Are indoor maps still a game changer?
Back at the start of this decade, GPS-enabled indoor maps were promising to reshape the shopping experience.
At the time, Microsoft’s Bing and Google Maps, as well as a number of app startups were all coming out with maps. Shoppers would use their smartphones to not only spot their favorite store in a mall but be guided to the best route there. Some mobile apps directed shoppers down aisles to find desired product.
The next step promised to be ads, deals and inventory tied to in-store. Yet mobile maps haven’t moved much beyond the features offered at the start of the decade and they aren’t widely promoted. Beacons, instead, have taken over the in-store engagement discussion.
A Wall Street Journal article last week, however, noted how Westfield Corp. and General Growth Properties (GGP) were among those rolling out technology from Jibestream, which creates interactive mall maps to guide shoppers from store to store as well as help them find parking by way of their smartphones.
On its first quarter conference call, Sandeep Mathrani, GGP’s CEO, also highlighted the merits of mobile maps. Such technology, he said, serves two purposes: awareness and way finding. He elaborated, “Consumers use their smartphones to locate stores and branded products. We want to ensure the tenants at our malls are at the top of the search list. We can never be good enough on awareness.”
At the same time, with a recent survey ranking parking as the biggest pain point in mall shopping, GGP is taking several steps to reduce the chore. This includes an exterior sign indicating how many spaces are available in each garage plus a new green/red light system that guides drivers to open spots within. Upgraded digital mall maps will also capture such information.
Said Mr. Mathrani, “Our goal is to have a customers start their search on Google. That map guides the customer to a parking spot, and blue dots [take them] virtually to the store.”
- Mall Landlords Embrace High-Tech to Entice Shoppers – The Wall Street Journal (tiered sub.)
- General Growth Properties First Quarter 2016 – Seeking Alpha
- Aventura Mall’s New Digital Directories Merge Art, Architecture And Industry-Leading Technology – Aventura Mall
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why haven’t indoor mobile maps become a more integral part of the shopping experience? Do you see beacons, RFID or any other emerging technologies helping stimulate shopper interest around mobile maps?