The existence of online shopping has caused a turn in the operations of shopping malls. To keep up with the changes in the commerce industry, shopping malls need to find ways in managing customer experience. At the GITEX 2019, SAP has emphasized the importance of customer experience to continue thriving in the retail industry. SAP has once again pointed out the advantage of linking operational data (O-data) and experience data (X-data).
Some shopping malls are closing down while some continue to thrive in the present times. Malls that are declining may have lacked efforts to offer experiences other than the usual dining, shopping and film watching. Meanwhile, malls that continued to stay in business are those that have evolved themselves to function like a community centre that offers a place to spend time after work and outside of the home.
Despite the increasing preference to shop online, malls still have a chance to redeem themselves by utilising empty or vacant spaces for innovative features.
For example, some malls offer their extra space to cultural associations or art schools. These provide customers a different kind of experience that is not within their usual interests.
Hichem Maya, the general manager of Consumer Industries and Life Science for EMEA South at SAP, pointed out that a successful space is a place people want to visit. In his statement, he added:
“You have to give people a reason to be there, and if they’re spending their time somewhere, they’re usually spending money too.”
The Generation Z are consumers born between 1996 and 2010. This generation engages more online and is tech-dependent, which leads them to reject what may be considered old, and malls are not an exception. These consumers are most likely to interact, discuss ideas and drive commerce in a virtual world.
Maya shared an encounter with a 21-year-old man named Sami, whom he met while he was waiting in front of a large mall in Dubai. He approached the man and asked questions. During their conversation, Sami shared that he did his shopping online because of its affordability and speedy delivery, plus the attractive variety of brands and offers.
With the answer obtained, Maya said:
“This young man obviously showed no interest in visiting the mall’s shops.”
Introducing a new concept for managing customer experience
Malls need to reinvent their experience model to survive in the ever-changing economic and social environment.
Maya noted the importance of convenience; hence, some of the solutions considered could include a central click-and-collect point put up at a vacant unit. He then introduced SAP’s Experience Management solutions and shared how it offers a “powerful real-time platform that seamlessly blends the physical environment and the digital ecosystem.”
Generation Z consumers, like Sami, seek for entertainment, instant gratification, seamless engagement and social affirmation. Their priority in shopping will always be a frictionless experience. And with today’s technology, this can be possible with state-of-the-art solutions that are needed to deliver the experience they want to have.
SAP software combines features such as customer identity technology, digital marketing campaigns and recommendation engine that is built based on technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
Additionally, other features such as e-wallet and e-commerce technologies, order management, real-time inventory and social media can help in managing customer experience and enable the next phases while biometric technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) can deliver a smart fitting room and a limitless aisle opportunity. Lastly, Experience Management solutions can enable the feedback process.
This SAP technology links retailers and the mall management in delivering a customer-first approach and creating a new seamless experience for all parties involved, such as the customer, the tenant and the mall employee. This helps rid of friction in both the online and offline aspects of the businesses. It also enables all parties to answer the what and why an incident occurred and impacted the process. The experience management tool offers an opportunity to reimagine and recreate the mall experience.