Discovering In-Mall Destinations

Shopping destinations aren’t restricted to regional retail attractions or open-air glitterati, but rather can be the destination-oriented retailer in your favorite enclosed mall or even a common area that has been carefully crafted as an in-mall destination.

According to Wally Brewster, senior VP of marketing and communications for Chicago-based General Growth Properties, which itself owns a vibrant portfolio of both enclosed and open-air centers, an in-mall destination that has gained favor among mall owners and customers alike is the vendor-sponsored setting.

“Vendor partners such as American Express and Samsung are using the mall to create their own destinations, which enhances brand-value for their customers,” explained Brewster. “The mall is the main destination, of course, but brands are finding that they can create their own destinations beyond the mall itself.”

Discover Card debuted a Winter Lounge this past holiday season at Northbrook Court, a Northbrook, Ill., mall owned by General Growth. Situated in a lower-level common area outside Macy’s, the custom-designed lounge featured a cozy seating area, a life-size snow globe for picture-taking, and a host of services and promotions designed for Discover cardholders. The in-mall venue offered Discover customers a place to relax, regroup and “escape the crowds,” said Brewster. “This type of venue is quite similar to what you would find in an airport, allowing members to relax and be comfortable.

“What companies are finding is they can create—whether short term or for the long term—an experience for their customers, and that experience doesn’t have to be provided by an at-retail brand,” said Brewster. “American Express and Discover Card are coming into the mall to create their own destinations within the primary destination—the mall.”