Making Retail Simpler or more Complex for an Extreme Experience
Retailers have spent a good many hours and dollars trying to simplify the shopping experience for consumers. But what if they went the other way, and made it not more difficult, but more of an experience, and therefore, less simplistic? That’s what one industry analyst suggested in a recent article posted on the UK website, MarketingWeek.com. Tom Goodwin, executive vice-president and head of innovation at Zenith USA, points out the simplicity factor that websites offer consumers takes all the fun and “experience” out of shopping and he’s encouraging brands move the other direction, to stay competitive and offer a shopping alternative that is desirable. “Even the most ardent M&M’s fan doesn’t believe the 25,000 sq ft of M&M’s World in Times Square, New York is there to satiate the cravings of New Yorkers for chocolate at 11:45pm. Like all flagship stores M&M’s World is there to impart an experience. It’s shopping to be remembered, it’s a journey of discovery, it’s memorable, it’s there to take time and savour. It’s the opposite of buying,” Goodwin said.
Location, Location, Location
Is it cliché to recall that most famous of all real estate expressions when it comes to success in retail? Whether it is or not matters not, because location is that important when it comes to success in retail. In a recent article for BizJournals.com, Esri’s Alexander Martonik, part of the commercial business development team (Esri is a Directory of Major Malls/ShoppingCenters.com partner), touted advances in software for assisting retailers in finding suitable locations for their stores, particularly in downtown areas that have been seeing lifestyle centers sprout up primarily in suburban locations. “With advanced spatial analytics, these developers can provide local consumer bases with custom tailored shopping experiences that fix their particular needs,” Martonik said.
You Say You Want an Evolution? We All Want to Change the World
With apologies to The Beatles, malls are starting to evolve so fast it’s seeming more like a revolution than an evolution. Just recently, we discovered three examples around the country – Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Los Angeles –that are experiencing some optimism and looking for some radical changes in their retail shopping landscape. In Pittsburgh, developers are facing those challenges head-on. “[Simon’s] Ross Park [Mall] offers shoppers a total experience, like more food and dining options, kiosks that offer daily rewards like gift cards and soft chair lounge areas with smartphone charging stations. Things online shopping can’t provide to customers.” In the home of the reigning NBA champions (Cleveland, in case you needed the reminder), one developer “envisions aging malls as potential community gathering places that go well beyond big-box retail.” And out west in Los Angeles, while a good portion of this article dwells upon the things that went wrong with malls over the past 65 years, the analysis is that they can do things right, with the proper planning. “Rather than prohibit regional shopping centers as a land use, policies and regulations on the design and location of new or expanded regional malls are needed in order to improve the quality of the built environment in Los Angeles and avoid their harmful impacts.”
ShoppingCenters.com’s RealSite™ Trade Areas
If you haven’t had the chance to check out our mobile device data-driven, RealSite™ Trade Areas dataset for analyzing property boundaries and proximity studies, now’s the time! RealSite™, developed in partnership with UberRetail’s mobile location data and the geospatial expertise of B.I. Spatial, is our analysis and retail consumer activity-tracking product. With it, we can identify patronage patterns, determine likely residential locations, create polygon trade areas representing actual visitors to the center and analyze top consumer segmentation profiles. For more information, click here.