The retail game plan was quite simple before the 21st century, especially shopping mall. If you have a budget, you only need to open a store and invest in some advertising space. The retail game is in a state of constant change right now, many people accuse the Internet of killing offline retail.
An official shopping mall is defined as “one or more buildings that form a store representing merchants with interconnected sidewalks that allow visitors to walk between units.” In this place, a customer can get what they want across multiple brands and sector. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) pointed out that shopping mall occupancy rates reached 93.2 percent at the end of 2015, it is the highest year-end reading since 2007.
Key challenges for shopping malls today
Lack of customer insights
Shopping malls often have limited insight collected from customers. They typically use revenue figures at the total or classification level and use the access count hardware to measure the number of visitors, but rarely collect information about different visitor characteristics.
Large shopping malls typically have limited visibility into how they work, which stores bring the most traffic, and how to make the most efficient use of equipment. More importantly, the lack of visibility leads to inefficient changes because decision-making depends on intuition rather than data.
Online competition leads to a decline in visitor flow and frequency
E-commerce has changed the retail landscape. Shopping mall not only face the competition with other shopping malls, it also faces competition from global e-retailers. The convenience feature of E-shopping indirectly reduces the flow of people in shopping malls.
What is the solution for shopping malls?
The era of shopping mall with the same big pillars has passed. Shopping mall should redesign strategic to suit the needs of target market and differentiate themselves with a first-class experience. Disruptive technology has been firmly established in almost of all industries and had a profound and lasting impact on the shopping mall.
Leverage data is important!
In the era of big data, as a decision-maker of a shopping mall, they may want to know how to use data to generate valuable insights and improve their business. For example, using data in driving traffic to shopping malls; increasing cross-selling among shops and stores and enhancing effective store arrangement, etc.
According to Lightspeed’s Retail Technology Adoption report stated that 26 percent of retailers say they plan to leverage data analytics to make better business decisions by the end of 2016. In the same way, shopping malls should do this too, data can help shopping malls create a better experience for customers and increase shopping mall overall revenue.
4 Stages of Data Journey
Big data is not technology, it is about answering business questions and creating value. Decision-maker of shopping malls can pass through four stages of data journey, from collecting data to gaining business insights.
Stage 1: Mall Systems
Most of decision-maker of shopping malls should have a CRM software to collect general information like gender, age range from your customers. They might also collect data such as browser history, address, durability through Wi-Fi system and car parking system. Some of them even have a mall application to extend network with the customers. By delivering online vouchers, member exclusive programs to further understand their interest and behaviors.
Stage 2: Shopper Identity
As there are many systems using by different departments of the company, they probably collect millions of data with duplication. It is important for the company to break down data silo (a data silo is a situation wherein only one group in an organization can access a set or source of data) and integrate the data as a shopper identifier. It helps connecting all data from the departments through customer’s personal information like phone number, email and car plate number. It merges various information of an individual into a record without repetition.
Stage 3: Features
When the staff from different departments search information of a specific customer, data lake will show its consistent features. For example, gender, age range, user journey, interest and redemption history. They can generate many other features depends on the width and depth of the data collection.
Stage 4: Use Cases
Once the data is integrated, there are several use cases to help the shopping malls obtain valuable business insights. From marketing aspect, it allows to know the customer from shopping mall and understand their individual needs. Moreover, it can conduct user journey analysis and segmentation to further study customers’ shopping behaviors and plan for target marketing in shopping mall. Decision-maker of shopping malls can also use data to customize recommendation engine in order to provide unique shopping experience to visitors. Showed as Figure 1.
What insight business can take from data?
The decision-maker of shopping malls leverage data analysis to optimize their resources, such as determine the right security services, streamline maintenance activities and better event management. Furthermore, data can help shopping malls to optimize the tenant rents based on the quality of the area, especially in densely populated areas of the shopping mall.
Improve customer experience
Online shopping offers consumers the greatest convenience which shopping malls will never be able to compete with endless product selection and price comparisons. Even so, shopping malls need to move in a different direction. Innovative shopping malls incorporate value-added elements to try to reshape the mall into a new downtown, shopping malls can base on the footfall data to organize some activities, such as live music, karaoke night, game night, and other activities. By reviewing the result of those campaigns to conduct customer analysis for measuring which events driving more visitors to their site.
Improve marketing plan
Knowing the target customer of shopping malls and what they prefer is just the first step for marketing. By analyzing customer demographic information and interests, marketers are able to create customized marketing messages. It makes the shopping mall easier to get insights into who their customers are and provide the most suitable marketing messages to them
The world of retail is changing dramatically. In order to avoid becoming a laggard that no longer meets public needs, decision-makers must expand their horizons of what a mall can be. Big data is the future for shopping mall, especially who embrace big data are more likely to succeed, they can learn and adapt faster to business needs.