DMM Retail Industry e-News Issue #157
Walmart’s Answer to Amazon Go – an Anti-Go Store
You’re familiar with Amazon Go, right? You walk in, you grab what you want, and without anybody there to bag your groceries and no line to wait in with your ten items or less, mobile-pay (though soon they’ll start accepting cash) and skedaddle. Walmart has come up with their own version of the store of the future, but people are still involved, just differently. Cameras and AI help keep track of inventory so staff can better restock shelves with the stuff people came there to buy in the first place. Walmart’s first 50,000-square-foot IRL (Intelligent Retail Lab) startup within the Levittown, New York, Walmart has 1,500 cameras and sensors that track everything. “If you go to Walmart to get chicken breasts, and they’re all gone, you will leave without them. Walmart loses a sale. You get angry for wasting your time. It’s bad for everyone,” writes Mark Wilson for Fast Company. What works in the lab test in Levittown will eventually be rolled out to Walmart’s 4,800 existing stores.
Malls Find New Uses, Combine Best of All Worlds
So, maybe that mall that was there for 100 years isn’t meant to be a mall like it was in the old days, but retrofitting it to be something else, and still incorporate retail – there’s the challenge. Co-working enterprises, like WeWork, are finding ways to take advantage of available retail space. According to a recent article in The New York Times, “Mall owners have a financial incentive, too. Because they tend to stay longer, office tenants can generally be a more reliable moneymaker for landlords than stores and restaurants. They can complement, too, any retail that remains in a mall. Office workers will shop, eat and otherwise inhabit the mall’s ecosystem, providing an incentive that owners and operators can use to retain and draw other tenants.” Witness the plan for one of the largest malls in the country, Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. They want to turn much of their parking area into green space and a public plaza with apartments, offices, a hotel and a park.
Using Data to Track Customers, Without Invading Privacy Too Much
The theory is retail customers don’t like being tracked and they really value their privacy. Yet they freely share vacation photos on Facebook, use geo-filters on Shapchat, and download apps without reading the fine print so they can instantly take advantage of this coupon or that deal at this restaurant or that shop. Data, from a variety of sources, has become they way to figure out who’s shopping, where their shopping, and what they’ll want when they go shopping. Location analytics will to grow to be a $15 billion industry by 2023, almost double the $8.35 billion it was in 2017. Location analytics is “a far cry from the days when mall owners would draw concentric circles on a map to determine where to advertise,” writes Lily Katz for Bloomberg. But privacy remains a concern, as Jim Taylor, CEO of Brixmor, a real estate investment trust that invests in shopping centers, said, “We don’t want to use technology in a way that erodes trust. As a shopping-center owner, you want to bring in vibrant uses that generate lots of sales, lots of traffic and allow you to grow rents over time.”
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DMM e-News - Issue #157
Morgantown Mall Morgantown, WVClick to Download PDF