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SXSW Interactive 2013

The Death of the American Mall

The retail mall holds an increasingly complex position in the grand narrative of American commerce. Once a symbol of unchecked consumerism, it has since fallen victim to post-collapse pessimism — an institution that couldn’t withstand the shift to digital life. As the App Store surpassed half a billion apps by 2012, online retail exploded. Between 1994 and 2011, Amazon grew to revenues of $50 billion, and thousands followed.

And so, as one institution collapsed, it was assumed, another permanently took its place. But has it? Some consumer shifts suggest we can bridge the gap between digital habits and our brick-and-mortar past — but not at the cost of online convenience. In this conversation, we’ll look toward the future of brick-and-mortar and the emerging technologies that could guide it — from software to hardware, Google Wallet to Apple Passbook, to customer service, to the physical layout of stores. All of these changes: promising and available. But is it too late?

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  1. How is mobile affecting brick-and-mortar?
  2. When are brick-and-mortar retailers becoming digital?
  3. How is technology changing the layout of brick-and-mortar retailers?
  4. What is the future of mobile payments at brick-and-mortar retailers?
  5. How are mall infrastructures changing to accomodate digital trends?


  • Rameet Chawla, Architect, Fueled
  • Ryan Matzner , Director, Fueled


Brady Donnelly, Editor, Fueled

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Art and Inspiration
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced
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