The “New Hybrid” experience: Beyond the mall

Consumers expect more from retailers and brands than ever before.

July 27, 2017 |
GenslerOn
A rendering of the Hub on Causeway

The Hub on Causeway. Rendering courtesy of Gensler

The convergence of the physical and digital worlds has revolutionized our lives and has reshaped how we live, work, play and shop. Various elements of our lives are now better integrated, and shopping is no longer a standalone activity. Consumers expect more from retailers and brands than ever before. As landlords, developers and designers think about the future, we need to start thinking differently. It is not enough to simply evolve the concept of the shopping center. There is a distinct need to make a fundamental and transformational shift to a “New Hybrid” experience.

The New Hybrid experience is a model that brings together the robust attributes of commerce, culture and leisure, and re-calibrates the traditional shopping experience. It provides a diverse tenant mix, new product and service offerings, and decentralized food and beverage. It is amenity rich, leverages technology, connects easily to transit and offers more leisure and event activities. It promotes local artisans and culture, reflects generational and community values and builds traditions. Designed for maximum happiness, the New Hybrid is a magnetic and transformational place that transcends the predictable.

By creating a vibrant, engaging, memorable place, people will feel a sense of community and loyalty. If their lives are truly enriched, the property will be more than real estate—it will create a deep, emotional connection with guests and truly become an integral part of their lives.

While technology has simplified our lives in many ways, the virtual world has also created new divides. In a lonelier, more divided world, the need for community is greater than ever. We can respond to this emerging need by creating a new context for the new consumer mindset—a brave new model of development. By designing places that are vibrant and fulfilling for everyone who visits, stays or works there, we can play a significant role in restoring our sense of closeness in our communities.

Content is king and the livelihood of each center is dependent upon the ability to stay relevant by listening to your customer and providing a robust, seamless and fully orchestrated experience. As arbiters of commerce and culture, curators of experience, and ambassadors of merchandise, we are creating something new.

By helping create the New Hybrid experience, we embrace today’s continuous changes in consumer behavior to reinvent themselves with a sense of humanity and a dose of empathy, flexibility and humor. As designers, it is fascinating to help shape this evolution. And as consumers, it will be exciting to see how this plays out in the months and years ahead!

GenslerOn | Gensler

Published by Gensler, a global design firm with 5,000 practitioners networked across five continents, GenslerOn features insights and opinions of architects and designers on how design innovation makes cities more livable, work smarter, and leisure more engaging. Our contributors write about projects of every scale, from refreshing a retailer’s brand to planning a new urban district, all the while explaining how great design can optimize business performance and human potential. For more blog posts, visit: http://www.gensleron.com.

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