Shopping malls are fighting e-commerce and social media for consumers’ waning attention and some are concluding that retail alone isn’t enough. Pop-up locations with new concepts — including virtual reality experiences and editorial content delivered on video and digital screens — are being used at centers to attract and engage shoppers.
Macerich has partnered with PopSugar, which will provide custom content for the REIT’s regional shopping centers. The editorial, launching in mid-November, will consist of lifestyle programming about fashion, beauty, fitness, food, fitness, parenting and entertainment.
Besides video and digital screens, shoppers who download the Macerich app will get beacon messages and e-mails generated by PopSugar. The media technology company will also be doing native posts and there will be Macerich distribution on PopSugar channels.
“Millennials look for experiences, not just the transactional nature of going to the store,” said Fred Yeries, vice president of digital marketing at Macerich. “Millennial women are always looking for inspiration.”
Macerich and PopSugar are aware that they must give the consumer just enough information to capture her interest but not too much to distract her from shopping.
“The eye of the consumer is definitely trained for quick, digestible content,” Yeries said. “The reason we partnered with PopSuger is that we love the message and variety of topics they present to the reader.”
“We believe in idea of tasty bits of inspiration that build up to a holistic story to inspire the shopper,” said Geoff Schiller, chief revenue officer at PopSugar. “Part of the storytelling is highlighting opportunities to improve her lifestyle.”
Yeries said Macerich wants PopSugar to be a fashion authority and call out trends. If consumers want more content, there’s TheModern-Muse.com, a micro site PopSugar created for Macerich.
Yeries said that in 2017 there will be a focus on “triangulation between PopSugar, Macerich and specific retailers at shopping centers, and figuring out how we create great opportunities to tell retailers’ stories. There’s a mix-and-match spirit. The mall is a great destination with luxury and affordably priced brands.”
Westfield on Thursday said it has partnered with TriBeCa Enterprises to bring virtual reality experiences to the World Trade Center shopping mall. Westfield will be offering free virtual reality at an arcade in the center of the Oculus on the main floor this weekend and for the next two weekends from noon to 8 p.m.
Shoppers and commuters can sit on swivel chairs or benches within a cordoned-off area. VR goggles and headphones provide an immersive 360-degree escape from the din of activity in the mall and transportation hub.
Doug Liman, the director of “The Bourne Identity” and “Edge of Tomorrow,” directed “Invisible,” a virtual reality supernatural drama about an old New York family whose influence extends to corporations and government that’s one of four films being sampled.
“I was intrigued by immersive filmmaking,” Liman said. “You feel you’re in the scenes and in the action with characters. I love action and thought this would be really interesting. “
“Invasion,” an animated VR experience narrated by Ethan Hawke, revolves around bumbling aliens who are stopped by two bunnies — one bunny is actually the viewer in a 360-degree bunny body.
The other films are “Kids,” a VR music video for the newest single from One Republic’s new album, “Oh My My,” and “KÀ the Battle Within,” Cirque du Soleil’s first linear narrative production, features acrobats engaged in combat in a mythical world.
Mall of America on Nov. 16 is launching Debut, a 2,500-square-foot retail concept with a collection of shops-in-shop with brands rotating every few months. The inaugural lineup will include Woolrich; Askov Finlayson, classic men’s wear clothing and footwear; Laurel Way by Pam Mondale women’s wear; Billykirk, leather goods; West Elm Local, featuring one-off home products; Todd Snyder + Champion; Pomegranate, apparel, accessories and tabletop; Shepherd of Sweden, wool and sheepskin slippers and accessories, and Fisher and Baker, outdoor men’s clothing.
Liz McLay, senior vice president of leasing at Mall of America, said, “Debut gives us the opportunity to showcase new retail brands, many that are consistently requested from our guests. The space will feature a dynamic rotation of pop-up shops and conveniently allow guests to shop a variety of merchandise within a cohesive shopping experience. “