The experience economy
of shopping centres?

In the new experience economy, how will we create engaging Shopping Centre experiences that drive value?

Can it extend to selling admission to a shopping centre?

Probably not.

Today, building experiences to attract a crowd has become the new ‘magnet’, once the domain of cinemas and anchor stores. The concept spread from theatres and theme parks to airports and now shopping centres.

Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in a 1998 article ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy’ (, suggested that a marketable experience happens “when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event”. According to Pine and Gilmore these experiences are, “inherently personal, existing only in the mind of an individual who has been engaged on an emotional, physical, intellectual or even spiritual level.”

Years ago, experience came last when planning new developments. This was a time when floor space and grand architectural statements were key drivers of new developments. A time when experience design consisted of lifestyle graphics on walls and centres that once lured inside, visitors couldn’t find their way out. Remember Melbourne Central 1.0 or the Sydney Skygarden? – they didn’t last!

We have become consumers of Shopping Centre experiences; we’re demanding dynamic and engaging experiences, responsive to our needs.

Experience design is taking over as the leading driver of new projects, fostering a shift to human centred design values.

The key to making shopping centres part of the experience economy is to begin with human centred design to produce a marketable experience. This comes from collaboration with other specialist designers and architects integrating signage, wayfinding, urban art, digital and lighting to deliver individual customer experiences. This is what we do at The Blueprint.