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How Digital Mall Mapping Platforms are Expanding the Omnichannel Shopping Experience for Retail Centers

It's no secret that the retail industry is in a state of flux. With the rise of online shopping and changing consumer habits developed during the pandemic, traditional brick-and-mortar retail properties have been forced to rethink their business models. If you haven’t taken notice, the way in which retail centers and mall properties merge the online world to in-person shopping is changing at lightning-fast speeds.

As shoppers return to in-person shopping, one of the big buzzwords in the industry is omnichannel retail. In its simplest terms, omnichannel is a lead-nurturing and user engagement approach in which a company gives consumers access to its products or services on all channels, platforms, and devices. When we break that down, the goal for retailers is to reach their customers where they are. This may be online, on social media, within the retail center, or ideally a combination of many outlets to create a true omnichannel experience.

If we look at the in-person shopping experience, providing on-premise digital solutions and mall maps that link shoppers to the online experience is a key focus for retail centers and mixed-use properties. Many of these properties are turning to digital mall maps and directory platforms as a way to improve the omnichannel shopping experience and reach in-person shoppers.

  Two girls using an interactive mall mapping kiosk to find products and stores.  

What is digital mall mapping and how are these systems evolving?

Have you ever noticed or used those large-format static DIRECTORY kiosks when you enter a mall property? They've been around for ages and many retail centers still use them. They provide visitors with basic navigation and the ability to find stores by referencing a color-coded map. While these systems work for the intended use, they offer little flexibility for automatically updating content and messages tailored to the customer standing in front of them.

As we look to the future, digital mall maps and directory platforms can provide valuable information to both shoppers and property managers. On the basic level, this includes turn-by-turn directions and the location of each store in the mall, what sales are being offered, and the ability to compare various stores that sell a given product. More importantly, interactive mall maps drive traffic to retailers and help shoppers find what they are looking for quickly.

These digital experiences also connect with online resources to pull real-time data on inventory, promotions, events, and more. In addition, they offer retailers the ability to showcase their brand through interactive displays and collect important real-time insights and consumer data.

How are retail centers and mixed-use properties using digital directories and interactive mapping solutions to improve the omnichannel experience?

To make it a true omnichannel experience, retail properties aren’t just implementing interactive kiosks at the property, they’re integrating the same digital mall maps within their website and mobile platforms. This allows shoppers to start their shopping journey online via their computer or phone, and continue in the mall on their phones or via the large format digital mall mapping kiosk. By integrating the experience across all endpoints, the digital platform provides a seamless, personalized, and convenient shopping experience for any type of consumer.

Digital retail mapping and directory solutions have come a long way from their start and good software platforms will provide a flexible solution to use across all potential endpoints: web, mobile, social, and in-person (kiosk or digital signage). In order to provide the best omnichannel shopping experience, it is important for retail centers and malls to have a digital mall mapping and directory solution that can unify all of these channels.

Wayfinder - Digital Directory - Retail

What sort of features can I expect with digital mall mapping solutions and how will they benefit our property?

  • Better directions and wayfinding:

    With a clear and highlighted route to the endpoint, shoppers can quickly find what they're looking for without getting lost. With Acquire's Wayfinder platform, shoppers can search the directory with filters, by product, keywords, or by typing in a product or store via the search bar. The system calculates the amount of time it takes to get to an end-location and even considers ADA or multi-modal transportation methods. This type of mapping and wayfinding experience drive traffic to retailers quickly, while making it easier for shoppers to navigate on the go.
  • Using the directory kiosks to drive shoppers to online platforms:

    If used correctly, on-premise displays can drive customers from the kiosk back to the online experience (and vice versa, by driving online users to the in-person kiosk experience). Through a mobile handoff, customers can search for an endpoint or product on the display, and send the store information and directions to their mobile device by scanning a QR code, NFC scan, or text message to open the mobile responsive HTML version of the map.
  • Better analytics to improve conversions and consumer data:

    By understanding how shoppers move throughout the property, retail centers can identify choke points, high traffic areas, and problem areas. This can be measured using the built-in camera housed inside of the kiosk. Additionally, by tracking consumer interactions with on-property displays, retail center operators can see what content is being viewed most often and for how long. With this data in hand, properties can bring in retailers to address what shoppers are looking for or to improve other property experiences.
  • Tailored advertisements and promotional content:

    By understanding what shoppers are looking for and where they are going, retail centers can use the interactive directory kiosks to display targeted content to shoppers. This might include advertisements for specific or newly opened stores, information about current sales or promotions, or even just a reminder that the shopper left something in their car.

    DOOH Advertising Kiosk for a mixed use mall property.
  • Improving the in-person experience and having some fun along the way

    Good mall mapping systems will offer additional features to allow customers to purchase movie tickets, make dinner reservations, take branded selfies, or even a two-way video calling feature to connect shoppers to guest services or emergency personnel. Having these extra features expand the possibilities and improve the overall on-promise digital experience.

    DOOH Advertising Kiosk for a mixed use mall property.

In conclusion, digital maps and directory platforms are transforming the omnichannel shopping experience for retail centers. By providing an easy way to find what you are looking for, digital mall mapping solutions help malls keep shoppers engaged and coming back for more. Acquire Digital is at the forefront of this digital transformation with its industry-leading Wayfinder platform and thousands of satisfied retail deployments.

Looking for a digital mall mapping solution for your retail center? Contact Acquire today to learn more about how we can help you drive traffic and improve the shopper experience. Thanks for reading!

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