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Phy-gital Malls: A Powerful Arrow In The Shopping Mall Quiver

The new-age consumer is not loyal to any channel – online or offline. His expectations are high and his demands, unceasing. Both, retailers and shopping malls have understood that this evolved customer wants an experience which is unparalleled and are completely focused on experiential retail…

Sandeep Kumar

The word Phy-gital is not new for the Indian retail and shopping mall industry anymore. Every shopping mall is trying to go Omnichannel, upgrade its technology and provide its customers with the ultimate high-tech, experiential retail platform.

Despite the meteoric rise of e-commerce in India, the growth in the number of malls has not slowed down. New shopping centers are on the rise and the mall culture in the country is witnessing a boom like never before. The credit, in an ironical twist, goes to the rise in Internet subscribers, new fashion and shopping trends on social media. Changing lifestyles and increase in disposable incomes have also transformed the rural and urban consumer bases alike.

Malls today are not just a huge complex housing top brands, but also community hubs, experiential centers people visit to eat, shop and be entertained. To bring in more visitors, malls, brands, retailers and especially new businesses need to bleed the physical into the digital and create a Phy-gital eco-system between the brand and consumer – across platforms. This is especially necessary because the evolved and connected consumer today is not loyal to any platform in particular. Giving him/her all they need in one space is the need of the hour.

Towards this, mall developers are providing space to brands that are technologically equipped to handle customers and are providing quick and seamless experiences.

Staying Connected in Malls

Mall developers are making sure consumers stay connected as soon as they enter the center. Consumer’s mobile devices are automatically connected with the Wi-fi of the mall, opening up a new channel of communication opens up between him, the mall operator and the retailer.

Developers have also installed digital screens the in shape of tabloids/smartphones in various areas in malls which act as sitemaps, giving exact store locations on every floor.

Along with this are smart tabs providing info-graphics, data entry via motion sensors, AI and VR technology, digital communication tools, bots like Kik Bot Shop, and voice-activated AI agents similar to Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa – malls are trying just about everything to make themselves advanced and equipped.

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July 2019

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