8 ways navigation tech can redefine retail

More than a year after the outbreak, the seismic impact of the COVID-19 disaster on the retail business continues to resonate. Retailers have seen transitory effects, such as grocery hoarding and garment overstock. It’s gradually giving way to new customer habits and business practices that may permanently change the sector, after being forced to close stores overnight and swiftly ramp up their move to e-commerce.

As the dust settles from the coronavirus earthquake, the retail environment appears changed, with the disruption providing some firms with a significant performance boost while destroying others.

It’s critical to these retail district economies that they re-engage with their traditional customers, and find ways to engage a new generation, who don’t have either the habit or loyalty to local businesses. Providing a smart-city navigation and information platform for the digital generation can serve as the virtual twin that excites and entertains these customers. Providing the digitally driven engagement we’re now all familiar with, in combination with the tactile, lively atmosphere of ‘going shopping’, is the way forward.

Edge to the residents

By implementing a ‘Smart Downtown’ navigation platform, local residents are provided with a wealth of local information too good to resist. Residents benefit from having an accurate and rapid understanding of what is available, open and happening, everywhere in their local area. This knowledge of the retail district is powerful when they’re deciding where to go and what to do. Time is money, and visiting local companies in an efficient and value-driven manner is central to connecting the retail district with residents.

Benefits to the tourists

It is beneficial for tourists to know the best places to go – not just in general, but in real-time. Knowing what’s open and what activities are taking place gives visitors a more enjoyable, valuable and safe day or evening out. An engaging, engrossing experience can keep tourists actively spending for a longer period, whether it’s retail or entertainment.

As ‘safer-at-home’ restrictions begin to lift across the country, retail leaders should keep essential factors in mind from a consumer, associate, store, and operational standpoint.

First and foremost, let people know you’re open for business. Promote via social media and use these channels to highlight specific stores and their promotions.

Give it personality. Use the shop owners and managers from your local business district to lead the voice of downtown. If budget permits, do a commercial that uses these great people, to share their stories and how much they need the community’s support of the local business.

PAM is helping residents and tourists get back to our retail districts.

Reducing the friction of the journey to the retail district is the most important step to tempting people back. Reducing that barrier is particularly significant if we’re going to entice digital natives to interact with our physical spaces. Once our residents and visitors are in the district, the increased connection with the environment makes for a great visitor experience.

PAM provides our clients with an easy way to help their visitors see what’s happening, where to go and (importantly) how to get there. Google Maps might show a location, but it doesn’t share real-time store information and the current promotions being offered in the store or venue. Google won’t show gigs or brand engagement events taking place in bars and restaurants. Finally, the local business district or Chamber doesn’t control Google, so updates on new tenants, and changes to outdoor destinations take a long time to reach customers.

The solution of course is to implement a mapping platform controlled by the City or Chamber of Commerce. This allows the business district to have control, show the personality of the district, and always focus on local business, local events and local attractions. This is what PAM is about. We connect people and places to each other, so people can spend more time doing what they love.

Some of the ways we do this include:

Have local businesses support this initiative and help cover the investment.

  • Allow any store, big or small, to list its sales, promotions, brand engagements and events. Charge for premium listings to further generate revenue.
  • PAM is a great promotional tool and advertising platform that can generate revenue for the development or marketing budgets.

Use simple (and cheap) QR code plates

Strategically place QR codes throughout your commercial district. These QR codes link directly to the downtown experience map. This promotes uptake and engages visitors. No apps are required, so it’s fast and easy.

Give every business a downtown experience link

Give a downtown experience link which the businesses can use in their social media and marketing. This helps people get straight to the store, with the information they need to know what’s happening everywhere downtown.

You may use this solution to emphasize markets, festivals, and other unique events when the destinations are transitory. Allow guests to choose their locations and organize their trips.

To Sum It Up

PAM’s mapping can indicate the quickest routes to downtown and, more precisely, parking, whether permanent or temporary, open or closed, vacant or full. Reduce the friction in the travel to make it simpler for guests to go downtown.

Many individuals are afraid to get back in the public sphere. The PAM Digital Downtown solution can provide awareness, comfort and eliminate obstacles to potential visitors.

Engage a new generation of customers, in a way they’re comfortable with, familiar with and interested in using.

PAM can be implemented quickly and easily for a retail district. Get proactive, attract residents and visitors to your local business areas, and contribute to a solution in a way that requires little commitment and yields enormous returns.

Talk to us about planning your digital district. Submit the form below and we’ll set up a call to look at the best first step for your property.

 

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