Joshua Roberts

Creative Director

November 20, 2013

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Online Mall & Department Store Directories

How can retailers connect the digital and physical experience?

westfield

Partnering with Australia’s fashion retailers, Westfield introduced the Searchable Mall westfield.com.au to better connect digital shoppers with physical stores.

The digital innovation aims to evolve Westfield’s digital strategy from an e-commerce site to an online destination which helps shoppers find what they want in their local shopping center and helps them buy their way – either in-store or online.

Steven Lowy, Co-CEO, Westfield Group, said it is the first of many global initiatives enabled by Westfield Labs.

“After launching Westfield Labs in San Francisco in 2012, all Westfield markets – Australia, NZ, UK and USA – have been working on developing digital innovations that leverage technologies to create new physical retail experiences for the digital shopper,” he said.

The Searchable Mall’s first release will include over 97,000 fashion and beauty products from Australia’s leading retailers such as David Jones, Country Road, Cue, Cotton On, Betts, Sass and Bide, General Pants, Glue, Katies, Supre, Diva, Pumpkin Patch, Jeanswest, Tarocash, Sportscraft, Alannah Hill, Oxford, Bras n Things, David Lawrence and many more.

Shoppers can now find fashion and beauty products available in their local Westfield shopping center as well as finding stores, opening hours, deals, events and movie times across any screen, at any time.

They can also click-out to retailer websites to purchase products online. Westfield’s research of 6,700 Australian adults that used the previous website as part of their shopping journey, found that those shoppers who browsed the website were more likely to visit their local Westfield, and spent significantly more than those who did not.

Paul Zahra, David Jones Limited CEO and Managing Director said the brand is focused on increasing its foot traffic both in-store and online. Thus, its decision to be on-board with Westfield’s new online site.

With 16 David Jones stores in Westfield centers across Australia, management believes it is another channel for its customers to find the products they want, and understand more about the product range and offer.

Our Thoughts

In short, this is a fantastic idea that benefits all parties: consumers, brand owners, and mall operators.

From a consumer perspective, they have the right information at their fingertips. They have the choice to visit a brand’s online store or their actual brick ‘n mortar location. It’s truly a great pooling of knowledge making it convenient to find out about different retailers.

From a brand perspective, a directory approach provides a new channel by which to engage with consumers. It’s a bridge, so-to-speak, providing relevant information a consumer would need to find out more about a brand, and spend money!

From a mall operations point of view, these directories are very easily to update (more so than a print directory). They also provide a more attractive draw for consumers since they can get all the information they are looking for in one place (hours of operation, tenant mix, movie times, and food court details, etc.).

So, with the number of malls going up in China and across SE Asia, when will we see a directory listing for malls and department stores in Asia? How would that help consumers on this side of the planet better connect with retailers?

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