If you own a mall, shopping center, retail center, or whatever you want to call it, you may want to see how Brookfield Asset Management’s plan to invest billions of dollars in a gaming startup pans out. Plain and simple, many of the shopping centers we grew to know and love may not be the same after the pandemic is over with. Experiential retail spaces will soon flood vacant department stores, or empty spaces within the mall itself, in order to foster a greater experience.
This is one way retailers that lack the online presence or ecommerce infrastructure can gain a boost as mall operators respond to growing online shopping demand.
“Developers in global shopping destinations have reimagined iconic retail strips as centers for experience in recent years.”
Electric Gamebox is the latest beneficiary of an $11M funding round provided so that they can expand into 1,000 new storefronts in the next five years. The gaming startup offers customers the chance at immersive multiplayer, and virtual reality experiences garnished with touch screens and motion tracking technology.
The idea behind their business is to create greater memories for customers, but it’s also lucrative in filling space, retaining shoppers, and triggering more sales for the surrounding stores and eateries. After attracting over 10,000 users in the last 6-months at their Dallas location, Brookfield Asset Management saw potential for growth in Electric Gamebox. Currently it allows 2-6 people to play at the same time, therefore achieving 10,000 users is certainly a milestone for the startup.
“Over the next year, Electric Gamebox is set to open stores at several malls owned by Brookfield Properties including Oakbrook Center in Chicago, The Woodlands Mall in Houston and Fashion Place in Salt Lake City, according to the company. It will also open stores in Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Ballston Quarter in Arlington, Virginia.”
Perhaps the biggest example of experiential retail on steroids is Minnesota’s Mall of America. Still, the biggest mall in the country centered its efforts around the experience, not the shopping itself, by playing at the strings of child emotion through “Camp Snoopy,” and now “Nickelodeon Universe” amusement park. Because of this, many who do go to Mall of America, are presumably only going so their child can have fun on the rides, but the casual hard-right into the Lululemon store, or even some Caribou Coffee, is inevitable.
Brookfield is one of the largest mall owners in the world with over 120M SF and 122 malls, therefore their strategy to invest in experiential retail will have a deep and profound influence among other owners.