Mall operators Simon, Taubman introduce digital upgrades

Mall operators Simon and Taubman are introducing new digital initiatives designed to aid retail tenants as consumers become increasingly connected to technology for their shopping needs.

Simon is investing $1 billion over the next three years to renovate and upgrade numerous malls across the country. The malls will see upgrades to omnichannel strategies including technologies that enable shopping and gifting activities and provide same-day delivery solutions.

Part of Simon's investments will go toward rebranding the malls in digital, social, TV and print media in select markets. The move will help the mall connect with the more than two billion consumers who generate $70 billion in sales in Simon malls each year, according to the company.

Taubman, which operates 20 regional, super-regional and outlet shopping centers in the United States, is upgrading services to include free basic Internet access to all its brick-and-mortar tenants beginning this summer. The company noted that the complimentary Internet service will help stores and kiosks pursue their digital initiatives.

"We know that the best retailers are pursuing omnichannel customer engagement strategies and that requires fast, secure Internet access to execute both customer-facing programs and back-of-the-store operations," said Taubman CTO Michael Osment.

As more shoppers turn to e-commerce, mall operators are finding creative ways to capture shoppers' attention. Earlier this year, Westfield Labs, a division of the Westfield shopping mall development company, unveiled 7-ft.-tall "digital storefront" tablets inside of Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey. The life-sized touch-screen monitors allow shoppers to shop and scroll through products from retailers located inside the mall, including Macy's (NYSE: M), Nordstrom, Ann Taylor (NYSE: ANN) and more.

The tablet screens also allow customers to see special shopping events in the mall and shop from the screens via mobile devices. Shoppers can view an interactive map of where to find selected products in the mall, which makes the tool serve as a traffic-driver to brick-and-mortar stores.

For more:
-See this Simon press release
-See this Taubman press release

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