Everyone needs to go shopping, but the ways in which people choose to shop have become very varied over the past few decades. The rise of internet shopping has seen shopping trips becoming less of a social activity and more of a solo sport, as we begin to do our shopping from the comfort of our own home, via the internet. But that doesn't have to be the case. A trip to a shopping village can still be a family day out, and just because you aren't in "the comfort of your own home" doesn't mean that you are not in a comfortable, friendly and welcoming environment.
Shopping villages are becoming more and more popular as people realize that they have far more character than the faceless shopping malls which have begun to dominate the shopping scene in recent years. Wherever you go, the malls seem to look the same, whereas all shopping villages have their own distinct character. There seems to be a universal design for shopping malls, with floor upon floor of shops, crammed into box spaces, bathed in the same, cold lighting, which will depress you after a time. Considering the impacts of globalization, once you are inside a mall, it can be almost impossible to even tell where in the world you are!
Shopping villages have a very different feeling to them than malls do. For instance, most of these "villages" have their shops arranged in proper streets, like shops in a traditional village. The shops themselves are often housed in individual buildings, or little rows of terraces. The style of building will actually differ, depending on where you go. Some of these shopping areas are new builds, which have been created in appealing, newly built marketing areas, whereas other "villages" have actually been adapted from old, disused areas, which have been specially tailored for this new purpose. Some shopping villages even feature shops in traditional, period buildings!
Like a real villages, these shopping spaces also exude far more of a sense of community than shopping malls do. The presence of independent shops and retailers mean that there is far more local character present in these areas. Shops and restaurants selling local products are situated in and amongst big name brands, meaning that it is possible to find everything you want, all in one place. Anyone who frequents shopping malls will know that independent shops are few and far between, and when they do exist, they are often only tucked into the extremities of the mall layout.
Many shopping villages are also home to a large number of factory outlet shops. This is why they are often referred to as outlet villages instead. Outlets are a great place to find the kind of bargains that you would normally only be able to pick up during the sale season or via internet sellers. They are therefore much better places to visit than shopping malls if you are looking for fantastic products at lower than average prices!