In the 20th century, department stores and shopping centers became institutions, changing the way consumers shop. The store has a wealth of displays and many corridors, so they are a great choice. You can spend a whole day browsing different shops. Today, store traffic is still high, but they need to make changes based on customer needs. It is no longer enough to provide a variety of products. People need more shopping experience. China is a leader in the retail industry, and other parts of the world are beginning to follow suit.

So this is entertainment

The recent rise of online transactions has brought fierce competition to brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers have raised questions about this: “What do consumers need?” The answer is simple: they need everything. A comprehensive location that can provide services, entertainment, and cater to all their lifestyle needs. For department stores and shopping malls, combining entertainment with services is a good way to attract online consumers to experience offline again and again.

China has long recognized this need-the fact that shopping malls have become tourist destinations proves this. Chinese shopping malls provide far more services than typical retail stores. They also have restaurants, bars, spas, schools, gyms, beauty salons, art galleries, gardens, supermarkets,and more. Shopping malls are increasingly considering using this entertainment value to attract crowds. The Global Center in Chengdu is a good example. The mall is the largest building in the world, with a 300-meter-long indoor beach, attracting consumers’ love of novelties and providing a space to relax, regardless of the weather.

“Chengdu – The working week”

Some entertainment for everyone

The variety of entertainment options provided means that the mall is a destination for everyone. Whether you are single, couple, friends, or family traveling, it is enough for everyone to find their own entertainment. Before grandparents enjoy the scenery and their parents browse the shops, they often put their children in a nearby English class. Since all this has become so close, they can enjoy food together again, choose from numerous visits, and can also go bowling or go to the movies to end the day with such group activities.

This lifestyle has changed the way people shop. Since there are so many things that can be done, there is no need to plan activities in advance – people can arrive at the mall and can be determined based on how they feel at the time. It also eliminates the pressure of buying any tangible items, because the environment is pleasant enough to be regarded as one’s own entertainment time. Even a simple supermarket can attract crowds on weekends. Many retail spaces are built around the office area to attract people on their way home from get off work. In the past, they may walk directly from the office to the home, but now all-encompassing entertainment venues can make it easier for people to drink with colleagues, or to listen to music and eat with friends. Sanlitun SOHO in Beijing is a good example, using its location advantage to attract a variety of people. Each store will optimize its window display to attract more customers, and the light show and street performers will also make people want to spend more time here.

“Sanlitun Soho – Design and Architecture”


China’s shopping industry is getting bigger and bigger, and Europe’s progress is much slower. M&A transactions across Europe are attracting competition from shopping malls in the global market. With proprietary technologies from different companies, European retail stores are learning from China to add entertainment value to the retail space. Although we have not seen indoor beaches and ice skating rinks, they still have ambitions. European department stores and shopping centers are increasing the number of food and beverage products, promoting an artistic atmosphere, and incorporating nature as an integral part of their design. Many developers are now introducing architectural teams to create a cohesive environment, such as The Oracle developed by Haskell in Reading, England.

“The Oracle – Reading”

The slow development of Europe is related to the need to overcome many cultural habits. Increasing the supply of food and beverages that interact with the environment will support a slow eating lifestyle, and both indoor and outdoor spaces will one day be broken. Most European countries have a market culture and are used to going to different stores to buy the best products. The convenience of putting everything in one place is slightly different from the historical need to travel in order to get the best product; however, interrupting the journey with entertainment makes it look like two trips.

Progress forward

The challenge for retail design is to ensure that stores in malls and department stores are creative enough to compete with all other products. In order to attract attention, creative window displays are more important than ever. Consider expanding the target audience to attract everyone who uses the space, or make a particular audience a loyal to the store. Drawing inspiration from Chinese shopping malls will provide ample inspiration for new European stores, but pay attention to cultural differences in consumer behavior. Start by adding entertainment to existing behaviors, and customers will soon have more requests.

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