David Matthews

December 14th, 2018

Last weekend it was cold and wet out, so I did my morning walk at NorthPark Center.  Anyone that believes physical retail is dead just needs to visit NorthPark during the holidays to be convinced otherwise.  The place is buzzing with all things Christmas, and you’d have to be Scrooge himself not to leave without at least a hint of Christmas spirit!  Here’s a few of the things I saw:

Waiting for the Apple store to open while the geniuses huddle inside. 
With this many people here to meet Santa Claus…
How can a store be this empty?
Note how the digital watch displays from Glass Media draw customers into the store.

This store uses scent to attract customers.  Bet you can virtually smell it!
This store uses scent to repel customers – smells really old and musty!

Several take-aways from my Saturday morning mall walk:

  1. As much as NorthPark tries to distribute the holiday festivities, there are still significant dead spaces with very little foot traffic.
  2. You can really tell the winners from the losers based on how empty or full the stores are during the critical holiday selling season.
  3. Foot traffic in the mall doesn’t necessarily correlate to foot traffic in the stores – many come with no intention to shop.
  4. To this day, there continues to be a very low level of mobile payment in North America. Very few stores at NorthPark even accept ApplePay or AndroidPay.
  5. There’s very little visible technology employed, mostly digital displays and POS systems.  This is a good thing, as technology should be deployed as a behind-the-scenes enhancement to the shopping experience and not as an interface between the customer and the merchandise.
  6. There’s lots of room for improvement!