We live in a technology driven world, where almost every aspect of our life has somehow technology embedded in it. Functioning without technology is nearly impossible and the pandemic has amplified our reliance. As people were confined to their homes, they relied on technology more than ever for even the smallest of task. Keeping up with these changing dynamics, shopping malls too are now party to this tech cult. With e-commerce being a looming threat to the business, malls have to focus on customer satisfaction and experience to ensure customer retention and business expansion.
In contemporary times, malls have adopted technology in various ways and forms in their everyday functioning. One that has existed for a while but is becoming more popular post-pandemic is contactless payments. As the fear of transmission lingers in the air, more and more people are turning towards contactless and digital payment methods, as their preferred mode of payment. From a small kiosk to a branded store, all would provide you with the option of digital payment. This ensures smooth functioning and also the safety of those concerned.
Another growing trend in malls, is the use of apps. Many big stores in malls both retail and service, are coming up with their own apps. These apps are intended to enhance customer experience, by providing them a variety of options. Some of them include making reservations, appointments, discount, offers, rewards system, product recommendation, etc. Stores see this as one time investment. The app would not only improve customer experience but would also increase the recall value and brand position. In fact, malls are now launching their own apps altogether. These apps offer customer holistic benefits that are not just restricted to just one store. They may contain information in regards to the latest discount or new product offering the stores at the mall have to offer.
In the backdrop of the pandemic, these apps have proved to provide malls great assistance in crowd control and safety measures. The app would have multiple slots available for limited number of people. Customers had to book slots according to their convenience and availability of the slots. This aided malls in ensuring that lockdown rules were adhered by and social distancing was in place.
To increase customer footfall, stores have started ditching static displays and are opting for digital displays and LED screens. The fluorescence are more eye-catching and would grab the attention of a person even from a distance.
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence
Malls have started using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to take customers on a stimulating experience. The AI and AR industry continues making significant advancements and will be the next revolutionary advancement to hit the retail industry. Stores across the globe are experimenting with self-checkout counters, scanners and sensors that allow customers to easily pay for their purchases without standing in queue to checkout. This is helping stores save on space that would be taken up by a traditional cashier counter. Customers save up on time and given the current situation it is a much safer option for everyone. The future of retail shopping will also see more AR embedded shopping experience. Changing rooms could soon be a thing of a past, as AR would let customer’s view different clothing, accessories, and beauty products without physically trying them on, in real time.
Malls are using interactive maps that are stationed around different points instead of having a static map. These maps are a visual treat to the eyes and are more informative for customers, giving them an overview of the stores and basic information pertaining to them that would give customers a better understanding of what the store has to offer.
Malls are also investing in technology that would help customer facilitate real-time parking. Guiding them to the available parking spot and avoiding them the trouble of running in circles. Ensuring that the customers have an enthralling experience before they even step in.
As online shopping and e-commerce continues growing popular amongst people, it is necessary that malls evolve, innovate and create enduring experiences. Customer satisfaction and retention should be their utmost priority. They must adapt and be in-sync with all recent advancements and developments. The aim should be to create captivating experience every visit.