Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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218 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 T he recent Entertainment Experience Evolution conference held in Los Angeles, hosted by Shopping Center Business, saw some of the brightest thought leaders in the retail industry and was decidedly focused on the future. The very nature of the industry is changing, and it's changing faster than we think. There's been more change in the past five years than in the previous 50 years. These changes are being driven by digital and mobile technology, e-commerce, connectivity, and most importantly, changing consumer behaviors. Technology is providing consumers with endless choice, instant access and heightened expectations. Just as tech has served to isolate and distract us, today's consumers continue to seek out and value experience and community. While tech-driven changes can be seen as disruptive, they are also an opportunity for the mall industry to evolve and innovate. With thoughtful innovation, the mall can once again become the center of town; the safe and warm place to meet, and a vital part of the local community. One shining example of next-level innovation and community engagement can be seen in the groundbreaking work of Screen Play Interactive Network, an affiliate of the Cafaro Company. Screen Play Interactive was founded and is owned by Phyllis C. Cafaro, vice president of The Cafaro Company, one of the nation's largest privately held shopping center developers. A new interactive media platform, Screen Play Interactive Network, is part of the company's initiative to transform the common area experience in the nation's shopping centers. Launching this spring, the multi-dimensional kids brand Captain McFinn & Friends will be the first entertainment property to be featured on Screen Play Interactive Network's Virtual Aquarium at Millcreek Mall, a Cafaro Company property, in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is the first-of-its-kind; with two-way interactive screen experience, kids and families are drawn to the inviting screen area, are encouraged to personalize their very own fish avatar, and then 'flick' it into the aquarium where they join other fish. Throughout the day a live host appears on-screen to engage and encourage kids in a wide range of entertaining interactions. By downloading the localized "Swim & Play" app, the fun and learning continues when shoppers and their kids go home. This unique in-mall and at-home engagement also integrates into the McFinn & Friend Kids Club and then finally comes together in a rich in-school curriculum program for local educators and child-care professionals. The opening session of EEE featured Matt Billerbeck of global design leader CallisonRTKL, who challenged attendees to think of mall visitors not as shoppers, but as "our audience" and said that mall owners must inspire, motivate and entertain this audience to earn their time and loyalty. Retail tenants must compete more aggressively than ever before to win customers, and with that, the need to tell their "brand story" has never been more important. Shopping center owners can now provide the environment and the tools to help tenants tell their story by working together outside of their leased space, brining that story to the common area and turning it into an experience. Cafaro's leadership with McFinn & Friends, Virtual Aquarium and the innovative new Screen Play Network point the way to a future of engaged, entertained and loyal audiences. — Randall Shearin Bringing The Experience To The Common Area New program from Cafaro allows tenants to bring the experience beyond the storefront. The Captain McFinn program draws children, parents and grandparents to the mall, and has a positive message and takeaway lessons. The Screen Play Interactive Network is part of Cafaro's initiative to transform the common area experience in the nation's shopping centers.

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