Shopping malls are unanimously recognized as the ultimate stalwarts of the retail expansion, importance and customer preference, even in this age of ecommerce aggression. Shopping malls are expansive, majestic and for a long, long time they are celebrating the spirit of retail dynamism, versatility and success. However, despite malls’ pervasive presence, in the age of Intelligent Technology, they cannot be stubborn anymore about staying away from deploying instances of tech advancement for surviving the ecommerce onslaught. Retail leaders have rightly foreseen that without intelligent technology no bright future awaits them. So, the focus should shift at using smart technology, matching the spirit of retail along with a creative perspective. Deploying Smart Technology helps with streamlining retail operations, tightens up security, lessens management expenditure, and seamless integrates communication, both indoor and outdoor. Intelligent technology plays the key role in bringing different sectors of malls closer, which ultimately benefits customer-retail relationship.
What is a mall? Not just a Structure – Think of it as an Entity
Malls are most commonly regarded as a giant structure, containing several Shops. However, intelligent technology has casted a major impact to this perception and provided it with a more humane, city-like entity. People who voice the deployment of small technology in malls have interpreted that with this improvement, handling the issues concerning mall management will be simpler. They have stressed that these issues of concerns are not much different from what city administrators experience, such as, operation control, real-time data collection both inside and out, audience citing only to name a few. Thanks to smart technology, modern cities are turning into Smart Cities. In the same line, the city-like entity of malls, if fused with the spirit of intelligent technology, can give birth to Smart Malls.
The one thing that tops the list of priorities for envisioning shopping malls is technological leveraging and in consequence, propelling automation, which is in accordance to the ambition of managing the expansive facility in a more efficient and cost-effective method. Operation building, control and management has become simpler and more result-oriented, thanks to the IT interference. Branded and the most recognized shopping malls are becoming increasing reliant to high speed Internet connection, be it wired or wireless. Internet is emerging as the key component in maintaining sanity within building, managing equipment and keeping a track of employees for advanced operations. However, the assistance from IT is not just about improving operations and management but smart technology, in turn, plays a crucial role in expanding business. The trick is to provide customers with increasingly convenient and safe shopping experience and in turn, the service providers enjoy profitable return from customers.
Make the Thin Line Between Online and Brick-and-mortar Clearer
Shopping malls, like any other brick-and-mortar retail business, are facing another problem – owing to their lack of technological adaption. The challenge is gradual thinning of the line between online and brick-and-mortar integration. Why this technological handicap should be overcome? Two prime reasons:
a) Enormous advent of smart mobile devices in the recent past
b) Majority of these device users (modern young generation) are preferring to buy and shop online
Considering increasing popularity of the trend, it is natural for malls to get worried as this behavior among a large section of customers doesn’t seem to be fading away soon. What can be done to stop this shift from brick-and-mortar to ecommerce? Simple! Make the line between online and brick-and-mortar integration clearer and more conspicuous, which means encouraging multichannel fulfillment among customers like never before. The ultimate result should give birth to seamless online-offline connectivity, enthralling in-person shopping experience and cost-conscious purchasing environment.
Three Channels – One Goal
Most of the mall management organizations, on the eve of implementing intelligent technology, express their concern over three channels, namely – buildings, customers and tenants. The center of focus remains seamless deployment of smart technology that caters equal benefit to each of these channels. Smart Technology makes this happen by providing better visibility to operations in terms of real-time monitoring, remote tracking and management of issues that deserve attention. Materialization of all these aspects ultimately indicates a dynamic shift from the traditional troubleshooting model to automation. The shift also marks the beginning of proactive operations, guaranteeing the scope to grab opportunities at the earliest and in a cost-effective manner.
Solution for Tenants
The demand for upscale connectivity is not only necessary for malls but also for tenants, equally. Retail leaders are of opinion that tenants encourage the idea behind workspace that are technologically superior. Why? While shopping mall tenants expect real –time connection with security and management departments, on the other hand, they require optimization of store operations. Upscale smart connectivity would guarantee them with the ability to deliver push notification to customers, such as information concerning offers and discounts, and will derive the resources for planning, strategizing and management at the same time, based on the rate of customer engagement.
Solution for Customers
Uplifting the value of core shopping experience is the primary objective that malls are trying to achieve by deploying smart technology, in-mall. Intelligent technology is the key to unlock a shopping environment that is more interactive and experiential. Establishing the connection between in-mall shopping experience and online connectivity with likeminded customers is not only benefitting for customers only but in turn also facilitate tenants and the mall.
So, what ultimately is a modern, Intelligent Mall?
A modern, intelligent mall shapes itself as per the changing customer requirement by deploying IT networks correctly. The first obstacle they need to overcome is of implementing standard-driven technology that is capable of seamless integration with different IP-based network technology. Alongside, the malls are aiming for making integration simple and user-friendly, something that is quite like ‘plug-and-play’ model. It is due to the same reason, an intelligent mall should keep ready with all types of Internet connectivity options available, combined with necessary bandwidth that will let advanced applications operate smoothly. The point of achievement is reached for a mall in satisfying the ‘intelligent’ quotient only when it elevates itself from the mere ‘point-of-sale’ environment to an interactive and experiential sales entity.
Time to Start Self-questioning
Deploying Intelligent Technology in malls is a challenge. This initiative not only requires an entire technological overhaul but also the insight to realize why the change is required. Self-questioning is the best way to develop the necessary insight in encouraging malls to implement intelligent technology and use the results as the tread to weave customer-malls-tenants closer. Let’s start with asking the following questions and based on finding, the necessary course of action should be determined,
- How smart is the mall (try to figure out by comparing and contrasting that to which extent intelligent technology has already been deployed and if that is satisfying the smartness quotient)
- How prepared the mall authority is in leveraging high speed Internet connectivity for better operations and improved relationship with both customers and tenants
Smart Shopping facilities are becoming more and more powerful every day by using smart technology and deriving the abundance of opportunities that the brave new digital world has to offer. Are you ready or simply falling behind?