The Futurist: Staying mobile in a consumer-savvy digital space

While some of us may still call the digital age as something “new and revolutionary”, the fact is, it’s been on the horizon for years now. But the explosion of its depth and reach has reached a fever pitch recently.

It’s given companies a new way to interact with their consumers, and created a new avenue for branding that never existed before. But now businesses also need to come up with new and exciting ways to engage their consumers, or risk them losing their interest and spending dollars.

But how would a traditional industry like a shopping mall, which was in the past based mainly on physical stores and in-person purchases, be able to embrace the advent of digital engagement? The world of e-commerce is also fast threatening to lure its core consumer base away, as they become more savvy about the world wide web and its multitude of offerings out there, which are more varied and cheaper than what is offered here. So naturally, why wouldn’t customers want to explore that?

Where we are today

The retail space in the current economy has been experiencing a downturn, especially hardest hit were the stalwarts of Orchard Road, which recently saw a rising number shuttered store-fronts and empty walkways. The heartland malls, however, seemed to be holding steady for the time-being – new mall openings and rising visitor numbers proved that in cases of malls, perhaps home is where heart is, or in this case, where the dollars are.

Their interaction was enhanced by social media presence, and the idea of digital engagement for an industry based traditionally in-store transactions, was to reach out on a level that the new consumers were comfortable with – mainly through mediums and platforms that they were already using, and not to create something new which they would need to adopt.

Facebook accounts quickly popped up, Instagram feeds were filled with enticing pictures and deals. But then, that wasn’t enough anymore.

Going deeper into digital

Retail mobility and the digital space is not about jumping onto the trend – it requires more thought and processes to ensure that it is a successful endeavour. So how can a company take the digital experience for consumers one step further? Through providing an experience that is as personal as possible.

By personalising the interaction, the results were two-fold – increasing engagement and loyalty, while also providing vital avenues for retailers themselves to reach out to their target audience.

By and large, apps were created as a way for consumers to quickly access a more streamlined version of the brands or companies that they loved. But as technology has quickly progressed, apps have also evolved to offer more features and capabilities, and the quality of data accumulated from the app’s usage has also allowed traditional retailers greater insight into their consumers’ habits.

The AMperkz App, for example, developed by AsiaMalls Management, encompasses the six malls under its management. Before its creation, a core group of consumers are surveyed to fi nd out what would enhance their in-mall shopping experience the most, and this led to the development of features that would support those. The app offers their consumers personalisation and the results have paid off  – to date more than 30,000 consumers have installed the app, which now has a daily active rate of 15%.

The author of the article is Tan Kee Yong, managing director, AsiaMalls Management.