Shopping malls are facing a crisis. As more and more people turn to online shopping, easy delivery options via Amazon and other retailers, and grapple with COVID-related concerns, it’s no wonder that many once-booming malls are struggling to survive. In fact, 25% of US malls are projected to close within the next five years.
However, for those that manage to hang on, there are a few ways they can reinvent themselves into commercial hubs once again. The modern customer wants a personalized, memorable shopping experience–and digital signage can help retailers provide exactly that.
Bringing Digital Signage Into the On-Premise Shopping Experience
Technology is omnipresent in most aspects of daily life–why not in shopping malls? Integrating digital signage in various forms into the retail experience has been shown to improve both engagement and purchasing rates. A Deloitte survey revealed that the majority of retailers are planning major investments in e-commerce, contactless capabilities, and store technology upgrades.
Here are few examples of what that might look like in a revitalized mall.
Gone are the days of stale static mall maps. Moving forward, these may take on the form of interactive kiosks. Customizable and engaging, these kiosks can be programmed to:
- Provide custom wayfinding, allowing customers to search for the store they’re looking for, browse through related retailers organized by category, and easy directions to wherever they’re heading.
- Highlight real-time updates on seasonal sales, events, and offers, ensuring that any store can get the news about valuable savings to potential customers even when they’re across the mall.
- Direct customers with mobile-ready solutions, by displaying a downloadable map via QR code, text, or email, to ensure they’ll know the best route to their destination.
Once customers have reached the store of their choosing, it’s likely they’ll encounter more interactive kiosks. These devices can be further used to:
- Promote both in-store and online offerings via endless aisle, which merges a store’s online and brick-and-mortar supplies to ensure customers still get the items they want even if they’re out of stock; they’ll just be delivered at a later date.
- Allows for self-check out and contactless check-out options, which gives customers a sense of involvement and ease at the point of purchase.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) options are other new facets of the modern shopping experience. According to Google, 66% of people are interested in using AR for help while shopping. This technology allows customers to test out make-up, clothes, and more all without having to physically put these items on their bodies. Given the concerns around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this gives customers a safe way to see how the items they’re interested in will look without having to handle them.
Furthermore, including these types of technology into your business enhances its modern, dynamic appeal–something a majority of shoppers rank “highly important”.
The Future of the Shopping Mall Experience
Given that digital signage is in the midst of a staggering climb–projected to become a $6.9 billion industry by 2025–as many US malls are in stagnation, leveraging this popular technology to improve customer engagement and the overall shopping experience is a smart move. It’s one way a shopping mall and its retailers can move towards unifying their online and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. If successfully implemented, digital signage may be able to breathe life into stores that have suffered in the advent of online shopping and a lengthy pandemic.