With the rise of ecommerce in the retail market, the shopping center has had to rethink itself. At the core of the classic shopping center there are two things going into it to make it work - stores and people. Each fuel the other. However, as small stores loose out to the e-tailers they close their doors and fewer people visit the shopping center. On the other hand, the shopping center is a social place where people go to bump into friends and chat. With fewer people visiting the stores it looses its social aspect and becomes more of a ghost town that few visit.

The new generation of shopping centers takes a different approach. Instead of small shops and a social atmosphere, the atmosphere becomes more of one of a mini-vacation. This is especially appealing to the lifestyle today that is moving at an ever increased speed and has less time to be able to go for more than a weekday getaway, or even an afternoon one.

Examples of this new style of shopping center include that of the Metreon in San Francisco which has:

  • Sony Playstation store with a video-game 'bar' to try out the games.
  • Large arcade with wall sized video screens for virtual bowling, imersive 'pod' games (where you get in a pod that moves around) and large multi-player arrays. This particular arcade has specials on some nights that make it into a video game night-club.
  • An almost theme-park like feel with The Way Things Work
  • A large movie theater that includes an iMax
The goal of this is to provide an entire day experience that is more than just a series of stores and thus keep the social atmosphere alive. Other shopping centers have added roller coasters and other amusement park additions to bring the vacation feel to it.

This trend is also extending to some of the large stores. Camping stores often have large demonstration ares such as rock climbing with small rivers running through the store to provide a test area for kayaks and canoes. A large fishing store that not only provides boats and gear, but also has a restaurant with all types of fish on the menu and a large display area to show how bait and lures actually work. Some pet stores have become mini-zoos with animals for display but not sale. These are the things that ecommerce can never bring a person and the brick and mortar stores are capitalizing on.

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