Keith Jump, CTO of RedstoneConnect, explores the advances in the use of digital at leading retail destinations.
Leading retail destinations are waking up to the need to embrace a connected technology strategy to deliver the high levels of customer happiness that keeps loyal customers coming back for more. It’s the convenience of a virtual shopping experience transferred to a physical environment.
A seamless, data driven, customer journey, from the consumer’s home and on to their retail destination sounds great in theory but there are many challenges to achieving this vision.
The key is to take a holistic view to the problem, bringing together systems and processes that can directly improve convenience and deliver a personalised shopping experience. That’s what RedstoneConnect have spent years perfecting ; a cloud based retail centre platform enabling close connectivity between customers, retailers and individual brands.
Customer relationships are managed across all digital channels, with real time sensor data, analytical inputs and CRM driven behavioural profiles helping to deliver the right information at the right time.
This integrated technology approach ultimately makes the shopping experience less stressful and more enjoyable for the shopper.
Take car parking. Typically treated very separately by Shopping Centres, car parks often have their own management and systems with little or no integration to the core retail offering.
Yet the majority of shopper surveys sight parking as one the biggest issues when shopping, be it finding a space, the cost of parking or finding their car.
The holistic approach focuses on planning a visit, arrival and departure, which ultimately impacts the overall customer experience, repeat visits and ongoing loyalty.
Express Parking at Westfield
With Westfield Shopping Towns, RedstoneConnect have over the last few years driven measurable success through customer engagement by collaborating on a digital product that improves convenience and experience when parking at your destination.
Express Parking is a cashless & frictionless car parking experience where the customer simply arrives, the car park barrier opens automatically, recognising you as a loyal customer.
No ticket required; just arrive and park. Exiting the car park requires no ticket, no cash and no queuing at the ticket machine – true convenience and hassle free shopping.
All of the customer activity and operational systems associated with Express Parking comes together through our platform, delivering real time management information of occupancy and performance reporting, as well as creating a one-to-one relationship with the customer; increasing car park revenues and efficiencies.
What Express Parking signifies is how one service can integrate seamlessly with other services, enabling a connected and improved customer experience.
A Connected Vision
The ultimate vision is that this technology will seamlessly connect to digital services, helping the shopper to use Smart Parking and Smart Retail solutions, with IoT platforms enabling smart lighting and wayfinding at your destination, creating a truly personalised, hassle free experience. This is wherethe RedstoneConnect smart technology adds value.
As part of a secure customer account used for parking payments, we can extend this to a Shopping Centre allowing them to offer other purchases such as car valeting and gift cards.
Underlining all of this is that the Shopping Centre builds knowledge through data, whilst the shopper has a great experience. The opportunity to offer loyal customers a discounted parking rate or a loyalty offer starts to become a cost justified reality.
E-commerce is often portrayed as killing traditional retail. We encourage our shopping centre clients to embrace e-commerce. Shoppers do not view an e-com transaction that differently from in-store. In fact, shoppers blend the experience wonderfully.
Supporting shoppers that want to purchase online and pick up in-store is hugely beneficial to everyone. Centralised Click & Collect services helps to enable multiple retailer/brand purchasing that much easier. Dedicated collection units, Intelligent Lockers & Concierge support a range of services such as delivering purchased goods directly to the customers parked car.
Which brings us back around to the benefit of a connected strategy enabled by smart technologies. Staying focused on improving the customer experience will naturally increased repeat visits, dwell time & spend levels.
Keith Jump is CTO of RedstoneConnect, a company focused on technologies that make real estate more efficient and businesses more effective. Providing both the infrastructure capabilities and the software applications to deliver smart building and smart workspace solutions for commercial businesses, public sector organisations, real estate owners and managers.