Photo Credit: PLAYTIME, LLC

Many major retailers and box stores are struggling to meet the challenges of competing with the online giants like Amazon. With the undeniable conveniences offered by these online megastores, how can traditional retailers survive?

Retailers need every advantage they can get. Getting creative by crafting unique shopper experiences is perhaps the biggest advantage the brick and mortar stores have over websites like Amazon— they can create memories. It takes more than just great deals to attract customers, and keep them coming back, and the potential for a fantastic customer experience is something that e-commerce simply can’t offer.

One way to offer both the convenience of online shopping and a memorable customer experience, it’s to offer play areas for children. These help keep kids happy and entertained, and give parents a chance to shop in peace. As a partner to many major retailers PLAYTIME helps create play experiences that enhance the family shopping experience.

It may sound dramatic, but it’s true; major retailers are dying. Their days of ruling the shopping roost are over, and now they are in a battle to increase their draw by any means they can. One edge that traditional retailers have over online stores is their ability to create a memorable shopping experience, one which customers will be willing to forgo the conveniences of online shopping for. Many retailers are already creating memories for customers, who are willing to go out of their way to spend time there because it is such a positive experience.

One brand that takes this to the next level is Ikea, offering dining options and safe, themed play areas for kids. These play areas are a major draw for both parents and kids. Parents are able to shop undistracted, safe in the knowledge that their children are being looked after. Kids, meanwhile, are having a blast in Småland, a supervised children’s play area that replicates the look of a typical Swedish farmhouse and forest. For children who stay with their parents while they shop, there are additional play areas throughout the store, which keep kids entertained, and even allow them to try out products that their parents are considering. The entire store, and brand, has been purpose built to be family friendly, and as such families look forward to going there.

Not all brands are adapting, and they are paying the price. Some of the best-known retail giants in the US are now hemorrhaging money and closing stores instead of watching the market and evolving by upgrading its customer experience. When the brick and mortar store is no longer a necessity to get what you need, companies need to add value elsewhere.

Today, many traditional retailers are in a desperate situation, as Amazon and others expand into virtually every corner of daily life. But all is not lost. Just as print media continues to grow even with the threat of the e-book, so too can traditional retailers continue to attract customers. This is because in an age of convenience and instant gratification, people want a fun, memorable experience, and they are willing to pay to get it.

PLAYTIME can leverage the power of play and create innovative design structures to shape customer’s shopping journeys and in that experience create new value for them. Together we can disrupt the market by uniquely positing your brand as a destination, appealing to customers’ inner child, where families are entertained during an otherwise routine shopping trip. To check out some of our retail play area experiences and learn more about how we can help create memories at your retail location, visit