What are Customers Needing – Maybe Demanding – Shopping Centers to Become?

October 9th, 2020

By Jennifer Peterson

Pre-pandemic, the shopping center industry was going through a massive transformation. Now, it has only been accelerated with the shutdown/quarantine and post restart, impacting every sector and retail center in America.

Both merchants and customers are expecting and demanding more, with safety precautions at the top of the list. Additionally, new and innovative services are also in demand, making the consumer experience more convenient, enjoyable and meaningful.

Similar to department stores when they first opened in the mid 1950s, and experiential services were the de rigueur, offerings included apothecaries, upscale restaurants, sun lounges, fashion styling, shoe shine stations, libraries and gymnasiums.

The experiences customers want today are services like same-day product delivery, package valet, personal shopping and gifting, and a VIP Club membership–all free of charge. Another popular request is a tech center where kids can quickly connect to their virtual classes while their parents remotely work nearby.

Even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Columbus-based Easton Town Center continues to host over 400K guests each week—and that number continues to grow. Imagine having a curbside pick-up hub, reserved parking, a car wash while you valet park, free gift wrapping or a complementary personal styling experience complete with on-site tailoring services.

These are just a few of the ways a retail center can upgrade the guest experience, provide a beneficial service or luxury convenience, and foster feelings of positivity, safety and community within the area.

While we are all trying to do our part to promote health and safety, we should also strive to think about the emotional guest experience in our solutions. That way, we create a better outcome for all.

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