How online shopping is becoming valued more for the shopping experience.
In 2017, the New York Times published a piece titled An Ode to Shopping Malls, outlining the story of one man, Dan Bell, who spends his time documenting walking tours through what he calls “dead malls”, the sprawling, 800,000+ sq. feet consumer playgrounds that once were the place to be seen, to socialize, and to shop.
Watching Dan walk through the old hallways and remark on the old cornerstone shops — Sears, Dillards, Macy’s — evokes a certain type of nostalgia that all 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings will find familiar.
Shopping at malls was an experience where our senses were triggered — the wind of starchy air conditioning, the beep of a cash register, the smell of a soft pretzel. This so-called Sensory Marketing was the subject of constant research well through the early 2000s and 2010s, and it remains a popular tactic for brick-and-mortar businesses. Nestled in that experience is the true, compelling reason behind why people shop.
Yes, shoppers want to purchase an item, but they also want to be entertained along the way.
So what’s the digital equivalent of a smell, a sound, or a sense? In this digital age, capturing a shopper’s attention is more difficult than ever, so brands are leaning in on innovative content to help carry the weight.