July 18, 2024

Smart Shopping Centres: The Future of Retail Real Estate

5 min read

We know that shopping online has changed the retail industry drastically. Major shopping centres are now having to change the idea of being fully aimed at shopping. Now, they have to be more modern and include other things within the shopping centre. For example, they need to include more than just shops such as cinemas, arcades, restaurants, bars and more to attract more people there. 

The retail industry is undergoing massive change due to how customers are shopping and new technology changing the landscape. Retailers are delving deep into both online and offline to find out how they can improve convenience, personal shopping experiences, be more sustainable and offer more security to customers. 

Let’s take a look at the digital trends of the retail industry and what we can expect more of with modern shopping centres. 


Virtual Try-Ons

One of the things that has changed about the retail industry is virtual try-ons. Many glasses companies have been using this sort of technology to help shoppers know whether they would suit the glasses they choose. Some jewellery stores are also using this technology so people can try engagement rings instead of needing to shop in-store. You never know, maybe in the future, we can see what we look like with dental implants before getting them done. 

These virtual try-on retailers will use either AI or AR technology to allow the customers to virtually try on the product. The positive of this is that it reduces the likelihood of someone returning an item because they are worried about how it looks on them. Returning items has a large impact on the world because of packaging and transportation. 


New-Age Wayfinding 

This is something that very few retailers are trialling however, we can use more retailers to use this strategy in the coming years. Customers often get frustrated in the store because they find it difficult to locate the item they are looking for, especially if there is poor signage in the store. Now, digital signage, mobile apps, voice assistants and smart glasses can make this experience much easier. 

Although this technology can be used to improve a customer’s experience, it can also improve the shop itself. It can allow retailers to improve their store layout, inventory and staff allocation. This is also great for improving efficiency for the customers as well as those who work in the store. 


Improve Security and Theft Reduction

Retail theft is a massive issue that many shopping centres experience, even when they have security guards. It causes many retailers to lose out on many, however, when retailers use theft reduction technology such as cameras, sensors, biometrics, and RFID tags, then they are capable of reducing theft in store. 


Click & Collect

Click & collect is one of the many services that retailers now offer. This is great because a shopper will browse and buy a product online and then get it delivered to their nearest store which saves time and money on delivery time to their home. Additionally, click & collect drives more people through the front door of the retail store which can lead to even more sales. This is due to customers browsing other products while they are in the store. 


Smart Leases

Smart leases are also becoming a more common part of the retail industry. As we all know, the average footfall has decreased significantly in the last 10 to 15 years due to modern technology. With COVID-19, this decreased even more. That is why landlords are offering smart leases to make owning a retail shop more affordable. Now, a retail shop will only need to pay the rent based on the sales, foot traffic and occupancy rather than a fixed rate. This offers greater opportunities to retail companies who have a smaller budget and can achieve a more successful career owning a store. 


Mobility and Autonomous Parking

Even car parks have changed significantly in the last few years thanks to state-of-the-art technology. Modern cars will park a person’s car for them. Additionally, car parks can work out how many cars are occupying the car park and determine whether it is full or not. Furthermore, parking in Leeds and other major cities in the UK will have ANPR parking systems, cameras will scan the car’s registration plate and will open the gate for them. When they are leaving, they will get a ticket which the system will charge them, based on the price. 

To make parking easier, car parks are also offering to park using an online app or website. This makes booking a parking spot much easier and can also ensure that the customer will get their parking spot. 


Data Analytics

Something else that technology is good for with smart shopping centres is that they can use AI and other technology to help analyse customers’ behaviour. They can work out the average time a customer is spending in a shop and how they would usually walk around the shopping centre. 

From a retailer’s perspective, it can make it easier for them to understand how the customer shops. It is essential for improving other customers’ experience within the shops. Additionally, with less common products, they can offer these on sale to encourage customers to buy the products, allowing them to generate even more revenue. 


Reduce Energy Bills

One of the benefits of modern technology and how it is beneficial is that it helps to reduce energy bills. Now, retailers can use sensors, energy-efficient lights and smart metres to help reduce their energy consumption. Not only will they reduce their energy bills while doing this but they will also follow environmental regulations. Not to mention that it can improve their brand image, attracting even more customers to their door. This is something that many retailers now often look for, retailers that are complying with laws and regulations surrounding sustainability. 


Final Summary

There are many retail businesses that are using new technology to improve their retail stores. Shopping centres are slowly stepping away from just having retail shops and are including more restaurants, bars and activities within their shopping complex. 

With the rise of rent for property, more retailers are trying to increase their footfall. By creating a more personalised shopping experience, they can do this. Additionally, by offering click-and-collect, they can attract the customer to their retail store and potentially increase their sales. 

With sustainability being at the forefront of many businesses, there are many things that a shopping centre can do to improve its level of sustainability. By complying with modern laws and regulations, they need to ensure they are more eco-friendly, by using renewable energy and offering recycling options around the shopping centres. 

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