Shopping malls and REITs have taken a bit of a battering in the past decade thanks to the ecommerce and online retail alternatives that have become available to time-constrained consumers. However, even with access to online retailing, consumers are still likely to visit physical retailers for various reasons ranging from physical product validation to experiential inclinations. Innovative shopping mall owners and REITs recognize that the retail experience now spans both the realms of online and traditional in-store shopping.
This is a notion supported by research from Russell Research, which found that:
“Two-thirds of holiday shoppers (67%), including three-quarters of Millennials (76%) and more than seven in ten from Generation X (72%), indicate they have purchased a gift at a store’s mall location after browsing their website.”
Once a consumer has researched and determined the product they plan to purchase using online tools, they still make their way to the mall to purchase the physical item. The next step in their purchasing journey typically involves consumers using their smartphone to actually navigate to the mall, and plan the quickest route to the exact store. The first step in that process, getting to the mall using smart phone navigation and GPS locating technology, is now an expected experience. However, the second step of navigating through a large, complex mall, is less intuitive, with most malls depending on static signage kiosks to provide navigational cues.
Some of the more innovative shopping malls have already begun to integrate indoor mapping services into their mobile devices, making it easier for shoppers to find the quickest, most convenient route throughout the mall. By creating a more convenient, personalized shopping experience, indoor maps of malls have the ability to improve foot traffic and increase sales for retail tenants.
“Shoppers favour malls with mobile apps, which bridge the divide between digital and physical retail. However, bridging the gap is not without challenges.”
- Russell Research
Getting shoppers to and through the mall is half the battle. For mobile apps to truly revolutionize the shopping experience, interactive indoor maps are an integral part of the next generation shopping mall app.
At a basic level, shopping mall indoor maps can create powerful wayfinding experiences, and reduce a lot of the stress involved with the shopping experience. To create an enjoyable indoor wayfinding experience, enterprise wayfinding platforms must combine indoor mapping services, content management, and ensure that all of their vendors are interoperable and have an open architecture. To do this, developers simply need to integrate their indoor maps with location-aware technologies and whichever third party applications they choose to use in order to deliver on their use cases. In some cases, that might mean focusing on improving convenience for shoppers and employees, and in other instances the target might be the ability to deploy hyper-relevant content across specific locations and devices to create real-time buying moments.
Enhancing shopping mall apps with indoor mapping and location-aware technology will give mall owners a distinct advantage over their competition by delivering increased value to tenant retailers and creating exceptional customer experiences. Mobile apps with indoor navigation are the first step to bridging the divide between the online and physical shopping experience.