Better Business Through Mobile Commerce
- Jul 06, 2011
Mobile commerce, or the ability to conduct business through a mobile device, has quickly changed consumers' shopping behavior.
By Whitney Kantor, Vice President of Marketing and Market Research, Regency Centers
Mobile commerce, or the ability to conduct business through a mobile device, has quickly changed consumers’ shopping behavior. Many landlords are already using these tools to drive customer traffic to their centers, but they can also be used to generate leasing leads.
Mobile shopping rose from $395 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009.It is estimated that 36 percent of all U.S. consumers use the mobile Internet. At first glance, it may seem that these digital shopping tools may divert sales from shopping centers; however, a number of popular sites actually drive traffic to shopping venues. For example, mobile ticketing sites such as Fandango pre-sell movie tickets that must be redeemed at the theater; OpenTable books online reservations enjoyed at the restaurant; and social sites like Groupon and Living Social sell greatly discounted products and services that are redeemed at the vendor’s location.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties are just a few of the shopping center owners to launch custom iPhone and Android apps to enhance the consumer’s experience while at the center, including a center map, retailer information, amenities, sales, events and even a GPS-enabled car locator. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube can be found in the arsenal of many owners to further deepen relationships with consumers and drive traffic and sales.
The consumer applications are numerous, but landlords can also use mobile commerce to extend their reach to leasing prospects. Digital business-to-business marketing tools allow companies to serve prospective retailers’ information needs outside of traditional office hours. Prospects can find information when they want and are most likely to make a leasing decision.
For example, Regency Centers has been testing texting codes on window-leasing signage which instantaneously provides the prospect with detailed center information while, at the same time, forwarding their contact information to the leasing agent for follow-up. Developers Diversified Realty and Regency Centers mobile-optimized their website for improved viewing and functionality on smartphones and tablets. Dealmakers, brokers and retailer reps have an easy-to-use leasing tool while standing at the center, including demographics, area maps and one-touch forwarding of property information to clients. PREIT, Donahue Schriber and Cousins Properties are just a few of the landlords to add QR codes, or quick read codes, to their print advertising. When scanned by a smartphone app, these modern barcodes quickly link users to websites, videos or downloadable brochures.