High street stores and shopping malls are having to up their game this holiday season in order to compete with the growing number of online shopping rivals, and they are turning to technology as a means to keep their sales up.
Most of us are aware of the various new retail tech available, set to challenge the more mainstream way of shopping, including voice assistants, virtual reality and chatbots. This level of technology probably still has a long way to go, but it is the increased use of simple online shopping that retail stores are really concerned about.
Online shopping has unsurprisingly led to a major decline in employment this year, with hours being worked in UK retail falling by 4.2% in the third quarter, the steepest decline monitored since 2008. As a way of coping with shifting consumer shopping habits, high street shops and shopping malls are having to change their approach in order to encourage more people to step foot in their stores, and retain those that do.
The new and improved shopping mall
Westgate shopping centre in Oxford has recently been created with the idea of a smart ‘building in the cloud’, a building that is more connected with less need for computers and servers based on site. A converged network connecting all of the building services such as heating, CCTV, access control and car park services, as well as high speed internet everywhere from the car park to the changing room, all securely controlled through the use of cloud services.
One of the major developments of this new shopping mall is the use of a basic monitoring technology, which can help both the building’s owners and the retailers of the shops inside the mall. It works by using footfall counters, which enables the company to firstly, make sure security staff and customer service assistants are placed in the right parts of the development, and secondly, see when and where the mall is busiest and use that insight to empower the retailers of stores to make sure they aren’t losing out on money.
Small improvements like these made to shopping malls and high street stores can make a big difference in maintaining sales within retail stores, as well as maintaining jobs. As the competition between high street and online increases, stores and shopping malls need to do all they can to entice customers back onto the streets and keep their sales up.