ROLE IN SOCIETY
The past focus on selling goods has given way to a more social
setting. By effortlessly blending commerce and lifestyle needs,
retail spaces draw consumers for more than just transactions.
Some modern malls have even become vacation playgrounds.
ERNEST: Years ago, people went to a shopping mall to buy things.
It was engaging and fun, but it wasn’t pure entertainment. It was
looked at as pure shopping.
Today, it’s still social, but retail is no longer the sole objective. People don’t go to the mall only to shop. They go for so many
things—movies, food, a dentist appointment, a yoga class. It’s not
as consumption-driven, but more of a lifestyle event. And the experience within the store or the mall is dramatically different.
It’s the advent of the Internet. People are not going necessarily to
buy. The odds are ever increasing that they won’t buy on the spot.
Impulse purchasing is way down.
KEPRON: Despite incredible access to the Internet, people still
like going to the stores. Sixty to 70% still want to be buying goods
in a location where they connect to people. They want to be part
of a brand story and write themselves into the narrative. As they
become directly involved in crafting the story of how brand experience unfolds, it becomes more relevant.
FETZER: Brand and status are huge with the young adult crowd.
Specialty retailers such as Apple and Tiffany have taken full advantage of this, as have restaurants such as Starbucks and McDonald’s.
ERNEST: Some malls have even become vacation destinations.
Think of Canada’s West Edmonton Mall and Minnesota’s Mall
With the acceleration of technological advancements in recent
history, it’s no longer enough to set out products and open the
doors. Retailers are pairing inventory with interaction and using
data and devices to increase foot traffic and dwell time, heralding
an age when shopping is both Face Time and face-to-face.
FE TZER: Retailing is super sophisticated today due to the fantastic data collected by the Googles of the world. Retailers know they
must differentiate to draw customers.
KEPRON: As integration of technology increases in our lives, we
will reach a point of dynamic, continuous fluid change. An example
is Story in New York, where the entire store changes like a magazine
GERDEMAN: The Internet plays a major role in the way
Millennials shop. They’re influenced by the information available.
Staying connected is part of their lifestyle. At retail, technology
can’t be in your face and over-the-top, yet customers (especially
Millennials) expect engagement through digital and analog
We can achieve this by enhancing information for the consumer
in-store. Because of consumer preferences, we’re seeing fewer big
videowalls and more technology subtly embedded into the environ-
Recognizing the value of outdoor advertising at retail,
MDI Worldwide designed and manufactured the Wind-Master curb sign in 1966. The wind-resistant, dual-spring
base and double-sided snap-open frame rails soon made
it an industry standard.
continued on page 18
Sponsored by the longtime members of A.R.E. shown at right,
the infographics throughout this article feature data from
numerous sources. Sources do not always agree on the debut
of a concept, so we’ve tried to focus on factual events like
patent awards and store openings. While the graphics cite
some of the milestones we found interesting, they’re not meant
to be exhaustive. We invite you to add your own recollections
and historical facts. To comment on the graphics, visit