Simon Tests Bringing E-Commerce Start-ups into the Mall
You might think e-commerce startups and malls make strange bedfellows, but Simon Property Group is testing what they describe as a “scalable retail platform” called “The Edit” that, according to TechCrunch, serves as pop-up space where e-commerce startups show their products to random mall shoppers. The Edit creates “a shared space where startups can benefit from the foot traffic and discover what malls provide while paying substantially less than a traditional store. The turnkey solution provides everything a startup needs to sell, including fixtures and displays, security, marketing and even background music starting as low as $500 per month.”
Another Way Malls are Embracing Technology: Chatbots!
It’s happened to all of us… we walk into a mall we’ve never been in and, while it strikes a familiar tone, it’s not the mall we’re accustomed to (heck, even your friendly e-newsletter editor recently walked into a mall he’s been going to for nearly 20 years, and he found himself discombobulated because he accessed the mall through an entrance he’d never gone through before. Whoa!). Most malls have giant maps detailing where each store can be located, color-coded and numbered very handily, but if there’s more than three or four people standing around, it might keep people from inquiring (and that’s based on a very unscientific survey). Mall of America once again used the holiday season to roll out its holiday chatbot: “customers can ask the bot questions on Mall of America’s website, mobile app or Facebook page — or simply ask Alexa — to plan ahead for their trip. Then, while shopping, they can use it to learn about deals and events, ask directions or brainstorm ideas for gifts when they’re drawing a blank.” This time Mall of America plans to keep the chatbot feature going year-round, not just over the holidays.
Your Thoughts: Should Malls do More to Lure Customers Year-round?
Malls, during the holiday season, have become synonymous with decorations, festive celebrations, Santa just as much as they have with sales. But why should the energy be limited to the holiday season? Sure, maybe it doesn’t have to be as extravagant, but maybe some cheer (holiday or otherwise) could be spread around the other ten months of the year, too? In an article on TheRealDeal,com, the CEO of retail analyst JLL said individual malls can spend up to a half-million dollars on holiday decorations. Some were even “pulling out all the stops with temporary ice rinks, Santa parades and baking classes.” Should this happen more often? What do you think? Tell us via Twitter or on our “Contact” page.
Tama’s View: ICSC’s Deal Making Show 2017
So, we’re just back from ICSC’s New York Deal Making at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. As DMM’s Publisher, some of my takeaways from the show, there is a greater understanding about how mobile device data and GPS tracking can be very useful and informative for landlords and retailers. This data can help them gain a better understanding of their consumers. A few years back when this technology was first introduced, there was more skepticism. It was all “Smoke and Mirrors.” However, I think that as the technology and the use of “Artificial Intelligence” has become more sophisticated and “smart,” there is a greater interest in its value. It can be used for such things as: visitor metrics, consumer profiling, push advertising, shopper flow studies and other associated analysis. Another observation is the number of urban shopping districts that are pro-actively working to give their merchants better insight about the activity in their area and how to drive more visitor traffic there. Learn from the data!