Mall of America and Ecommerce

My bride and I shop Amazon, iTunes Music Store, Costco and many other online retailers…so why are we slogging through the crowds at the Mall of America?

We want to see, touch and feel. Have an experience. Find bargains ( her anyway).  Have a fun lunch. People watch.

Visual merchandising and retail product placement is an optimized art and adept at playing to our emotions. I find myself much more objective and detached when buying online and thus less inclined to impulse buy. All the personalization and recommendation of world-class online retailing can’t hold a candle to effective, meatspace retailing…yet.

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  1. Troy Worman on December 20, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    This is an interesting picture. It reminds me of Europe… a street scene or market scene… or… something. It’s strange, almost surreal to think of the contrast.

    Perhaps, it’s the tree.

    I like it.

  2. Steve Borsch on December 20, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks Troy. I snapped that with my Treo 700p and took it from behind the fake ficus tree for perspective.

    It’s funny you say that “It reminds me of Europe…” since I think the mall designers missed a HUGE opportunity. Even though there are many interesting features to the mall (Camp Snoopy; a rotunda where events occur; bars; restaurants; etc.) it’s still just a great big mall. I’d hoped that they’d build it with faux streets, storefronts, sidewalks and make it feel like an indoor town since it would’ve been evocative of European town areas and the aspects which make them so attractive.

    Instead, there is a sterility that makes it OK to be at in the cold Minnesota winters (and we used to take our kids there just to run around and do Camp Snoopy when they were smaller and playing outside wasn’t an option) but it’s still just a mall experience.

    The first time I went to Disneyland I was in awe of how they pulled off the experience. Even wandering down side alleyways and dead-end streets in all the different areas provided glimpses of windows, signage and tiny elements which provided surprise and delight in how they fit in with the overall ambience.

    That reminds me of how Steve Jobs had all the original Mac designers sign the inside of the Macintosh…even though no one would ever see them. Why opening up packages for Apple’s products are delightful…the packages! Why bother many would say, but Apple understands that the detail adds to the totality of the experience, the delight, and the soul of what’s offered.

    Too bad the Mall of America is just a mall.

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About Steve Borsch

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.