Retail Hacks by Arricano: technological solutions for a shopping mall which are relevant today

The world of retail and development is developing so quickly that the technological solutions which yesterday looked fantastical very soon may become a common practice. IT Director of Arricano Oleksandr Nemer in his column tells what technologies shall be mastered by retailers and developers first of all.

1. VR and AR as technologies for making impression over the guests of a shopping mall and for increasing loyalty

Devices of Virtual (VR) and Augmented (AR) reality soon will become as popular as mobile phones. The development of digital techniques has raised the technologies to a new level. VR and AR will become an integral part not only of entertainment, but also of other spheres of human activity, including creation of new consumer experience in retail and in shopping malls, especially by mass events, in ATL- and BTL-solutions.

The malls may use VR and AR to create an atmosphere, new consumer impressions, a participation effect. The use of these technologies by foreign retailers today is amazing. For example, Topshop on Oxford Street turned an advertising banner into an installation with a water slide.

The guests of this retailer, wearing a VR-outfit, could experience a carefree childhood, getting down from a water slide in a virtual world. To celebrate the beginning of summer Topshop presented new sensations and impressions to its consumers. The idea and the scale of the event were impressive!

The viral effect is guaranteed!

Can you imagine something like this on one of the main streets of Kyiv? One can only imagine which coordination with Kyiv City State Administration should undergo such bold ideas in the capital.

2. Big Data is a main partner of a mall and a retailer by creation of a positive consumer experience

Earlier for successful sales you just needed to segment the audience of consumers by socio-demographic characteristics to offer the right product or service, now it is necessary to know the peculiarities of behavior and lifestyle of visitors.

Today there are technological solutions that allow a shopping mall to collect data related to visiting of online trading platforms, to the behavior of a buyer in an online store, his/her “movements”, the amount of time he/she spends in a particular location, his/her preferences and the amount of money spent.

Knowing everything about the needs of a client you can offer him/her goods, services, promotions, sales, promotional videos he/she needs. In the network these technologies are actively used, but in the off-line space they are just at the stage of introduction.

In the retail real estate Big Data which allow collecting, analyzing and using of large data sets (including the results of observations of a buyer’s behavior) will become a partner of a retailer. Today, the most common way to collect information about people visiting a particular shopping mall is the analysis of GPS data received from smart phones.

A visitor's smart phone, own mobile applications and other software of stores and malls, GPS-transmitter, and Wi-Fi already allow a shopping mall to form a customer’s loyalty, developing personal relationships. Free access to Wi-Fi with a mandatory page of authorization of a visitor in the network shall become a good style. Big Data together with location-based services (LBS) allow understanding a shopping behavior of a visitor of a shopping mall, predicting it in real time, offering goods and services, using knowledge about the exact location of a guest.

3. Use of video technologies by personified communication with a visitor of a shopping mall

The analysis of demographic and psychographic data of customers collected through video surveillance and video analytics will help to improve service, to predict the model of consumer’s behavior and to target advertising.

For example, LNL Systems Company has developed a technology that uses video cameras to analyze traffic inside the stores. When a guest makes a stop, the video surveillance can help you to understand whether he/she is just looking around or needs help; besides, using this technology you can improve security by preventing theft and losses.

Another example is the service of Countbox, which is used in Europe and North America to define age, gender, ethnicity and even the mood of visitors using video cameras. Video data and video analysis allow personifying communication with a guest, creating a positive atmosphere and a positive consumer experience.

Of course, an important task for technological solutions is to assure the compliance with the rules of protection of private information and the consent of a person to the processing of personal data. But this task may be solved. For example, Irisys from Britain uses thermal cameras which do not identify faces, while San Francisco-based Prism Skylabs startup makes software in which the front and back of a video can be divided, which means that images of people, if necessary, may be erased.

This is only a small part of challenges for IT and marketing professionals in shopping malls. In addition to the above-said, the mobile applications exist. Some developments are really successful and not only provide a consumer with actual information about goods and services, but also give retailers a feedback from consumers: why they did not make a purchase, whether they come back again, which store was chosen during this visit to the shopping mall.

At Arricano we believe that such projects at the junction of IT and marketing for sure will make the market and players involved into the development of innovative technologies stronger. Finally, they will help us to survive in the war with online retailers. Will shopping malls in Ukraine use all these technological solutions? I'm sure it's only a matter of time!