REAL ESTATE

Simon and elevate Digital to launch digital concierge network in retail centers

BY CSA STAFF

INDIANAPOLIS — Simon, a leading global retail real estate company, has announced a collaboration with elevate Digital, a developer of interactive digital technology, to install "digital concierge" solutions in a number of Simon’s U.S. retail properties.

The interactive displays will provide Simon mall visitors with a virtual way-finding experience to help them navigate the mall, find deals, events, promotions and also take relevant information with them on a mobile device.

In addition, shoppers can engage with the digital concierge app to sign up for news and updates, take and share fun photos, interact with advertising, download mobile apps, RSVP for events and much more.

"Enhancing the shopping experience of our visitors through accessible, easy to use technology is a top priority for Simon," said Mikael Thygesen, chief marketing officer of Simon. "Offering a digital concierge through elevate Digital’s interactive display solution increases the level of service to our customers and seamlessly integrates on-mall and personal technology into their journey of discovery at our centers."

The elevate digital concierge is now live at Simon’s Arundel Mills in Hanover, Maryland, and Simon is planning to implement this technology in 30 U.S. markets by the end of 2014.

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REAL ESTATE

Warby Parker to open 1950s classroom-styled store in Dallas

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Online eyewear retailer is opening its sixth retail location, a 1,050-sq.-ft. store in Dallas. It will open on June 18.

The store will have a 1950s classroom look, with books, chalkboards, globes and apples, dallasnews.com reported. A sculpture of a pencil will stick out of the roof, and an old-fashioned yellow school bus will be parked outside. (The same bus visited several U.S. cities last year on the Warby Parker’s “Class Trip” promotion.) The bus has been fitted with leather sofas and oak shelves to house Warby Parker’s nonprescription sunglass selection.

“Shoppers’ expectations are so much higher now because they have so many choices, partly because of e-commerce,” said Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal, in the report. “So to stand out, the best retailers will create the best experiences because shopping is also a form of entertainment.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Consumers want easier online shopping

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta — Online shoppers want retailers to make it easier to purchase their goods and services, and also want websites and stores to work better together. For now, according to a new survey of 5,800 consumers from UPS and comScore Inc., they also prefer to evaluate and purchase products from their desktops rather than their mobile devices, and when it comes to shipping and returns, "free" is a driving factor to complete the sale.

Results of the third annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study show that when shopping on mobile devices, 41% of respondents said they prefer a retailer’s full website compared to a mobile website (34%) or mobile app (25%). And while retailers have had a hard time connecting social media to sales, the study shows that it does have an impact, as one-third of all shoppers and one-half of Millennials said purchase decisions are influenced by social media.

Consumers also are likely to share their opinions on product and brands on social media. Satisfied shoppers who share their thoughts via social media are most likely to post on Facebook (86%) followed by Twitter (34%), Google + (23%), Pinterest (21%), and Instagram (19%).

Other findings include:

  • 40% of purchases are made crossing channels, whether searching in store and purchasing online or vice versa.
  • 58% of respondents have added items to their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping and 83% are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery if shipping is free.
  • More than one-half of online shoppers said they want to see the total purchase cost early in the checkout process, and the majority prefer seeing the expected arrival date rather than the number of days it will take for the product to arrive.
  • Consumers now expect free returns with 82% respondents saying they would complete the purchase if they could return the item to a store or have free return shipping, and 66% said they view a retailer’s returns policy before making a purchase. The majority of shoppers want retailers to make it easy for them to return a purchase by including a label in the box.

“The retailers who embrace the various channels and options that customers favor will deliver a positive customer experience and ultimately drive sales and brand loyalty," said Susan Engleson, senior director at comScore.

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