ECE Future Labs’ newest development is the “Digital Mall.” This is an online product search which can be found on the website of the Alstertal Einkaufszentrum (shopping center) in Hamburg.
With the Digital Mall, ECE makes it possible for customers to get information on the product ranges available in the shopping center – anytime, anywhere.
Joanna Fisher, managing director of Center Management at ECE, explains: “With this pilot project, we’ve taken a major step towards a seamlessomni-channel experience. By bridging the gap between online and offline, we can fulfill the desire that many customers have to experience holistic, omni-channel shopping.”
Search online, find offline
According to a study published by the professional consulting services firm PricewaterhouseCooper (“Store 4.0: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Business,” 11/2015), 64% of German consumers do research online before buying a product in-store. Digital devices such as smartphones and tablets are increasingly used in preparing to make a purchase. However, the difficulty in that lies in finding out whether a desired product from a specific brand is available in the shopping center in the preferred color and correct size, as well as in finding out in which shop it can be found.
This is precisely where the “Digital Mall” comes into the picture: Starting now, customers can experience the diversity of goods for sale in various shops in the “Product” category on the Alstertal Einkaufszentrum’s website (www.alstertal-einkaufszentrum.de), get information online on what is on offer, reserve the items, and subsequently buy them in-store at the relevant retailer in the shopping center.
“The ‘Digital Mall’ product search is intended to help our customers finding the exact products they’re looking for, both before and during their visit to the center,” elaborates Sebastian Baumann, head of ECE Future Labs.
Connection to retailers’ stocks
This is made possible by a connection between the center’s website and participating retailers, with data provided by the Berlin start-up Locafox on the one hand, and a direct connection on the other. 23 retailers in the Alstertal shopping center are currently using this service, including Saturn, AppelrathCüpper, Lloyd, and Brax. These retailers’ local product range presently encompasses around 200,000 products; it is displayed with item descriptions, prices, and current availability. The connection of further shops will be coming soon.