Published on Friday, February 14, 2020

Wow-factor features, like water fountains, are shows to have a significant impact on ROI for retail owners.


Wow-factor features at retail centers are becoming a standard for owners, particularly in this challenging and competitive retail environment. Wow-factor features include water fountains and water shows and light shows. But, are these features worth the investment? According to Barry Caylor of Global design-build construction company OTL, these features have a significant impact on ROI for retail owners by driving consumer foot traffic and

“Wow factor amenities provide direct ROI to developers and owners in a myriad of ways,” Caylor, VP of business development at OTL, tells “Inherently, these attention-grabbing attractions deliver an immediate increase in guest numbers and in their length of stay, which in a retail environment has been proven to increase sales. Retail REIT Macerich, for example, conducts ongoing annual studies that point to fountains as key elements in increasing sales by as much as $25 more per visit.”

It isn’t only ROI. These features also drive marketing value, as well, making the property more of a destination and catching the attention of passersby. “Wow-factor water features can also deliver bottom-line marketing value. Often, OTL designs and builds fountains that launch water hundreds of feet into the air, making the property visible and noticeable to people driving anywhere near the development,” says Caylor. “This immediately creates a local landmark, and brings people in just as a large marketing sign would, but with no additional cost.”

In addition to consumer activity, these features also elevate the quality of a retail center and can attract a more desirable tenant mix. This is a benefit that could have invaluable benefits for the center. “Retail owners and developers also benefit from these amenities’ ability to attract a desirable tenant mix,” says Caylor. “Today’s retailers understand the value of water-feature-front real estate within a mixed-use or retail environment, and will pay premium rents to operate in those high-traffic areas.”

Finally, there is a community benefit as well, according to Caylor. “Another bottom-line benefit comes in the form of strong community relationships,” he says. “By introducing “wow” water features within mixed-use, public space, and retail environments, communities are delivering art, culture, and a sense of place that elevates the community and ultimately contributes to an economic rise for the development and its surrounding properties.”