Photo Courtesy; American Dream
It’s not true that physical retail is dying. But it is true that retail has changed.
People don’t buy clothing and consumer goods like they used to. The internet and purchasing convenience (cough cough - Amazon) has caused a shift in the process - and consumers want and need different things.
Companies need to be aware of this change. Most importantly, they need to make the change, too. Proof is in the retail pudding. Consider Target, for example. According to Yahoo News, Target’s stock is at an ‘all-time high.’ Why? Beyond the quality of brand, Target creates a space people want to be in – experiencing constant remodels for a more pleasant consumer experience (i.e. new lights, fresh floors, updated grocery, music). Target has also considered the importance of “going small” by adding “mini” locations on college campuses and urban areas. To compete with Amazon, Target added “ship-to-store” options. And the retail chain is always reinventing its private label brands to fill the gaps left by big companies that didn’t make the effort, like Sports Authority and Toys “R” Us.
So, when we think about what malls are doing to thrive, would “getting even bigger” surprise you?
Initially, yes. But what if we said malls are thriving because of the experiences they keep?
The American Dream, the newest mega mall that just opened in New Jersey believes in the quality of experience. According to Forbes, it’s the next step in the evolution of retail. More than $5 billion dollars of investments (and two bankruptcies) went into the first stage of creating the American Dream mall. The twist? 55% of the 5-billion-dollar space is allocated purely to entertainment. Only 45% is devoted to retail.
Photo Courtesy: American Dream
What does this burst of experiential savviness prove? People crave opportunities to make memories. Consumers want to share their story - whether it's online to the masses or with their friends. The physical spaces within retail are quickly realizing that their audiences are driven into stores not because of material items to buy but for the feeling the experience gives them. They want to have a fun exploration and an adventure to take home. There’s no turning back for malls now. In the future, retail will all be about moments spent. Even more importantly, the American Dream mall doesn't only want to attract the locals. They want this place to become a major attraction for New York-area tourists. The story needs to be shared across the world.