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The future of shopping? It's all about the experience

Department stores used to be what pulled people into the malls, but these days that's changing. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- The way you shop now might be in the history books someday.

Deb Miller, of Boulevard Strategies, said department stores used to be what pulled people into the malls, but these days that's changing.

"Amazon plays the convenience game, because how easy is it for you to sit on your couch, browse through Amazon or any on line site and shop. Whereas in traditional retail, I have to get in my car. I have to drive. I have to park. I have to walk into the mall, and then I walk through store-by-store by store to find what I'm looking for."

Miller said shoppers now want a whole experience as opposed to just going into the store, buying an item and then leaving. She said some malls are making changes.

"They're putting facilities in like ski slopes, ice rinks, amusement parks, water parks, things like that because people will go to the mall to do things. They'll go for active-based entertainment. They'll also go for passive-based entertainment, like eating in a great restaurant."

Lee Peterson, of WD Partners, said retailers have to change their way of thinking in order to survive.

"People don't have to go to stores anymore," he said. "They have to want to go to stores."

Peterson said consumers want three things: convenience, discount and experience. He said part of that experience could be a restaurant, cafe, coffee shops, or live music, adding it could also include an area where you would get to interact with the product before buying it.

"You would scan everything on your phone, and press enter," he said. "And when you got time to check out, and you were finished shopping, you would press buy, and everything would show upon this side of the store when you pulled your car around and left."

He says the key is staying fresh, so customers don't get bored.

"If it doesn't change," said Peterson. "You're going to see a lot more Westlands and Northlands and City Centers."

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