Immersive Experiences Can Diversify the Retail Mix and Drive Business

Tenants that provide fully immersive experiences have come into sharp focus as a potential way to increase foot traffic and business to retail destinations.

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Immersive Experiences Can Diversify the Retail Mix and Drive Business

The continued growth of online retailers and changing consumer habits have undoubtedly presented a challenge for traditional retailers – as well as owners and managers of retail real estate. With approximately 75,000 retail stores expected to close at an accelerated pace between now and 2026, it is critical that retail stakeholders evolve with the industry to survive and thrive. Classic entertainment tenants, such as a simple movie theaters or bowling alleys, must also compete with the fact that most people have access to a wealth of movies and games at their fingertips. As a result, tenants that provide fully immersive experiences have come into sharp focus as a potential way to increase foot traffic and business to retail destinations.

Owners and managers of retail destinations are recognizing that including innovative entertainment tenants draws more customers to their destinations, encourages them to stay longer, and drives business for other tenants in the developments.

With the retail sector transforming from places where customers simply buy goods into places to also enjoy interesting experiences, it is important for owners and developers to integrate into their developments a diverse mix of entertainment options that will attract and retain customers. Doing so will also theoretically engender repeat business as customers return again and again for favorite and new experiences.

nFusion’s Managing Director Martin Zurauskas recently shared his insights regarding entertainment tenants in retail developments with GlobeSt.com.

Zurauskas explains that incorporating the right mix of entertainment tenants into retail destinations requires careful curation and planning to capture the most engaging purveyors and a good balance of options for consumers.

The below originally appeared on GlobeSt.com on May 22, 2019:

The role of retail centers is increasingly based upon giving consumers what they demand – entertainment-focused, immersive experiences that they can’t get through simply accessing their phones, tablets, and other devices. Those thoughts are according to Martin Zurauskas, managing director for nFusion.

Zurauskas tells GlobeSt.com that new and existing retail centers are diving into opportunities to diversify far beyond shopping, dining, and traditional entertainment tenants such as movie theaters and bowling alleys. “New experiential offerings bring exciting possibilities to draw traffic both short term and long term, requiring developers to respond to new challenges in their real estate development.

The planning process is critical to ensure a successful result, he adds, including meeting the reality of height- and capacity-constrained real estate, as well as thoroughly evaluating demographic demand. “Many retail destinations are driven by frequent repeat visitation and it is critical to make sure the mix of entertainment offerings are highly repeatable.”

Consideration of how such venues are programmed and master planned for a mix of pop-up, semi-permanent and permanent activations is critical, he says. “This requires pro-active curation of the mix to be relevant to market demographics and positioning of the center.”

immersive experiences
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Examples of entertainment tenants gaining popularity? He points to full-body virtual reality concepts like The VOID, artist-curated immersive experiences like Meow Wolf, and edutainment concepts like KidZania, where children enter a miniature ‘city’ with its own currency and economy.

immersive experiences
Meow Wolf‘s Interior: House of Eternal Flame

Continue reading the full GlobeSt.com article here.

So how can developers who wish to incorporate entertainment into their retail destination navigate the complexities that arise?

This process requires a tried-and-true system that guides developers through the proper steps that lead to success, as we explain in the following Insights articles:

Challenging the Status Quo of Delivery: Connecting the Dots to Improve Strike Rate – How to determine if a project is feasible

What to Know Before Pressing The Big Green Button – How to determine if a project is deliverable

When to Put Down the Pencils and Pick Up the Shovels in Destination Construction – How to determine if a project is buildable

There’s Only One Opening Day: Handing Over the Keys – How to determine if a project is operable

Integrating Entertainment Into Retail Destinations – It’s More Than Just a Movie Theater – How to select the right entertainment uses and scale for particular locations

About the Author
Martin Zurauskas
Managing Director

Martin is the Managing Director for nFusion, where he leads the project management services group with vision and focus into new markets and is responsible for its global efforts. With over 30 years of experience, Martin provides leadership to nFusion’s entertainment and leisure destination project teams, implementing innovative project delivery solutions with the ‘big picture’ in mind, and his finger on the pulse of each project. Full Bio.

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