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How Malls are Using Data & Technology to Improve the Shopping Experience

The demise of shopping malls has been widely discussed over the past few years. But it is not that shopping malls are dying, it’s that consumer shopping behavior is shifting, creating a need for shopping malls to evolve. A recent article on AdAge states that top quality malls, such as those operated by Simon and General Growth Properties, are continuing to thrive. Both Simon and General Growth Properties reported higher sales in 2014 and are hoping to continue this growth with some help from data and technology.

Shopping mallTo make shopping more of an experience, mall operators are turning to new technologies – testing beacons and other Bluetooth tech, Wi-Fi, LG, 4G, along with platforms like Snapchat & digital displays. At Westfield’s Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ, there are 6 life-size touchscreens that display movie trailers & retailer catalogs, have interactive directories and games, and a range of other applications.

AdAge notes that Taubman is working with StepsAway, which is a web-based third party app, to offer promotions through its Wi-Fi network. Simon, through Mobiquity Networks, has a network of Bluetooth-enabled iBeacons in common areas at most of their mall locations to provide their retailers, brands and advertisers opportunities to interact with shoppers on their phones while they are in the mall. Shoppers receive relevant and localized experiences, such as promotions, through apps that are integrated with the beacon network.

DataThrough these technologies, mall operators are able to collect data about shoppers and their habits to enhance advertising and loyalty efforts, and monitor traffic. For example, free Wi-Fi can help mall operators track how often a shopper visits a location and how long each visit lasts. Including the previous data, beacons can also help mall operators and its tenants identify what stores a shopper visits, their journey through the mall common areas & stores, and how many times they visit a specific location.

This and other types of data attract retailers, brands and advertisers because they can receive a range of information from shopper profiles to see if a potential store-front location will be a benefit, to reminding a shopper where they are parked, to providing shoppers personalized and relevant advertising promotions. There are still limitations though, particularly in relation to privacy and opt-in terms and skewed numbers because the data cannot differentiate a shopper and an employee. What will help decrease these limitations is an increasing number of retailers and mall operators sharing data to create endless opportunities.

Read original article on AdAge

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