Malls and the total customer experience

MANILA, Philippines - These days, malls are no longer just about shopping.

They're about entertainment as well.

This is the reason why many developers are incorporating entertainment facilities and attractions in their malls — even if it means losing valuable retail space and rental revenues.  

"We have an indoor entertainment facility. That's how we niched. We had to allocate a 3rd of total gross floor area for that. It's not as efficient but we knew we had to do it," Danny Antonio of Festival Supermalls said on Wednesday, November 14, at the Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Summit Philippines.

This trend is not about to stop, especially with the increasing availability of gadgets and technologies that make electronic shopping possible in the Philippines.

MALL EXECUTIVES. They are the panelists on a retail and shopping forum (from left to right): Ana Maria Garcia of the Shopping Center Mgt. Corp. Rowena Tomeldan of Ayala Malls, and Arlene Magtibay of Robinsons Land, and Danny Antonio of Festval Supermalls. Photo by Lala Rimando

MALL EXECUTIVES. They are the panelists on a retail and shopping forum (from left to right): Ana Maria Garcia of the Shopping Center Mgt. Corp. Rowena Tomeldan of Ayala Malls, and Arlene Magtibay of Robinsons Land, and Danny Antonio of Festval Supermalls.

Photo by Lala Rimando

Garcia said the MOA also has a zipline and an ice skating rink, among others.

These entertainment concepts will always be on the mall operator's mind, said Garcia, noting that additional space in places they put up a mall in is a key consideration. 

"We try to satisfy 80% of what our customers want. We try to determine what will make them happy and try to bring that to them," Garcia said.

Rowena Tomeldan of Ayala Malls, for her part, said there was a time that everybody thought Glorietta's move to allocate a huge space for its activity center was absurd. But these days, she said, the activity center is booked 12 months in advance.

She said the activity centers in Ayala malls allow them to bring in artists and entertainers whom people want to see perform.

Arlene Magtibay of Robinsons Malls said malls are also going into public services. Robinsons malls house satellite offices of the Department of Foreign affairs to help people save time and energy in passport renewals.

SM Megamall, on the other hand, houses a satellite office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) where people can have their NBI clearances renewed. NBI clearances are required for job appications here and abroad as well as for visa applications.

All the malls also have numerous relaxation and beauty services, and hold Catholic masses on Sundays.

All these serve as come-ons for Filipinos to go to malls during their free time, especially on weekends.  

"It's the total tenant mix, the experience shoppers have, the bonding experience, the dining experience," Magtibay said.

"We aim to create a second or 3rd home for people." - Rappler.com