Building Consumer Experiences in Enclosed Malls
With store closings becoming more frequent, how can enclosed malls get more people into their stores?
M+A project manager, Jessica Neal, provides design insight in her article recently published in Chain Store Age. Supporting the local area, engaging the creative community, focusing on fitness, using technology, and creating residential opportunities, are all ideas for building consumer experiences in enclosed malls.
Neal states that, "a shopping center's surrounding community is invaluable." Owners could host a farmer's market or offer space to local, boutique stores. This not only increases the mall's visibility and reach, but helps the mall resonate to Millennials.
Owners can also leverage the creative community. Turning store vacancies into gallery or studio space could be an interesting way to generate community buzz. Shoppers would get a glimpse at the creative process, while owners get artistic tenants.
With some major retailers offering physical fitness and other workshops within their retail environment, owners can embrace health and wellness. Neal points out notable examples such as, REI giving gear tutorials in its space and Lululemon hosting yoga sessions.
And while there's no question that technology plays a role in retail experiences, Neal recommends that owners take it a step further and offer incubator space for entrepreneurs. Not only will local business owners enjoy having space to work and innovate, but they'll have an mall shoppers to test their products.
Lastly, mixed use environments are on the rise; folks now want a walkable environment to live, work, and play. Owners can create this environment by transforming an empty anchor space into a residential development. Neal reminds struggling malls to revisit the market demographics of the area. If demographics are strong, it may be time to "re-think and re-market their square footage."
by MEGAN GROOMS
Megan graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in strategic communication and a minor in professional writing. When she's not working on marketing-related tasks, you'll likely find Megan at a concert or outside with her fur babies (dogs).