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Three Reasons Why The Evolution of Malls Calls for More Technology

May 6, 2019

As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the evolution of brick and mortar retail experiences—especially in malls—is going to require more, smarter technology to deliver the best customer experiences in the real world. And as mall operators continue to fight the urban myth that they’re going the way of the dinosaurs, having access to verified, real-time data about audience behavior is going to be crucial to keeping consumers engaged, satisfied, and most importantly, spending money.

Here are three reasons that are driving the need to adopt more comprehensive technology to understand the customer journey inside your mall.

1. The Growth of Services

According to Coresight Research, consumers are continuing to grow their spending on experiences at the expense of retail purchases. The firm expects consumers to be redirecting a whopping $78 billion to discretionary services at the expense of discretionary goods by 2023. And this will be happening against a backdrop of the ever-growing spending power of millennials, along with their complex online/offline purchasing habits. Coresight Research estimates that US millennial households will wield more than $5 trillion in consumer spending by 2023.

Smart mall operators are already realizing that the ideal mix to attract today’s consumer is going to be turning their locations into an experiential destination, not just a shopping destination. And the right activations can drastically boost dwell-time.

2. The Rise of Online Retailers at the Mall

The mall mix continues to shift away from being heavily oriented in apparel which is moving more online. Mainstay mall brands like Macy’s and Sears continue to shrink their large footprints across the U.S.. In their place we’re seeing many online e-tailers, wanting to offer real-world experiences and brand engagement to their often millennial customers. This means two things:

  • Coming from the digital world, online retailers expect access to in-depth data, analysis and insights into the customer journey and audience behavior, and...
  • Understanding how experiential marketing can drive tenant revenues, and in turn grow lease income, is vital to the success of mall operators.

An article in Experiential Marketing News cited that

98 percent of consumers say they're more likely to buy a product after attending an activation. Whether a company lives online, in brick-and-mortar, or somewhere in between, in-person events carry the potential to leave a lasting impression on customers, whose attention has become a true commodity.

Key to being successful in these endeavors, is understanding the ROI derived from experiential programs, a new breed of tenant expects its landlord to provide this data and that’s where solutions like Omnee’s come into play.

3. The Opportunity for Modular Retail

Modular retail is becoming a ‘thing”, thanks to innovators like BrandBox, the brainchild of Macerich. BrandBox spaces top out at a year-long lease, vs. the three to ten years that are typically required and the concept has been tested at Tyson’s Corner in Washington D.C.. It’s designed to attract the attention of online shopping brands who want a quick, short-term commitment to see how well they can do in a brick-and-mortar setting. And in turn, these ecommerce players are often beloved by digital natives who are curious to engage with their favorite online brands IRL (in real life).

In our conversations with REITs and mall operators, it’s increasingly clear that to make significant investments in the future—investments that can dramatically improve net operating income (NOI) and boost consumer satisfaction—having access to data that can reveal just how successful early experiments are, is vital.

The problem is the lack of a single solution that can gather, analyze and draw insights from this data. Until now, that is.

At Omnee we’ve built an audience analytics platform which helps mall operators better understand the frequency, recency, dwell, and cross-shopping behavior of consumers once they enter the mall. With key demographic data, including gender and age, and anonymized device data, mall operators can more effectively measure marketing ROI, manage existing tenants, and attract future tenants. All of this is powered by AI, machine-learning and smart technology. We’d love to tell you more, you can reach us here.

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