Rethinking Retail Spaces

Play Experiences within Shopping Centres

Anyone that’s ever taken their kids shopping understands the balancing act between the need to head to the shops and grab all the essentials with the desire to provide the kids with a welcome distraction or (let’s be honest, bribe) to get you all through the experience. So why should you think about incorporating a playspace within your retail environment?

Puts your centre on the map

A quick google search will tell you all of the best places to go shopping with kids; the centres that have an outdoor play area where children can work their wriggles out, the places that have alfresco dining adjacent to a play are so you can watch them play while enjoying a good meal, or the shopping destinations that offer a multitude of activities to keep the whole family amused, all-day.

To get yourself on this localised list of top destinations, you need to have a space that delivers something for everyone; whether you’re looking to install a small indoor play area or a huge outdoor space, good placemaking principles remain the same.

  • Cater for multiple age groups
  • Have seating areas that allow for passive surveillance
  • Provide shade and thermal comfort for outdoor environments
  • Include equipment that encourages active adult participation
  • Incorporate aesthetics and make your space Instagram-worthy – shareable images are social proof that your centre is the place to be

Boosts Staying Power

Having a destination playspace – whether it’s integrated with food and beverage venues or is simply an island of play in the middle of the shopping centre hustle and bustle – provides an oasis for busy parents and families to rest and stay awhile. 

For all-day staying power, provide multiple activities such as play environments, hospitality venues, cinemas, pay-for-play entertainment venues and moveable activities like pop-up stores, markets, food vans and limited-time-only events like school holiday fun.

Maximise Return

We understand that there is a cost involved in designing, constructing and maintaining a playspace, particularly when it’s a “free” venue.  However, when considered as an investment rather than a cost, you’ll see that there are some incredible economic benefits.  When people stay longer, they spend more and are happier to do so.  You’ll see:

  • Increased patronage at food and beverage outlets, especially if they’re around a play area
  • Extended visitation experience to include mealtimes – no need to rush home
  • A broader range of clientele as people are willing to drive further just to be part of it
  • Higher visitation as your centre stands out from the fierce competition of other shopping venues
  • Happier, more profitable tenancies benefitting from increased foot traffic

While the play experience is free, the rewards to tenants and the surrounding community are priceless.

Previous Shopping Centre Concept Designs