I have always hated shopping. Normally, I don't go in for the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" stereotypes, but when it comes to retail, I live up to the cliché. Going into stores that don't have the word "grocery," "drug," or "hardware" tacked in front of them is something I try not to do more than three times a year. If I do have to shop, I want the experience to be as simple and painless as possible. According to academic research, many guys feel the same way. The rise of online shopping has been a godsend, and with each passing year, we add to the growing list of items we thankfully don't have to buy in-person anymore.
Though millions of Americans of all genders are deserting malls in droves, retailers are determined to go down swinging. Amazon continues to gobble up a larger and larger percentage of sales, yet you don't see shopping centers shuttering en masse. Even stores that never seemed to have the right to exist in the first place, like Spencer's Gifts and Sunglass Hut, manage to eke out an existence on the retail margins, fighting for the scraps of analog commerce.
When I drive by massive shopping complexes, I ask myself: "Why the fuck would I ever go in there?" Usually, the answer is: I wouldn't. The next question, then, is what could make me want to go in there? What kind of experience could overcome the joyous convenience of ordering shit in my underwear after I've polished off half a bottle of whiskey? A store would have to be pretty impressive to accomplish that. There are few scenarios where I can imagine retailers luring me out of my recliner and into the world. Here are some ideas that could work.