You know how everyone keeps exclaiming that Netflix is going to leave movie theaters in its dust? But then a movie like Black Panther hits and the screens and you know the rest. The magnificent large screen movie watching experience isn’t going anywhere.
The same applies for shopping malls too. The growth of e-commerce may pose some challenges to shopping mall revenues, but the experience of visiting a mall and relishing the larger than life aesthetics, awe inspiring festivities, the aroma of fresh merchandise, the bling and rustle of decadent fashion, products that you can touch and feel and try on and be left in awe of, all of this sensory gratification is too strong a force to reckon with and that is why, there will always be galleys of visitors to a shopping mall. The mall will thrive, no matter how big the Amazon economy gets.
The only change that has come is that shopping malls now have to brace for the disruption and become more tech savvy. They need to add a layer of fingertip convenience over the magic of sensory experience.
And that they can! With a great mobile app, they can do what no e-commerce business can.
Shopping malls can make the magnificent real life experience even more convenient with technology. No online store on the other hand, can give you that kind of sensory experience on a mobile screen.
Shopping malls today need to understand that the customers have no time for sauntering around clueless. The modern customers are accustomed to control. A mobile app that lets them better experience your mall, gives them that control. So today, let’s talk about how shopping malls can leverage mobile apps to give their customers more power, and create more personalized shopping mall experiences for them that will keep them coming to the mall over and over again.
1. First, Make Them Want To Come To the Mall
So how do you convince a customer to get themselves off the comfortable couch, drop the addictive phone, ignore the convenience of doorstep delivery and actually bring themselves to a mall?
Well, easy. Just show them how much fun it is, and then make it easy for them to come.
There are quite a few things that dissuade people from coming to a mall. Deciding which one to go to is one of them. Which one has better deal at this time of the season? Where’s the best sale going on? Which one is the least crowded at this time? Will I have to waste 40 minutes looking for a parking spot again?
Those are some of the biggest questions that a person would think of before coming to a mall. If a mobile app can give them easy answers to these questions, they’d be much more likely to visit the mall.
Shopping malls can give the customers plenty of great reasons to come pay a visit. Inform them of the best deals going on or tell them about the new restaurants you opened. Share enticing real-time pictures of the lively yet not-too-much crowd there. Show them the fastest routes to the mall from their current location and tell them how soon they can reach. That’s how a mall can truly make people drop their second thoughts and quickly drive down for a great time at the mall.
2. Make It Easy To Come – Traffic, Routes and Parking
One of the biggest deterrents that restrict mall visitors is the hassle of getting there. Most people fear getting stuck in traffic and wasting precious hours of their time. To help them with this, a mobile app can track analytics and help customers find the best times to visit, based on the routes they frequent? The app can identify the times that see lowest traffic on their route and correlate it with the times when each customer usually likes to spend time recreating.
The result would be a personalized recommendation for each customer, as to what’s the best time for them to visit the mall. Coupling it up with easy driving maps will make the app even more helpful.
The next massive villain is parking. Not finding a good parking spot, or worse, discovering that the parking is full after all that ordeal through traffic, is downright frustrating.
A mobile app can mitigate a large part of that frustration. Malls should really invest in developing intelligent parking solutions. The customers can be notified of the probability of available parking based on their estimated time of arrival. If unavailable, they can inform visitors of alternate parking availability in the area. A mobile app that can efficiently simplify parking will truly help increase a mall’s customer footfall and also make them so happy that they come back all the time. The FastMall app is a successful example of how an app can make coming to a mall easier.
3. In-Mall Navigation
With millions in square footage and tens of miles of walking spaces, modern malls are undoubted far too much to explore on foot in one visit. Even if a mall isn’t quite as big as The Dubai Mall or The Mall of America, it is still too much for an average just-looking-for-some-weekend-shopping customer to handle all alone. A mobile app that makes navigating a mall easy can help customers better enjoy their visit.
Every customer’s needs are different. One may be out buying high-street fashion while another may be looking for toys on sale. Everything from which gate the customer chooses to enter, to which elevator she takes up the mal makes a difference in how soon she will find what she needs. It is hard to go searching for the right store on the right side of the right floor to find the right product. It would be infinitely easier to just order on Amazon, unless the mall makes its customer’s life easier.
So investing in a mobile app seems like the perfect solution here as well. The app can not only give the customers easy interactive floor maps, but go a step further. A mobile app, thanks to the immense power of analytics, can understand the stores that a customer likes to visit frequently. With the help of geo-fencing then, it can send the customer alerts on special ongoing offers when the customer is on that floor or in the proximity.
Additionally, a mobile app can help customers find the nearest restroom, fire exit or staircase. The app can even tell customers if wheelchairs, trolleys or strollers are available. In fact, to save them the hassle, the app can help customers book these services and have the wheelchair or trolley brought to them wherever they are.
Payment And Checkout Apps
Picture this, you’re at a mall and you’re starving. You can see your favorite restaurant across the promenade, but you are stuck at the billing counter of the fashion store, waiting for your turn. Haven’t you wished you could leave your cart here and let the staff bill it while you visit the restaurant? You can be notified through the mall app and make an online payment when the billing is done, and collect the bags on your way out. Oh what fun!
A mobile app can help its customers escape the queues and just enjoy the visit while everything else gets taken care of by the app. Everything that currently causes friction in the mall going experience can be effectively mitigated with an app, allowing customers the true experience of fun, friends and festivities at the mall. With this fuzzy blanket of technology wrapped around the vibrant indulgence that a mall offers, shopping malls can reclaim their place as the favorite place for shoppers.