Mall appeals to our inner child to lure customers
Updated: 2016-02-20 08:10
By WANG ZHENGHUA(China Daily)
A giant slide is set up from the fifth to the ground floor at the Shanghai-Hong Kong New World Department Store on Pujian Road in Shanghai. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY
A shopping mall in Shanghai is giving a positive twist to the phrase "slippery slope" in a move that some see as a way to fend off the challenges brick-and-mortar merchants face from China's online shopping boom.
It has built a huge tubular slide to attract customers.
The dragonlike tube descending from the mall's fifth to ground floor wowed the public shortly after it was unveiled in the Shanghai-Hong Kong New World Department Store on Pujian Road in the Pudong New Area.
"We keep bringing new ideas and new experiences to our customers. That's why we came up with the idea this year to put the best slide in the shopping center," said Erica Lau, general manager of regional marketing communication at the company.
Even though the slide has not yet opened to the public, "it's very popular already," Lau said. "Everyone is talking about it."
Going from the mall's fifth floor to the ground takes about 16 seconds descending through the three loops of the roughly 20-meter-tall steel slide.
It is supported by two pillars and a number of cross beams. Parts have been hollowed out, helping illuminate sections of its interior.
The spaces near the entrance and exit are enclosed and there is a long cushion on the ground floor for visitors to land on.
Though the slide won't open to the public until next month, it was already an attraction on Friday, drawing streams of visitors taking pictures with it.
"I came to take a look at the slide today, and it's magnificent," said Guo Ju, a customer at the mall. "I'm planning to try it, and I'll bring along my friends and family to see how thrilling it is."
Jin Long, another passer-by, said the attraction could lure customers like him away from online shops to the complex instead.
"The shopping mall can attract more customers, especially more children, if it has entertainment facilities," he said.
Marketing experts said that to meet the challenge of the growing trend of online shopping, malls will have to offer more variety in dining and entertainment options to give consumers a reason to spend time in them.
"Malls that have a new IMAX theater or that refresh restaurant choices frequently do well," said Ben Cavender, principal at China Market Research Group.
"For brand stores, the trick is to offer information and product access in-store that consumers can't find as easily online. This might be special events for VIP members, or detailed examples of how products are made, or simply access to strong service," he added.
The department store is also looking to make further adjustments to ensure the safety of those who use the slide, including possibly installing a safety net along the tube and adding protective padding.
To ensure safety, people who ride the slide must be at least 1.1 meters tall, be unafraid of heights and have no medical conditions such as heart disease.
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