The era of declining brick-and-mortar shopping and decreasing mall traffic is apparent. Business Insider reported that an estimated 6,400 stores closed in 2017 alone, and more will shut down in 2018. However, technology is poised to re-invent in-person retail experiences and boost sales.
In our previous blog, we explored how IoT is significantly changing the story by helping brick-and-mortar retailers reach connected customers that often prefer to buy online. Even more exciting, these technologies and strategies are widely scalable, leading the way to the introduction of connected smart malls. By aligning all aspects of the multi-store experience, retailers are making in-person shopping a highly desirable experience. Here are some examples of how IoT is enhancing the mall encounter:
- Parking assistance – One of the greatest frustrations of mall shopping is finding a parking spot – particularly in the fourth quarter and at busy times. IoT-enabled sensors can help quickly lead shoppers to the nearest open spot with ease. In smart parking garages, digital signs are displayed at the entry to each floor alerting drivers how many spots are available, with individual lights at each parking space lit up red or green to indicate a full or empty spot.
- Customer traffic data – With the help of IoT, mall traffic can be analyzed across several retailers so that the entire customer shopping journey is captured. This enables retailers to further customize in-store shopping experiences, implement rich digital marketing, or announce events to customers via their mobile devices.
- Purchasing symmetry information – Shared data can benefit multiple retailers in a way never before possible, including the opportunity to cross-sell compatible products. Imagine a scenario where a customer purchases a formal gown from a dress shop. Through shared IoT data, the customer is prompted to visit a jewelry store, encouraging the purchase of the perfect necklace to complete the outfit. Then, the shopper is alerted to a special at the nail salon, including priority scheduling to get them in and out ahead of the line.
- Connected food court – Customers visiting the mall during typical meal times will be presented with dining options and the ability to order online to eliminate lines. And those who have been shopping for hours will be reminded to hydrate with a bottle of water or perhaps recharge with a cappuccino.
Secure, managed wireless connectivity is the key to the connected mall. With reliable cellular connectivity, customer data is easily captured via smartphones. For retailers, wireless digital signs allow displays and kiosks to freely move anywhere in the mall, without requiring bulky Ethernet cables stretched across aisles at the risk of accidents. On weekdays, signage may be more effectively placed near entrances to drive traffic to less-visited areas of the mall. On busy weekends, digital displays may be adjusted to drive customers to in-mall events or attractions.
By combining IoT, big data, analytics, and marketing prowess, innovative smart malls have the potential to reinvent the in-person shopping experience and capitalize on previously missed customer opportunities.Interested in learning more about how location-based services, digital signage and other IoT capabilities that can help improve customer experiences and increase retail sales opportunities? Contact KORE today.