Since March 2020, the Group has been very involved in supporting retailers’ businesses hit by the pandemic and to protect visitors and workers within the shopping centres. In order to adapt to local needs in this unprecedented situation, many shopping centres responded quickly to ensure a seamless and touchless shopping journey with new tools and innovative services sourced locally.
In Spain, a “Scan&Go technology” was deployed to improve the shopping experience in 8 destinations (Bonaire, Equinoccio Park, Garbera, La Maquinista, La Vaguada, Parquesur, Splau, Glories). In collaboration with BIZUM, the main Spanish fintech company on instant payments, they created an app where clients can scan the barcodes of the products and, through the app, pay for the items they purchased without needing to go to the cashier, hence reducing contacts and risks in-store.
In the U.S., URW has been working on its airport assets to restore consumer confidence in air travel. Amid the pandemic, a mobile platform for contactless food ordering, payment and pick-up was launched in three major US airports (Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport). Built in partnership with Grab, an airport e-commerce start-up, the platform provides a more convenient, frictionless and connected experience for travelers. The platform does not require downloading a mobile app, it works through QR code scanning or website browsing, which makes it more accessible. Besides, employees received trainings to manage orders, packaging and handling procedures. This initiative was awarded an Innovation Award in the “Restart our activity in the safest possible conditions” category this year!
Facilitating reservations to offer a smoother experience
CentrO in Germany, developed a fully customized digital management system for its foodcourt. This software launched in June 2020 enabled customers to make a reservation thanks to a QR code, and then to track their table to make sure it was disinfected once visitors had left. This tool ensured the safety for visitors, but also gave more visibility on the availability of tables and facilitated the fluidity of passage in the foodcourt. This was a successful initiative as more than 500,000 customers registered into the system over an eight-month period, and this solution was rolled out in sport clubs for free to help them better manage their guest footfall.
With the same idea of facilitating reservations, Westfield Century City in the U.S., developed a feature on the centre’s app called “Line Pass”, available for all members of the loyalty program. This feature comprises two functionalities: 1. Customers can book a visit in a store in advance – with a participating retailer – to avoid queuing upon arrival, 2. Customers can come without booking, and once arrived, enter a virtual waitlist and come back to the store once it is their turn. The app is active in six centres in the US, and almost 200 retailers have taken part in the initiative. Besides, following this successful launch, URW French teams have taken feedback from their U.S. colleagues and launched its equivalent called “Le Pass”, deployed in all French shopping centres at the end of 2020.
We are thrilled to see that throughout the Group, shopping centres were prompt and efficient in adapting to the context. These innovative digital tools are a great source of inspiration for other shopping centres as they can serve as examples to be replicated and adapted to the needs of each destination, in order to improve customer shopping experience and make it as seamless and convenient as possible. Congratulations and thank you to all local teams, who have showed a sensational commitment and creativity to integrate these solutions into our centres.Julie Villet