Intu, the UK’s largest listed shopping centre operator, is releasing an app that will send offers to customers based on their location in a mall. Users will also be able to see themselves on a digital map of the building, plan their routes and observe which retailers are currently offering deals.
“Footfall is difficult to shift in a big way,” said Karen Harris, Managing Director of Intu Digital. This is particularly true as more and more shoppers move online. The app’s purpose is to “affect swell time, which has a big impact on turnover and frequency of visits.”
It is hoped that by highlighting offers in the mall in this way, visitors will end up making purchases in stores they would not usually visit and spend longer in the shopping centre. Last year shoppers spent £5.5bn across Intu’s malls. Each visit averaged at 100 minutes, which translates to an additional £55m of retail spend for every extra minute consumers stay at the complex.
“We could send an offer for a free cupcake and coffee to people who have been there for one and a half hours, so they would be encouraged to stick around and spend more.” Harris continued.
Unlike similar apps, this new one connects directly over Wi-Fi rather than a Bluetooth signal, and does not send customers abrupt or unwelcome alerts. Intu is developing more features to improve the app further, such as a ‘find my car’ function.
Harris believes that this multi-channel approach will connect the “physical and digital shopping experience”, and give Intu an advantage over stores with a “bricks and mortar only approach.”
The app will be unveiled today at the British Council of Shopping Centres annual retail real estate event. Following a trial phase, it is set to become available for Android and iOS users across Intu’s shopping centres.