Experiences. This is a catch phrase that is getting a lot of attention. She is spending on experiences. The store needs to be experiential. Restaurants offer an experience. All True. What is new in the mall that offers and experience?
Virtual Reality: Readers of this report know we are moderately obsessed with AR and VR (augmented and virtual reality). We can see how in time it is going to change everything from how we buy homes to how we buys cars, dresses and appliances. We also believe it is going to forever change entertainment. Think IMAX on steroids. Those of you who have been to Disney (Orlando) may have experienced Honey I Shrunk the Audience or Toy Story Mania. If so you will understand the appeal of Deep XP Turbo Ride. Already in a few malls this is where you will find the kids. With a range of videos to watch this concept brings a little taste of the amusement park to your local mall. Maybe she will do some shopping after the ride or while waiting.
Video Games Come to Life: Along these same lines let us introduce you to 5 Wits. Unlike Deep XP in 5 Wits you are actually up and moving around. Think of this as a video game come to life and you are the avatar. Each self-contained space has several rooms and puzzles to solve and is fully immersive. Depending on how you solve the puzzles the experience will be different. Arrive sign in and wait (and shop ideally). These games are interactive, physical and for lovers of video games a real draw.
New Age Comic Book Stores: Think Geek, the Lego Stores all of these retailers offer what we believe is the new age of comic book shop. Someplace for “geeks” to safely let their Geek Flag fly. The Think Geek store (we visit the second one most of their business is online) is always busy and importantly the customers spend a very long time here just hanging around. With record stores and book stores mostly gone there is a void in the market for someplace for people to hang out while they are buying. It may not be as productive as other stores but they are always busy.
Physical Adventures: Wonder Works, a company based in Syracuse, has developed an indoor ropes and climbing adventure that can be housed in a mall. Again, while you wait your turn you can be shopping. The company also has 4D simulator rides and all sorts of science and learning based programs. However for a generation of kids growing up sitting and playing on computers this is a great way to get them moving.
Escape the Room: This entertainment trend has gained enough traction that a company, Mystery Room, is opening in malls. The typical scenario is guests are given 45 minutes to escape or solve the mystery. (Side note, The Big Bang Theory did a very funny episode on this whereas they solved the mystery in six minutes and were then bored.) Like many other new experiences Escape the room was originally based on a video game. The first real life escape the room places opened around 2008 in Japan. Today there are close to 3,000 globally. Key Quest, Mystery Room, The Great Escape room there are among the options in the U.S.