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Sensormatic at Mapic Digital 17-18th November 2020

November 11, 2020 BySensormatic News Desk

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The future of malls beyond COVID-19

Beyond the current need to focus on safety, occupancy, social distancing, and mask detection in order to create a safe environment for customers as well as to trade as effectively as possible, there is clearly a world for malls beyond COVID-19 that is different from what we see today. Fortunately, property owners are taking the pandemic in their stride and looking to a brighter future, building on what they have been doing over the last five years.

Shopping centre owners are partnering with retail entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors to reimagine this future by testing new concepts, establishing technology and infrastructure that serve omnichannel retailers, and examining how they evolve the offering to best serve the future of commerce.

And to keep pace with rapidly evolving consumer demands, innovative malls will incorporate value-added elements with a focus on experience and convenience. Many are already on course to reinvent themselves as the new ‘town square’ or community hub, including arts centres, crèches, spas, fitness clubs, and farmers’ markets.

The K11 mall in Shanghai has analysed its target audience’s lifestyles and created a new blend of retail, leisure and hospitality. Younger, affluent shoppers like to make purchases and then show them off, so the mall features digital touchpoints that enable them to set up photo shoots with their friends to share on social media. The mall also features a museum, a members’ club, and classes in areas ranging from wine tasting to art history, which complement the many luxury boutiques.

The K11 mall in Shanghai has analysed its target audience’s lifestyles and created a new blend of retail, leisure and hospitality. Younger, affluent shoppers like to make purchases and then show them off, so the mall features digital touchpoints that enable them to set up photo shoots with their friends to share on social media. The mall also features a museum, a members’ club, and classes in areas ranging from wine tasting to art history, which complement the many luxury boutiques.

In Dubai, Cityland Mall features an open-air garden in the centre, a 12-screen cinema, 75 restaurants and space for 350 shops over 2.2 million square feet, anchored by a Carrefour hypermarket. Meydan One plans a 1km indoor ski slope, Crystal Lagoon with 500 metres of beaches and a water park and a 380-metre-long dancing fountain and a 4000-square-metre electric go-karting track.

The objective is to make malls more attractive not just for shopping but for every kind of out of home experience, with the goal of encouraging shoppers to stay all day. Or even longer. Some property developers think multi-use for living, working and entertainment - cinemas, apartments, co-working office space and distribution centres for ecommerce fulfilment. The government of Dubai plans to open a new free trade zone for e-commerce named Dubai Commercity, which will provide a base for online retailers. The free zone will house 12 buildings including a business cluster, logistics centre and a social centre.

All of these developments are now discovering that they have even greater relevance as covid continues to affect people’s movements. The combination of retail, leisure and accommodation provides the feeling of city living but in a safer environment attractive to consumers looking for safe public spaces.

Shopping centres are clearly experimenting to find the perfect balance of retail, residential, hospitality and leisure. They see a future where online and offline are indivisible, in tune with the way consumers shop.

The success of this new generation of shopping mall will however depend on data and insight. In order to collaborate, the many partners in these developments will need a shared view of data on site traffic, dwell times, journeys and behaviour. This will enable them to optimise their operations to ensure visitors have the best possible experience. Key areas include staff scheduling, way finding, tenant mix, security and safeguarding, and busiest shopping days promotions.

By bringing all this data together, Sensormatic’s real-time analytics enables property managers to visualize and understand traffic patterns - the busiest areas and times - to explore new leasing models and enhance tenant mix. By adding data from Sensormatic’s market intelligence solutions, property managers can benchmark their own shopping centre’s traffic against others for additional insights.

In a COVID-19 world, Sensormatic is enabling property owners to leverage their existing counting solutions to add a real-time occupancy solution that enables them to accurately understand shopper density. They can then follow local or government regulations on social distancing, meet maximum limits and improve traffic management.

Building a future in the shadow of a pandemic is not what anyone wanted, but it is refreshing to see property owners embrace the changes and start to reveal a new generation of developments that are a sign of new life for malls.

Join us at this year’s digital Mapic, 17-18th November.

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