PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Update, Friday, May 8
The Gardens Mall announced, Friday, May 8 that it would reopen on Friday, May 15.
Your shopping experience is about to look different in South Florida. The Gardens Mall is planning major changes in anticipation of when they can open the doors again, and customers played a big part in that.
The Gardens Mall surveyed 13,000 shoppers to find out exactly what people are expecting when their doors reopen. Nearly 20 percent of those shoppers responded, so now the mall is using that feedback to make a plan.
"We found out they are very anxious to come back," said Nate Forbes, Managing Partner of The Forbes Company.
The Gardens Mall reopening plan
1. Curbside pickup/ home delivery
2. Reduced seating at the food court
3. Mall employees will carry cleaning supplies and be wearing masks at all times (even though the governor is not requiring them to)
4. Workers will be opening doors for guests and limiting which doors people are allowed to enter
5. Valet service is suspended
6. Bathrooms will be cleaned more frequently and have attendants during peak periods
7. Installing social distancing signage
Forbes says the mall is a "community steward" and they are dedicated to proving the safest environment and will make adjustments accordingly.
Forbes said, "We got to move forward into a new paradigm of retail. Whatever they expect, we have to make sure we are meeting that level and exceeding it, or our industry will just be in for some tough times."
The Gardens Mall says if the governor’s orders allow it, they hope to open by May 18 with new signage posted throughout the facility to encourage social distancing.
Full interview with Nate Forbes, who manages The Gardens Mall's parent company
"The health risk, we've layered on, is that going to be worth that trip to the mall, or that trip to the store," said Georgetown University Professor Wendy Zajack.
Zajack is consumer behaviors expert, and she said retailers are going to have to figure out three things to be successful.
1) Demonstrate they are taking health safety precautions seriously
2) Have experiences that are worth the health risk
3) Provide customer service online providers can't
Full interview with Wendy Zajack from Georgetown University
"They are going to have to figure out why do you need to come out to me,” pinned Zajack.
Florida-based retailer Evelyn and Arthur says it's making sure customers feel a sense of connection so they're motivated to come to their stores.
Recently, they're employees have been reaching out directly to their clients.
"[The employees] have become therapists... I mean therapists and fashion advice at the same time [fabulous]," Laughed the retail chain's owner, Adrienne Weissman.
Weissman said personal connections they've developed over the last 30 years have helped to customize the customer experience, which they find keeps shoppers coming back.
Weissman joked as if she was talking to a customer, "You've been locked up for a little while, did you gain some weight, do you need a bigger size? Or have you gone on the exercise trend and you've lost weight?"
The stores are now even hosting their own Facebook lives shows to interact with their customers.
Evelyn and Arthur new online shows, 'Almost Live With Adrianne'