Obviously, we’re not going to enter an era when every mall has to be like American Dream. People still love to shop, to wander through stores, to look for bargains or something unusual, and they will still make a trip to do just that.
That said, the emphasis on entertainment at American Dream is relevant to every retail channel. Even the most traditional shopping center needs to consider the total customer experience. When faced with a choice between a destination that offers a chance to combine shopping with dining, a personal care appointment, or some kind of entertainment option, versus a destination that is almost exclusively stores, most people will choose the experience that goes beyond merely purchasing goods.
Of course, not every shopping experience is a mall. But even a stand-alone store should consider the experience it provides, and suppliers should think about how any environment will impact the sales of its products. A small brick-and-mortar location may not be able to tout a water park and a roller coaster but it can consider how customers will interact with the goods it carries. Are shoppers able to see everything easily? Are there ways to demo products? Can employees provide interactive presentations in the store? Are fitting rooms inviting and comfortable? Every square foot of a store should enhance the buyer experience.
And what about that eCommerce site? Is it as engaging as it should be? Does it offer videos that give customers a better sense of the product? Are there detailed item specifications that give buyers added confidence and make them more likely to click on the BUY button? While online channels may not be physical and able to provide touch or live human interaction, they do need to deliver the kind of experience that makes shoppers enthusiastic.
Suppliers should also think about how they can make their products part of an enhanced environment. Are there inventive merchandising solutions? Can you build touch or sound into displays? Does your packaging communicate the right messages about your product? Today’s shopper is more knowledgeable and has greater access to information than ever before. They are also demanding and impatient — a site that is slow will drag down sales.