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inurface innovation hub; shopping malls and interactive experiences 

Shopping malls are the focus of this weeks blog! In this edition we’re starting our new series ‘inurface innovation hub’. inurface innovation hub is dedicated to bringing you new, exciting and innovative ideas that provide inspiration for developing new interactive technologies. 

To kick off we’re taking a closer look at shopping malls, centres, hubs, spaces – whatever you want to call them. We are going to be considering exactly why people would still want to go to shopping malls, how they are going to change over the next few years and how we can make them more interactive and experiential by using our simple wayfinding totem. 

Shopping malls – why would people want to go to them? 

The first shopping mall as we know it opened over 60 years ago in Edina, Minnesota. Often anchored by a large department store and surrounded by a mix of smaller stores, shopping malls are a great one stop place to get everything you need. 

Nowadays shopping malls are found in most cities and towns in all shapes and sizes. Larger shopping destinations like Dubai Mall, Westfield Shopping Centre and Bluewater are recognised the world over. The popularity of shopping malls has seen them pop up across most of the world ranging in lower end facilities with a few shops and a fast food restaurant to higher end designer destinations with hundreds of stores and multiple restaurants, bars and experience centres. 

For many years shopping malls were loved by all, until they started to kill the high street and online shopping began to boom. With many turning to online shopping and spending less time on the high street, shopping malls began to lose stores with many struggling to pay the expensive rent that comes with a place in a popular centre. Reports now suggest that post COVID-19 58% of consumers expect enclosed-mall shopping to be less popular, so how can we change thatt?

The future of shopping malls 

According to research, the future of shopping malls will see technology used in more advanced, interactive ways. Whereas in the past it has been used for logistics, in the future it will be used to interface and communicate with consumers armed with their own shopping technologies. Research suggests shopping malls, centres, hubs – whatever you call them will become centres for experience and shoppers will go to meet with like minded people and partake in experiences. 

Considering this, we are taking our simple wayfinding totems and bringing 3 innovative, interactive ideas that can transform wayfinding totems into experiences.

3 ways to make shopping malls more experiential

 1. Geolocation based discount codes and vouchers

Did you know almost 20% of gen Z want promotions sent to their phones whilst they’re in store? Queue geolocation based discount codes…

With this experience, users will be able to access exclusive discounts and codes to receive promotional prices across certain stores. A bit like what Bicester Village already does with their email based discounts, but instead we would use wayfinding totems. Each shopping centre visitor would be able to activate the totem by touch, voice or head gestures to navigate to the discounts section. 

Each store would be able to use the totem to offer location and time based discounts for visitors at times they choose. For instance, if H&M were offering 25% off their home range at 2:30-3:30 on a selected day visitors would be able to simply select the voucher, scan the QR code on the totem with their phone and receive the offer straight to their device to use in stores.

2. Digital restaurant bookings and availability checker

Going to shopping malls is always fun until it gets to lunch time and you along with every other visitor gets hungry and heads for the restaurants. We are proposing a booking and availability checker system. Each wayfinding totem would be equipped with a list of all bars and restaurants on site, showing their current and future availability to help customers decide where to go before heading all the way to there and being turned around due to full capacity. 

Visitors would simply be able to use any wayfinding totem in the mall and select the restaurant or bar they wanted to go to, check the current availability, or make a future booking. For bookings, visitors can then scan the booking confirmation QR code and receive the information along with updates to the phone to remind them of their upcoming booking.

3. Centralised Return Hubs

Returning items is always annoying. Having to trek from one end of the shopping centre to the other. Well with centralised return hubs life is made easy. Simply bag up your return items as you usually would, keep the returns QR code or number handy on your phone and head to your nearest mall housing your shops of choice.

Locate one of our wayfinding totems and enter in your return details. You will then be prompted to drop off your unwanted items in the returns box adjacent to the totem and you’re all sorted! Then you will receive a confirmation of drop off and your refund in line with the shop’s refund policy time.

We have been working with shopping outlets for many years and have lots of experience in making our solutions fully bespoke to individual brand needs. When it comes to shopping malls we offer so much more than just digital screens and wayfinding totems, and all of our offerings can be designed and installed fully bespoke to your needs. So whether it’s interactive solutions, wayfinding systems, digital LED and LCD screens, audio systems…or just about any other digital solution you can think of, we can help!

Join our bright connected world today and we can help build your idea!