How Beacon and WiFi Technology is Revolutionizing the Shopping Mall Experience

23rd May 2017

While at the mall, chances are you’ve asked – “Excuse me, where’s the restroom?” or “Which floor is Macy’s on?” but at some point or another, you’ve most definitely exchanged phone calls asking – “Where are you?” or “Can you meet me at the Food Court?

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It’s because a shopping mall is so much more than what it’s made out to be. Some people like to think of it as a symbol of global consumerism; a place of appetite and indulgence. But what they don’t realize is that a shopping mall, before anything else, is a shared public space. It’s where people come to be with their friends, family and community. Come to think of it – the shopping mall is actually the new ‘town square’.

While implementing technology initiatives in shopping malls today, it’s easy to assume that only social media, targeted advertising and chasing Pokemon are important to the digital consumer. However, it’s important to remember that shopping malls are also a place for social interaction and mall technology should be able to facilitate that as well.

Let’s look at how WiFi and beacon technologies can cater to most of the needs of digital consumers:

Assisting Customers With Mall Navigation

Without adequate signage, it’s difficult to locate facilities and stores in malls. And if the mall is particularly large with over 200 tenants, it can be a very frustrating experience for customers. Installing robust WiFi and beacons can allow shoppers to locate stores, restrooms and food courts by giving them directions in real-time.

Customers spend a considerable amount of time at kiosks, looking at floor plans and trying to locate their favorite stores – if you implement WiFi and beacon technologies, that can be a thing of the past.

Showing mall visitors the route to their favorite brand isn’t the only function WiFi and beacon technology is good for – it can also be used to:

  • Locate vehicles in parking lots
  • Find emergency exits
  • Provide management with real-time notifications of developing bottlenecks and supply shoppers with estimates of wait times

Pinpointing The Exact Location of Store Merchandise

Remember how many times we’ve scurried to the mall hoping to quickly buy a light bulb and leave? But what do we end up with? A guilt trip instead of the light bulb – for having purchased things we don’t need.

Well, with beacons, this situation is not likely to be repeated. They can direct a customer to the exact location of a desired merchandise. Being able to search individual products is going to be particularly convenient to customers who come in with a shopping list. It can save them a lot of valuable time.

If you’re wondering if beacons can actually enable this level of product search ability, look at the multinational retailer, Carrefour. They have been successfully using beacons to allow in-store navigation. Surely, their customers save both time and guilt trips. Also, their customers will never blame them for trying to trick them into buying things they never intended to.

Deliver Personalized Experiences to Mall Visitors

While location technologies can certainly help boost revenue by guiding traffic to stores, its real value lies in improving the overall experience of a visitor.

When customers connect to the shopping mall WiFi, mall owners can track how often a customer visits a particular location and the total duration of each visit. Using beacons, a customer’s entire journey through the mall can be understood – which stores he visits, which facilities he uses, which are the common areas where he spends most of his time, etc. All these data can then be used to personalize the experience of a mall visitor by providing meaningful engagement in relevant locations.

Next time that visitor walks into the mall, he will be sent a welcome message – no, not a generic message but one that addresses him by his name – “Welcome back to the Mall of Eden, Mr. Sterling.” Based on his previous visits and the data that was collected, he’ll probably also be sent information on the latest trends and a coupon to redeem at his favorite store.

Find and Meet Friends Who Are Also In The Shopping Mall

Trying to find friends or family members in crowded shopping malls is very inconvenient. And this inconvenience turns to paranoia, if it’s a child one is trying to locate. This is where beacons can be used to power location in mobile apps, even when they are indoors and have no access to GPS.

Beacons can calculate the real-time location of a person and display it is as a dot on the indoor map of the mall. One can get directions to it and reach the person safely and easily. Its is one of the most valuable features mall owners can provide to their visitors. After all, a mall is supposed to bring people together and let them have a good time, without fear of missing out or being lost.

Make a Relationship and Not Just A Sale
Improving the efficiency of marketing efforts and enhancing the visitor experience are not mutually incompatible goals: increasingly, they amount to doing the same things. The key to accomplishing both is to know where and who your customers are and that is exactly what BLE and WiFi beacons allow you to do.

Our location analytics and engagement tool, Proximity MX lets you do just that. If you want to learn more how Proximity MX can help you know, connect and engage your customers, click the below button to get a free demo of our tool.

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