Credit: ECE
Management

How shopping centers have evolved into omnichannel platforms

Digital Mall - find it online, buy it offline.

In light of the advancement of digitalization in the retail sector and the dramatic changes in customer demand, shopping centers are in need of comprehensive digital strategies. Until recently, the websites of the centers operated by ECE were only equipped with information relating to opening hours and shops. Consequently, those who were in search of product availability ended up buying online. The Digital Mall, ECE’s online product search, has provided a solution to this problem. For the first time, customers can use a center’s website or app to search for products sold by participating retailers, check their availability, and pick them up later.

This is one way in which shopping centers are shifting from brick-and-mortar marketplaces to omnichannel platforms. This strategic approach, which has been adopted by ECE, creates additional online reach, which is subsequently converted into brick-and-mortar footfall, thereby generating additional revenue for stores. The technology behind the Digital Mall also forms the basis of the cooperation with otto.de and, prospectively, with other platforms.

The Digital Mall, which is comprised of 50 partners is now online at 18 centers. More than 1.5 million items are currently available at nearly 250 stores. By the end of this year, ECE expects to have 35 centers and approximately 1,000 stores integrated.

Still to come: The next stage, “Click and Collect”, will enable consumers to purchase products directly via the platform. “Ship from Store”, the last stage of the expansion, will offer sameday or even same-hour delivery of products.

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