up some of the best names in independent fashion such as Bench, Converse, Diesel, Guess, Gucci, Paul Smith and Puma and arranged them in the familiar form of a shopping centre.

Casobi.com is supporting independent retailers, but offering both upmarket designer labels alongside smaller, up and coming brands. The site aims to add new retailers constantly and shoppers can pop in and out of all the stores with just one shopping basket.

There’s no doubt online shopping is a growing phenomena with new sites launching all the time. Online sales figures are also on the increase and retailers expect this Christmas to be another bumper year for internet shopping.

Yet, while most retailers seem to have either made good inroads into their online operation or else have investment plans in place, the property industry has been slow to accept that online shopping is here to stay.

Property is a traditional industry and slow to change, but it can also be accused of being slightly arrogant. Some property veterans find it impossible to comprehend that shoppers would choose the internet over bricks and mortar, let alone the idea that some retailers will exist purely online in the future.

The concept of an online shopping mall should be a wake up call to the property industry. Previously, retailers have launched their own online offers and have had varying success – some do better than the retailer’s top performing store and others have been slow to take off. But the idea of a shopping mall represents a new stage in internet shopping.

An online shopping mall will give choice and convenience. No more fighting for parking spaces, no more busy shops and no more tired feet.

It’s an interesting proposition and, while Casobi.com is predominantly interested in independent retailers, there is no reason to think that a standard shopping mall with the likes of H&M, Next, River Island, Topshop and New Look, will not work too.

An online shopping mall need not be competitive to bricks and mortar but the property industry needs to embrace new ideas in order to stay ahead of the game.

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