Credit: TLW
Opinion

“Don’t wanna leave, happy to come back”

The Value of Feeling Good.

By Gastón Gaitán

Time is our most valuable asset. Whether it trickles, flows, or flies by, the time that belongs to each and every one of us is in a constant state of diminishment. The instant we take our first breaths, the countdown begins. That is right: We all have our own sell-by dates. As we get older and start to comprehend and come to terms with our mortality, we strive to optimize our time, as we do with all limited resources – just think about how, as a civilization, we regulate the consumption of water, fossil fuels, and diamonds.

If we believe that our time has been spent productively or generously or even responsibly, we feel that it has been time well spent, and our lives seem to take on deeper meaning. However, at the end of the day, what we all hope to obtain in exchange for the time we spend is happiness.

In this sense, the value of happiness is measured in time. We rarely regret time that is spent making us happy.

To delve into that thought a bit further: One could say that if we associate something or someone or even a random moment with happiness, we are willing to spend our valuable time seeking out that thing or person or instance again and again. More importantly, we also spread the word about how such happiness can be achieved.

When Happiness is Contagious: Sweets at Double the Price

While on a recent visit to London, word had spread about the M&M’s store in Leicester Square. It was packed with tourists spending their valuable holiday time buying bags, bottles, and even plastic teddy bears filled with candy-coated chocolate peanuts.

If the same weight in M&M’s can be bought for half the price at supermarkets two stops down the Piccadilly line, or, indeed, at any supermarket in the country, why are consumers at the Leicester Square store willing to pay nearly double the value of the product?

Credit: TLW

The answer is simple: It makes them feel good. Huge pick ’n’ mix tubes line the walls like space-age industrial piping, evoking both the hominess of the sweet shops of old and the outlandishness of a Willie Wonka factory. More importantly, the store successfully blends the M&M’s brand with the London tourist experience. This is the essence of its success, this is its “je ne sais quoi”. Tourists may enjoy a visit to this store as much as a tour of the Tower of London, and they will go home with souvenirs to prove it: a bag of candy in the colors of the Union Jack and, perhaps, a selfie with a giant orange M&M dressed as a beefeater.

At theleisureway, we conceive and construct shopping centers as leisure ecosystems, each with its own “je ne sais quoi” – with its own allure.

Just as the Leicester Square M&M’s store attracts five million visitors a year, which is more than The Natural History Museum, our goal is to guarantee a steady flow of consumer traffic to our shopping centers and to generate such elevated perceptions of well-being that consumers stay for more time than intended, leave with the desire to return, and do not mind paying a little bit extra for the products they purchase while on the premises.

The Feel-Good Formula for Our Leisure Ecosystems: Adding Time to the Equation

Just how much deeper into their pockets consumers are prepared to dig depends largely on disposable income. However, it is not that simple. Our wages can only buy happiness up to a point. If we work harder to earn more money to spend on products or experiences that will provide us with a greater perception of well-being, we will have less time to enjoy the leisure associated with the product, and will, consequently, not achieve the happiness we crave.

In fact, what consumers really spend at shopping centers is time – both the time it took them to earn the money they are parting with as well as the time they spend browsing through stores.

How can a variable as unquantifiable as time be added to our formula for leisure ecosystems? Newton’s laws of motion established that the passing of time was an absolute concept, not liable to change. Then, Einstein came along with his theories of relativity. “Time is an illusion,” he famously claimed. Recently, psychologists have demonstrated that emotions are, in fact, more important to the perception of time than quantum physics. Time flies when you are having fun and drags when you are bored. Right?

Observing the Market through “Leisure Goggles”: a Visionary Approach

It is our aim for consumers at our shopping centers to feel as if time has raced by and that their most valuable asset has been wisely and happily spent. To that end, at theleisureway, we pay close attention to advances in psychology and neuroscience that explain perceptions of well-being. We observe aspects of the market that are related to positive human emotions through what we call leisure goggles. Then, we apply our findings, including intangible variables, such as perceptions of time and well-being, into our analysis of supply and demand data.

Our leisure ecosystems are designed with just the right mix of emotions to encourage consumers to spend a higher percentage of their valuable time at our shopping centers – and to feel good about doing so.

Gaston Gaitan is the Founder of theleisureway. Credit: TLW

Sign up for our ACROSS Newsletter. Subscribe to ACROSS Magazine.

Opinion MORE

11 points institutional landlords need to consider during this turbulent season

“Make the best use of your time and develop a creative (re-)opening strategy that needs to capture the attention of your customers during a period of a lot of noise.”

Community prevails

“There is no need to look for culprits or point out those industries or competitors who might not be affected in the same way.”

A note to our future selves

“The outlet category has always matured during decades of upheaval, and we have routinely stated that ‘outlets are good in good times and great in terrible times.’ 2020 may well test that theory.”

Retail on the Balkans in the times of corona

2019 was a real game-changing year for the region’s retail sector with quickly increasing turn overs, new market openings as well as first larger refurbishments. Unfortunately, the current crisis is reshuffling the entire deck.

Shopping center and retail operational challenges with COVID 19

SAFE Shopping Centers have issued the guide “COVID 19 and Considerations for Shopping Centers and Retail Spaces” to support the industry (FREE DOWNLOAD). It is designed to give guidance on preparations and consideration for the Covid-19 outbreak, covering essential functions and hands-on tips for mall operations.

Retail during the days of coronavirus

“Retailers and developers who are able to identify ways to get closer to and be supportive of clients and society during this time of crisis will surely be the winners.”