Decoding the shopping mall design

How the design of a mall makes you spend 2X-5X of your budget.

Ever wondered why the food court inside a mall is located usually on the top floor?

Ever wondered why there are small items such as socks, trimmers, and chocolates kept near the billing counter?

Ever wondered why the stairs are located at distance?

Ever wondered why there is no clock inside a mall?

Ever wondered why there is ambient lighting inside a mall?

Ever wondered why some of the food or perfume outlets are open?

Let’s decode the design of a mall that tricks people into spending more than the budget they come with.

Malls don’t have a clock

Malls don’t have a clock and this is to ensure that you stay longer inside a mall and shell out your money to buy something more. Definitely, everyone carries a mobile phone with them and they can access time and can leave at whatever time they want but here is a catch: When one genuine person, who has an urgent meeting, leaves the mall, sees the time on a big clock, some more people having urgent work will leave, and this will create a bandwagon effect and people will start leaving malls quickly. Malls don’t have a clock so you don’t look at the time actively, and even if you are in a hurry and leave, you do not let a bandwagon effect follow by you.

There are open food and perfume pop-up stores/kisoks

Malls usually have some open food counters and kisoks and the reason behind letting it open goes beyond “optimising space”. There is a very close link between smell and memory. It is easy to remember a place by recalling a fragrance. So, whenever you roam across a mall, you smell the fragrance and whenever you smell a similar fragrance anywhere else, you recall the place where you had that smell with greater intensity i.e at mall. Whether you buy perfumes or not, you remember the smell and that’s an odour-based marketing strategy! Same holds true with food although with slight variations. Smell of food makes you think about the flavour of food and it automatically increases your appetite. Usually bakery and icecreap kisoks/pop up stores are installed in the corridors. Even if you don’t eat something there, it engages a portion of your mind.

The food court is usually on the top floor

Ever wondered why it is on the top floor? It wants you to come upstairs, get tired, feel hungry so that when you eat, you feel utmost level of satisfaction and remember the taste for long. It works on the reward system psychology.

Ambient lighting is everywhere

Light has a very profound effect on our mental and physical and behavioural changes and plays the most important role in maintaining the circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the effect of physical, behavioural and mental changes, controlled by the light and the darkness in a 24 hours cycle.

Stairs are constructed at a distance

When you have to go upstairs in a mall, you seamlessly climb on the escalator, and slowly go upstairs, looking all across the shops and showrooms. Then you have to walk in the corridor, and you walk in the corridor, looking all across the shops and showrooms. Then you again climb on the escalator, and slowly move upstairs looking across shops and showrooms. You start thinking you require this from this shop too, this from this showroom too and tada! the purpose of constructing stiars at a distance is met!

Billing counter design

Have you noticed some items close to the billing counter that can be accessed instantly, even if you are standing in a queue for billing? Most of the malls have these counters so that you do the “last minute shopping”. Have you noticed the placements of the things? Things for men are stacked on the top, for women slightly below the men’s rack, and for kids lower than the women. These things are stacked as per the height so that there is a parallel interaction between the product and the potential customer!

So, next time when you go to a mall, notice these things and let me know in the comments, how you feel about that!

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