Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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TECHNOLOGY 320 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 P ublic art, lots of greenery, in- door-outdoor seating areas and water features are a few of the latest design trends aimed at keeping consum- ers content while they peruse the nation's most popular shopping centers. The suc- cess of these elements lies in their ability to draw the shopper in through visually stimulating displays and opportunities for social engagement. There is also a whole new set of shopping center design strate- gies hoping to achieve these same goals, but with the use of today's latest and great- est technologies. It is technology, after all, that has fueled the rise of online sales and the premium placed on social connectivity, engage- ment and interaction. It should come as no surprise, then, that retailers and shopping center owners are clamoring to integrate technology-based platforms that appeal to today's increasingly urgent need for more information, instant discounts and a wide selection of products. "The customer expects a more per- sonalized experience, which they are be- coming accustomed to, thanks to online retailers like Ama- zon," says Sandy Sigal, CEO, president and founder of Newmark Merrill, a Los Ange- les-based shopping center owner and development firm. "The opportunity to extend that experi- ence to actual stores makes the shopping experience more relevant. It also allows the centers and their retailers to leverage knowledge about the customer." SHOW ME A SIGN One of the primary technologies many centers and retailers are incorporating nowadays is digital, or "smart," signage. These high-tech visual displays do not simply regurgitate the same stagnant mes- sages seen on non-digital signage. Instead, these LED displays act as a point of con- nection between the store or shopping center and the consumer. This was one of the goals Samsung had in mind when it unveiled its SMART sig- nage technologies at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this past January. This signage technology uti- lizes ultra-slim video walls, indoor LED signage and transparent OLED displays to offer retail consumers a more engag- ing, informed, convenient and, ultimately, customized experience. These crisp, col- orful, interactive displays can showcase new promotions, provide information, suggest products and even act as virtual window displays. Whatever their partic- ular use, the function of smart signage technology within the retail landscape remains the same: close the gap between the seller and the buyer. "Samsung's SMART Signage serves as a way for retailers to interact and provide a better experience for customers, espe- cially when trying to fight online sales," says Allison Galperin, public relations manager at Samsung Electronics Amer- ica. "Retailers can capture the customer and stream content from a tablet onto a large display, for example. It helps retail- ers keep customers in the physical store." Sigal welcomes the widespread intro- duction of digital signage and its variety of uses, whether it's drawing in window shoppers through its product-based video stream or serving as a sales associate who can tell you more about a desired product, or suggest a complementary product. The latter function is a great upsell technique for retailers. It is also a technique Amazon employs once it can pinpoint a consum- er's interests through the analysis of a few clicks. "The use of smart signs makes a shop- ping center visit more efficient, more interesting and more productive," Sigal says. "It allows retailers to extend their messaging from inside their stores onto Engaging With The Future Of Retail The latest shopping center design trends may not involve tons of construction, but rather digital architects to create the latest and greatest experiences to capture consumer dollars. Nellie Day Sigal New technology is coming to the forefront that aids consumer purchases.

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