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Experiential Retailers Reinvent Today’s Shopping Centers



Not long ago when you visited your local mall or shopping center your choices were limited. There may have been an anchor store or two, several smaller shops with assorted goods and services and a few choice restaurants. If you were lucky, a movie theater provided an opportunity for some added enjoyment.

Although that was the accepted norm for many decades, the rise of e-commerce, the decline of traditional department stores, and a shift towards a more minimalistic lifestyle in which experiences are favored over tangible items have forced today’s retail centers to undergo a major transformation in order to survive.

But what is it that consumers want, and how can commercial property owners and retailers respond?  Many consumers regardless of their age have a “live, work, play” mindset. Rather than compartmentalizing activities, they are looking to create a blend of experiences that are not just fun, but memorable.

Shopping center owners are recognizing a shift in tenancy in their own centers and are leveraging their marketing efforts to attract customers for these entertainment or experiential retailers and the center as a whole.  They are showcasing through their marketing efforts that these centers meet the needs of the live, work, play mentality.

Although movie theaters, which have long been associated with malls and retail centers, continue to draw crowds, many different types of experiential retailers now have been added to the mix.  Arcades, trampoline centers, climbing walls, children’s play areas, mini golf courses, mystery game breakout rooms and more are giving consumers a variety of entertainment options and a reason to return to the retail center time and again.

Experiential retailers offer an added bonus to commercial properties. Consumers who visit the experiential retailer are likely to explore adjacent stores. They remain longer on the premises, increasing foot traffic and potential sales, and adding to a thriving retail center.

Of course, savvy commercial real estate owners realize that securing the right experiential tenant for their space is only the first step. They must also adjust their marketing efforts to reflect that their shopping centers are now key experiential destinations, catering to a wide range of demographic groups and their interests. A combination of creative digital and traditional marketing campaigns can stimulate interest and help increase foot traffic throughout the center.

Shopping centers and malls that embrace experiential/entertainment retailers are better positioned to succeed in today’s ever-evolving marketplace. Consumers who see your retail center as a preferred destination and value their experiences there will be more inclined to share that news with others and become repeat visitors.

Corporate Property Dispositions, a leading real estate advisory firm founded in 2003, works in partnership with companies to divest their surplus commercial properties. With over 200 years of combined real estate experience, our skilled professionals provide clients with the knowledge, key information, and guidance needed to make informed decisions regarding their real estate portfolio. Our strategic counsel and results-driven approach convert our clients’ potential property value into delivered value.

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