Can Personalization Save Shopping Malls?

The development of ecommerce is impacting shopping malls. Traffic and sales are down significantly. 2017 was a especially poor year for brick-and-mortar retailers, with countless declared store closures.

In this difficult environment, mall operators and their retailers want to remain relevant. By utilizing technology in the perfect way, however, malls can bring the visitors back. In this post, I will describe how.

How to Personalize Mall Shopping

Personalize the product offerings at the mall for each visitor. Personalization across all the shops in the mall will drive more visitors and generate increased revenue. Shoppers will have to get a mobile app to make this work, as follows.

  • Mobile app. The mall would provide a mobile app for people. This app would connect to all of the shops in the mall. The app would discover the location of the consumer from the mall, to push promotions depending on the proximity to particular shops.
  • User Details. To allow customization, shoppers could save in the mobile app relevant information about themselves and friends and loved ones. This may include preferred colours, food and beverage, shopping history, wish lists, apparel sizes, and much more.
  • Connect to shops. The app would connect directly to the shops in the mall and have real time access to their stock.
  • Personalize. The app would use user information to personalize the shop offerings and the related promotions.

Thus, when shoppers are in a mall, the app would detect their place and begin personalizing the experience. This means that the shoppers can see, as examples:

  • Real-time stock in shops that matches their size and tastes;
  • Relevant promotions, such as items in wish lists;
  • Gift tips based on forthcoming birthdays and anniversaries;
  • Food recommendations.

Shoppers could take various actions from the app. When a shopper enters a mall, the app would detect his place and show him clothes that fit his size and colour preferences. He could get it directly from the app or visit the shop to test it on and then purchase it. He could also make appointments, possibly for shopping assistance or a haircut.


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Shops would also know that a person with his profile is at the mall. The shops could create dynamic promotions for this individual and push them to the app. This is very similar to someone checking into a restaurant with the Foursquare app and getting a discount on meals and beverages.

Stores would have to have backend systems to monitor real-time inventory and incorporate it with the app. This is easier for the smaller shops, with less stock.

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All of this information would come together to personalize the experience.

Unmatched Client Experience

Larger retailers have technology in place and might allow this sort of capability relatively fast. However, for the app to succeed — for larger retailers to generate more revenue — it must incorporate all shops in the mall. The sum of all of the parts in this instance is greater than one part or a single shop doing this alone.

Particular mall operators, such as Westfield and Simon, have offered mobile apps. But they don’t offer real-time stock and personalization.

Shopping malls could offer a customer experience that’s unmatched by pure-play ecommerce. But they will need to step their game up to entice visitors to return.

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