Bring on the Bazaar!

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I am a late-born shopper. Not that I am so young, but rather that I have only recently truly started to appreciate – and occasionally revel in the shopping experience. My teen years were spent in harried weekend shopping trips from Kingston, Jamaica to Miami to pick up necessities. The goal was to be efficient and thrifty. And at 5’0” and less than 100 pounds, I have been, and still am, the grateful recipient of sundry hand-me downs.

Somehow in that background of frenzied shopping and fashionable leftovers, it was really difficult to contemplate the vast expanse of choices I’m faced with now in South Florida. Combined with the fact that I am an extremely impatient person with a lifelong aversion to hassle, online shopping was my best friend. The ability to pick out an outfit that actually had a chance of fitting, rather than wrestling with oversized clothes in crowded dressing rooms – or, horror of horrors, resorting to the kid’s section – is still a very attractive one to me.

However, there is something to be said for shopping bricks-and-mortar style. The energy, options and cornucopia of eye candy in a well-appointed shopping center like Aventura or the Galleria definitely elevates the shopping experience. My favorite stores are the ones that mirror the experience one hopes for when buying their products. As an avid tea drinker from a former British colony, Teavana is everything it should be – intimate, fragrant and imaginative with enough choices to keep me fascinated, and always free samples to make my shopping trip even more pleasant. Anthropologie is a curated bazaar of discovery that can keep me circling the store indefinitely. Crate & Barrel and Williams Sonoma show me how effective thoughtful displays are at enticing me for hours and keeping me coming back for more. Sure, I could shop at Williams Sonoma’s website –and I have. But there is still something special about visiting the physical space.

My main point here is that, as consumers continue to adopt technology and shop online and on their phones, retailers and landlords are going to have to get even more creative in drawing shoppers. What I’ve observed both empirically and personally is that consumers do want an experience – more than simply a transaction. A transaction can take place anywhere. An experience of discovery and beauty, curated for a particular audience is something that is irreplaceable. And invaluable. So bring on the bazaar, the interactive experience, the delicious food, the carefully chosen goods presented in beautiful, innovative ways. I’m ready!

Keisha McDonnough
Research Analyst, Retail
+1 (954) 990-0844

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