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Nation’s largest mall debuts customized wayfinding technology

BY Marianne Wilson

Mall of America is debuting new wayfinding kiosks that expand the concept of the typical mall directory.

The mall recently installed six interactive wayfinding kiosks, from Express Image, that provide shoppers with customized assistance in as little as 10-20 seconds.

The 2-D wayfinding provides an eagle view with stacked multi-floor destination, travel times and route directions. The directory provides the power to instantly share and visualize the data on your smart phone through the text to phone feature that further engages customers and allows them to interact with mall guest services.

The kiosks, which have a slick modern design, offer search function, step-by-step directions, dynamic pop-ups, text to phone features right down to the functionality that informs the shopper as to which direction to go to start their journey.

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RetailMeNot: Early promotions spur Cyber Week spending

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday broke sales records this year, and early promotions could be a key contributor to this success.

Out of more than 400 major retailers that offered promotions via RetailMeNot, 70% started promoting Black Friday deals before Thanksgiving, the savings destination reported in the “RetailMeNot Promotions Index.” The study, which was conducted between Nov. 24 and Nov. 28, is based on responses from 1,500 Americans aged 18 and over.

In aggregate, percentage-off deals, including coupons, promotional codes and sales, were 26.3%, a 1.8% larger savings than consumers experienced in 2015 from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday (25.81%). The gen-eral trend was to market omnichannel promotions early, and have them last through Cyber Monday, according to Marissa Tarleton, chief market-ing officer, North America for RetailMeNot.

"There is a new Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday retail strategy: it's pow-ered by promotions, and omnichannel and promotions are on the market longer,” she said. "Retailers sought to capture market share early, with a focus on driving e-commerce sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which have traditionally been big days for in-store. We also saw retailers get creative with offering stackable discounts."

For Black Friday specifically, retailers ran Black Friday-related promotions for a 10-day period. Among RetailMeNot's top 100 promotions on Black Friday, there was a 43% year-over-year increase in retailers issuing omnichannel offers. Based on over 100,000 in-store and online deals experienced by RetailMeNot shoppers, the discount of percentage-off promotions averaged 34% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, data showed.

The average per-purchase savings reported by RetailMeNot consumers on Black Friday increased by 11% year-over-year to $24.50, and 77% of traffic activity on RetailMeNot came through a mobile channel on Black Friday. Specifically, designer clothing, clothing and personal services categories showed the biggest increases in Black Friday percentage-off deals, and the newest categories to top the list, the study revealed.

Meanwhile, Cyber Monday saw a 33% increase in omnichannel offers, and these received the highest engagement from RetailMeNot consumers. Out of Cyber Monday’s more than 100,000 in-store and online deals experienced by RetailMeNot shoppers, percentage-off promotions averaged 27%. However, average per-purchase savings reported by RetailMeNot consumers on Cyber Monday decreased by 14% to $18.06 on a per-purchase basis, data showed.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of traffic activity on RetailMeNot came through a mobile channel on Cyber Monday, and food and entertainment, personal services and home and garden categories saw the biggest increases in Cyber Monday percentage-off deals — and they are also new list leaders.

"Promotions are driving the success of the season, and retailers used the holiday weekend to promote new categories that we haven't typically seen during this time," said Tarleton.

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Gainesville center sold for $2.8 million

BY Al Urbanski

University Towne Center in Gainesville, Florida, has been sold at auction to Pacific West Land for $2.8 million. Crossman & Company negotiated the deal on behalf of the seller, a south Florida special servicer.

The 18,496-sq.-ft. center is close to the University of Florida campus and to Butler’s sprawling retail complex, which is itself expanding with a town center called The Neighborhoods at Butler.

A flurry of retail activity in this crossroads town in north-central Florida includes Celebration Pointe, a mixed-use project which last week hosted the opening of an 82,000-sq.-ft Bass Pro Shop that attracted approximately 50,000 people over a four-day period, according to project developer RaCo.

University Towne Center is currently only 65% leased. Tenants include Earth Fare, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and Wharf Express.


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