Entertainment in Shopping Centres: Maximizing shopping experience

To increase footfall and boost sales, retailers have always needed to tap into consumers’ preferences and adapt to their needs. The changes in shopping behavior have revolutionized the retail industry which led to the integration of new trends and the adjustment of traditional offers. Customers these days are not focused exclusively on pushing a shopping cart through the abounding aisles. They want to linger and enjoy a personalized shopping experience in which entertainment opportunities gain high priority.

A visit to the mall means meeting in a vibrant, multifunctional complex which can include multiplex cinemas, dramatic theater performances, fine dining, and any games you can enjoy with friends and family. Customers expect more than being sold to and perceive the time spent in shopping centres as a major leisure activity. Moreover, shopping and entertainment centres have a competitive advantage when compared to online retail options. This is highlighted not only by helpful sales assistants but also by the possibility to share the customized shopping and leisure experience with others.
For retailers and shopping mall owners, including entertainment options is synonymous to individuality and delivering the wow factor.
To shop or not to shop
Ancient Greece is the birth place of theater and the first stage for the world famous dramas, tragedies, comedies, and satyr plays. However, the performing arts can nowadays also be viewed in shopping centres, although the stages may be different than the original open-air amphitheater. One of the shopping and entertainment centres which offers the possibility of a ‘cultural night out’ is Cevahir Mall located in Istanbul.
Considered Turkey’s most entertaining shopping mall and one of the largest in Europe, Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment Center welcomes about 45,000 visitors a day since its inception in 2005. The well-known mall, spreading over 420,000 m², includes options like fine dining, bowling, arcade games, and movie watching in one of the 12 cinema halls.

©buzzARD525Shopping on a full stomach
Food and beverages retail has been a fast growing sector and the trend of including options such as fine restaurant and fast food units and creating a shopping centre food court, has expanded throughout the market. The increasing number of restaurants and cafes can induce the ‘feel-good’ mood and influence shoppers’ buying behavior.
If shopping is more likely to happen on a full stomach, the Trafford Centre is one of the shopping and entertainment centres to offer one of the most diverse culinary experiences. Located in the Greater Manchester area, it is the second largest mall in the United Kingdom in terms of GLA 180,100 m². One of the most attractive features for the mall opened in September 1998 is The Orient food court; Europe’s largest with a capacity of 1600 seats.
Snowflakes and shopping bags
Including an indoor ski area in a city with hot desert climate highlights a great contrast, including snowy slopes inside a shopping mall is truly special. An indoor mountain may not offer the same thrilling panoramas but the low-temperature entertainment can still be assured. Opened in November 2005, Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates brings the winter season side-by-side to the shopping experience. Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, features a 85-meter high artificial mountain with five slopes. The adjoining Snow Park area includes attractions such as an ice cave, toboggan runs, and even penguin encounters.
Leaving the snowflakes for a summery shopping session, the Mall of the Emirates (2,400,000 m²) offers a great variety of brands in more than 700 stores. Other entertainment features include a theater and arts center, 14 multi-screen cinemas, more than 90 international restaurants and cafes, and other games/amusement machines designed for the entire family.
shutterstock_174305678Shopping can be educational
A trip to the museum does not follow the same path as one to the shopping mall, or does it? The combination between shopping and educational venues evolved after the global recession and is expected to create extra footfall.
Hosting the Rock and Roll museum and reminiscent of the times when the matadors entertained the audience in the traditional spectacle of bullfighting, Arenas de Barcelona is one great example of a mall museum. Spreading over 106,250 m², the mall opened in March 2011 and aims to combine a landmark site with the physical retail stores. One of its main attractions, the museum of Rock and Roll, features four main exhibitions and 500 pieces from the Barcelona Private Rock Music Museum Foundation.
The traditional shopping centre is gradually being replaced by a multifunctional space where entertainment is highly appreciated. The leisure component is giving shoppers additional reasons to spend time in the shopping centres and enjoy the personalized experience retailers welcome them with. Surely to develop in the future, the trend encourages shopping decisions and offers options not available with online retailing.

The full article is in the Retail Space Europe 2015 reference book. Purchase the book in the

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