I am excerpting on this blog roughly 10% of my next book, The New Technology Elite due out in February (and available for pre-order on Amazon – see badge on left) . Chapters 6 through 17 cover 12 attributes of what I call the elite. Each also has a case study. Here is the excerpts from case study, Taubman Malls for Chapter 12 which focused on Physical Presence. Note: the text is going through the publisher’s edits and subject to change.
In November and December 2010, at several of its centers Taubman set up Ice Palaces and hosted an “immersive and interactive” experience. Holiday shoppers got a sneak peek into the wondrous land of Narnia, including scenes from the new movie, a light show, and snow. Actors from the movie streamed live from The Beverly Center event to 15 other Taubman shopping centers across the country, where children waved LED wands to simultaneously illuminate the Ice Palaces. In 2011, several of the centers added polar footage from BBC Earth to the show.
In 2010 Taubman announced an alliance with Sharp Electronics Corporation to equip several of its shopping centers with high-definition television lounges for shoppers. The AQUOS Entertainment Lounges feature HD televisions, with screen sizes ranging from 42 to 65 inches and content from a variety of sources, including live sports, entertainment, and news programming in each community.31
Do you see the pattern here? Taubman says 10 out of the first 15 Apple stores were at their centers. Now it has Apple stores in 65 percent of its malls. Beyond Apple, the centers showcase other technology stores and technology promotions and events.
Wasn’t brick and mortar was supposed to be dead by now? What is an old-fashioned mall doing with so much technology?
The families who went over the holidays to The Shops at Willow Bend, the Taubman mall in the northern Dallas suburb of Plano, got to feast on the 30-foot-tall color-changing Ice Palace with state-of-the-art audio and visual effects. They also got a chance to visit the Apple store in the mall. The Adrelina “extreme sports” store with a Flow Rider provided an interesting indoor surfing experience. They got to see one of the first Best Buy Mobile stores – a smaller footprint concept designed for malls.
Nina Mahoney, Marketing Director at the Tampa location, says, “We don’t just target technology customers or technology tenants. Taubman shopping centers have evolved over the last decade to become destinations for both shopping and entertainment. Clearly technology is an integral part of that in today’s lifestyle.”
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, technology, particularly Apple, is also getting a bigger share of our wallets. “In Apple’s fiscal year through September, it had sales of $34.1 million per retail store. Macy’s much larger stores generated $29 million on average in sales last year, and JCPenney just $16.1 million, estimates Michael Exstein of Credit Suisse.”32
One of those restaurants has been fairly influential in the local technology community. Fritz Eichelberger, founder of Hotspaces.Net, a consulting and recruiting firm, explains: “I’ve been hosting the ‘Pure & Shameless’ Tech Socials at the Blue Martini (tapas bar and cocktail lounge) for almost a decade. The location is a favorite among attendees. It is conveniently located in the Tampa Bay area, there is plenty of parking, and there are other activities at the International Plaza to entice my attendees to show up. I usually get 200 to 250 attendees and once had 400+.”
There is also a growing trend to use the mall as a showplace to launch technology products. Mahoney again: “As you can see with the Sharp Aquos lounge, we provide new products plenty of exposure. We had the Nissan Leaf (the electric car) exhibit here. We have had Sony Reader events here.”
Technology was supposed to kill brick and mortar. Taubman is proof that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
Photo Credit: Taubman Shopping Centers of the Ice Palace at its malls