By Jamie Yuccas, CBS Newspath
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many malls are struggling for customers in the lead up to one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
Online sales and fast checkouts have people staying at home — and that is why the Mall of America in Bloomington is trying something new to lure customers.
Dick’s Last Resort is a MOA restaurant that has always served food with a side of sarcasm. But to attract new customers, the restaurant added a scavenger hunt that includes locations throughout the mall. The restaurant’s manager says it has been a win-win situation for both Dick’s and the mall.
Other companies are taking notice. Verizon Wireless opened its first on-site experience store at the mall, where customers can come play and use their products. The company says the change has led to triple the sales
Beauty retailer Sigma put in “Wall of Beauty” stations. The store also does makeup meetups with beauty bloggers. Sales increase by 82 percent on those days because those blogger have thousands of YouTube followers.
Mall of America has Christopher Grap overseeing experiences. He tells retailers that experiences keep customers coming back.
“It’s a little bit Willy Wonka, it’s a little bit Walt Disney,” Grap said. “It’s more enticing when you can deliver on an experience for a guest rather than just have a sale.”
Capitalizing on those feel-good moments often means more money spent in store.
The mall itself is incorporating its own experiences. This year it won’t just be about taking pictures with Santa. There is an interactive Santa experience where kids can learn if they are naughty or nice.