Shopping centers-as-a-service: Reinventing retail

Retail is constantly changing to meet the demands of its customers. While eCommerce is seeing a constant rise in customers, many say that physical or brick and mortar retail is dead. We beg to differ, especially since physical retail is growing and evolving as we speak. 

After multichannel, omnichannel, and phygital retail, another buzzword comes to the table: shopping centers-as-a-service. 

No, it’s not just a concept, there are retailers that have already implemented a strategy to turn a simple shopping center into a service. How? Let’s see!

What does cloud computing have to do with retail?

Cloud computing is booming. We’ve got SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS and users can’t seem to get enough. We live in a world where we want it all and we want it now. With the help of Software-as-a-service and platforms-as-a-service, users can receive immediate gratification. However, with online shopping, they can’t. 

One of the biggest issues with eCommerce is delayed gratification. You purchase the product now, you pay for it, but you get to enjoy it in two-three days. Alright, some eCommerce platforms have same-day delivery, but many times, it’s difficult to keep that promise. 

This is the advantage of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store: You get to enjoy the products right after purchase. Plus, you get to see, touch, and try out the products beforehand. However, when you purchase on an online marketplace, you can buy oranges, a pair of shoes, and gardening tools all at once. In the physical world, you would have to visit at least 3 stores. 

What if we’ve told you that you don’t have to? This is when shopping centers-as-a-service come in. 

What are shopping centers-as-a-service

Shopping centers are not novelty. They have been around for many years and customers were thrilled to be able to purchase from various stores that are in close proximity and then be able to see a movie or eat out at the same location. 

Times are changing and customers are no longer as excited about shopping centers as they used to be. The Pandemic, the fact that most non-essential stores were closed, and the whole work-from-home-stay-at-home-all-day changed the way people shop. 

Physical retailers struggled to increase foot traffic after lockdown, but it seems that shoppers are demanding more and better services from brick and mortar stores. 

Shopping centers-as-a-services offer customers an integrated physical and digital shopping experience that’s both frictionless and memorable. Shopping centers and tenants have felt the need to include the digital world in the physical one. That’s how shopping centers-as-a-service came to be. 

Data comes to the physical space

Data is essential for retailers. Knowing what their customers want and bought is a massive game-changer. It can help them offer customers a better shopping experience. While eCommerce platforms leverage data to create targeted ads and a personalized shopping experience, physical stores didn’t have the ability to gather and monitor customer data. 

By implementing POS systems, WiFi, and other proximity marketing solutions, shopping centers can collect data. Then, they can leverage the information and bring it back to the customer’s control. Shoppers can use interactive apps to plan visits in the shopping center, to reserve certain products and to check the availability of other goods and services. 

Interconnecting the physical location with digital platforms and adding data to the mix offers more opportunities to both retailers and shoppers. 

Innovation and experiences

The intention of shopping centers-as-a-service is to bring back customers to physical stores and completely change the way customers see shopping - moving from a chore to a complete experience that is designed by and for them. 

Customers could use their smartphones to find a parking spot at the shopping center ahead of time or for ordering lunch to enjoy it without having to wait. By combining shopping, entertainment, and innovating, customers can benefit from an amazing experience.

Plus, with new and innovative in-store technologies like Tokinomo, shoppers can have a memorable experience right at the point of sale. 

Is shopping center-as-a-service the future of retail?

Shopping centers-as-a-service are going to reinvent the way we shop in-store. With the help of data, innovative technologies, and personalization, retailers will be able to offer customers a better, frictionless, and memorable shopping experience.


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